Aww, you shouldn't have! A little kindness goes a long way, right? Or a lot of kindness. These people experienced a level of kindness even they didn't think they deserved.
Here were some of the answers.
My stepmom continues to do nice things for me. I grew up with a very neglectful mother, emotionally, physically, and financially. My parents divorced when I was 12 and I was forced into a motherly position to my two younger sisters. My dad and stepmom married three months after the divorce was finalized and because of my Mom's anger and dislike of her, I never took the time to get to know her or be nice to her.
To put it bluntly, I was a f*cking sh*t head to her. I'm sure she thought about leaving my Dad a billion times during those years. My father is eventually re-stationed and moves away for work and my anger stops me from keeping a relationship with them. After years of not talking, I message them out of the blue. I'm fed up with being homeless (mom threw me out at 18), depressed, lonely, and uneducated. Three years of no communication and after only three weeks texting back and forth when I ask her if I could relocate to the west coast to better my life, she not only purchases my plane ticket, but a plane ticket for my dog as well. I've been living with them for two years now, I'm 22 and I have my associates and am working towards a bachelors in biochemistry. My parents, especially my stepmom, have shown me what true unconditional love looks like and how parents are SUPPOSED to take care of their children. Kris, you'll never understand just how much my life changed because you decided to love me despite my sh*t headedness. I'm a better person because of your support.
A Light In The Dark
When I was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, the first two days I was in the ICU on a ventilator. I was HEAVILY drugged, but somehow I was still awake a lot of the time. There were two really kind nurses.
The first one came in and said "Hi, I'm Lil Rachel. They call me that because I'm short. Your grandparents are coming tonight, so let's get your hair done so you look pretty for them." She used rinse-free shampoo to clean my hair (I hadn't been able to shower for like 3 days before getting to the hospital due to balance/mobility issues) then brushed it and braided it and put it up in a bun. No one else cared about that, they were focused on keeping me alive, so that was really kind of her.
The second nurse, I don't even know what she looked like. I had like a 4-5 hour head to toe MRI while still on the ventilator. I was crying and scared and didn't know wtf was going on (drugged to the gills) so every time I came out of the tube I started panicking. This lady was there to hold my hand, literally, and rub the back of it and tell me that I was okay, I was doing a great job, and we were almost done. Every time I came back out, I immediately reached a hand out and she was right there to grab my hand and comfort me when I was scared and confused.
Really, every nurse, doctor, physical therapist, and psychologist I saw when I was in the hospital was so incredibly kind to me. I'm crying just thinking back on how amazing every staff member was in the darkest and hardest part of my life.
A Retrospective Mentor
When I was a kid, I met one of my grandmother's best friends. At first, I was super scared to approach him because he had a wheelchair. But after I got to know him, we instantly bonded. He was exactly 50 years older than me (same birthday) and also loved Harry Potter. During that summer, he would take me to see the movies (Nemo, Spider-Man, Spy Kids) and treat me to ice-cream at BK afterwards (I'd always get lemon and blue-bubblegum). Growing up, we were pretty poor, so those trips meant a lot to me. Looking back, we had a pretty special friendship. He was my best friend, my mentor and my role model for most of my life. He had a huge impact on my life and I never think I was able to thank him enough for it.
So Much Trouble
After a really hard year, my two closest friends and my mum said they were taking me to London for my birthday. Bizarrely they wanted to fly, and since I only lived in Liverpool that seemed odd. It wasn't until the airport when I heard a security guard read the ticket as Liverpool to Barcelona that I clicked. They took me to the opera, the magic fountains and Las Ramblas. There's like a million pictures of me constantly crying in happiness from that trip. It was just so kind to go to so much trouble, just to cheer me up.
A Special Time
We were on our honeymoon and didn't have a lot of money but we managed to afford to stay at our favorite inn in our favorite coastal town. Someone found out we were newlyweds and anonymously paid for our stay. I plan on paying it forward at that same place one day.
When my grandmother died, my friend would FaceTime me when I couldn't sleep and tell me bed time stories. Our safe-word was "pineapple". If she said that and I didn't answer, she knew I was sleeping and she could hang up. It might have been a little thing for her but it made a huge difference for me.
My best friend's mother saw that my home life with my dad was getting steadily worse and more abusive. She went to Children's Aid to see about taking my brother and I in and becoming our guardian. She already had four kids of her own but still found room in her heart to take in another two teenagers. She fed and clothed me, paid for braces and expensive proper fitting bras. She treated me as an equal to her other children. If she hadn't stepped in, I have no idea where I would be today. She saved me. It would have been her birthday today actually, but she passed away two years ago.
When I was super pregnant, working at DQ (actually paid amazingly well), I was only 18 so I got a lot of anxiety about rude customers. One lady at one point had told her daughter I was a whore and not to end up like me. She was the only really rude person, but it had totally put a damper on my spirits and made me feel permanently more on edge about being the stereotypical "teen mom".
This guy comes in, average early 40s/mid to late 30s looking. As he's waiting for his food I'm making he makes small talk with me. Asking things like "a boy or girl?" "What will her name be?" "Are you excited?" We made really great small talk until it was done. As I handed him his food, he grabbed my hand and slapped 30$ in it. He told me "Get yourself something nice for your babygirl." I didn't compute was was happening and stared at him, barely yelling out "thank you" as he walked out the door because I was so shocked.
I went in the back. Everybody thought he offended me because my cheeks were red and I was slack jawed until I explained. He was the first stranger to make me happy cry. I wish I could remember exactly what he looked like. I'd try and find him so I could let him know how much it meant to me and that I did not mean to stand there like a dumbass with my mouth open.
Foot In The Door For Good
Mother's boyfriend at the time gave me a referral to the company he works for. I get a "Thanks, but we don't have any blah blah blah" letter from the company. Oh well. No big. My resume was hilariously lacking in things they want in an employee.
He then pulls some strings and gets them to give the resume a second look. Another no thank you letter.
He talks to them again, and convinces them to give me an interview. He's confident that if they interview me, and give me the aptitude test they give everyone in the tech side of the company, they'll hire me. So, they interview me, give me the test. Call me in for a second interview. Hired less than a week later. I've been there for just over 12 years.
If it wasn't for all the sh*t that guy did to just get my foot in the door, I'd probably still be managing retail and not happy about it, and not at an awesome company doing something I generally enjoy.
Cruel And Unusual
My parents would regularly starve me as punishment, as the food in the fridge were for "the good children" and not "the sh*t one." I'd survive off of school breakfast and lunch, and pretty much coast off of outdoor fruit on the weekend (I would regularly sneak into a fruit grove).
My middle school friend, who would always bring lunch to school, eventually caught on when I broke down to a bully dumping my food tray on a Friday afternoon. The next week, her mom apparently packed extra food and she just couldn't finish it. Same with the next day. And the next, and the next, until I moved at the end of my 8th grade year. Even if I couldn't finish the food myself (it was a LOT, I'm talking double servings of good leftovers), I was gifted old tupperware to take the food home in, so long as I brought it back to school.
The starvation punishments stopped once I passed out in PE and my guidance counselor had a parent meeting to make sure the family wasn't struggling to buy groceries. The last leftover meal I got was a delicious slice of homemade cake -- my friend's mom seemed to know it was a joyous day.