Give A Little, Get a Lot: These Kind Acts Warmed Our Hearts
We could all use a little love and care, but sometimes kind gestures come from the most unexpected places. Whether it’s a friend showing up at our door to give us the present we didn’t know we needed, or a complete stranger helping us out in a time of need, these stories about the nicest thing someone has ever done will warm your heart.
Face the Musica young man sitting at a piano in the darkPhoto by Kiwihug on Unsplash
When I was about 13, the pastor of our family church heard me practicing Chopin on the piano. Knowing my parents couldn't afford much, he offered to pay for my music studies so that I'd be prepared to enter music conservatory right after high school. All he asked for in return was that I'd help out with the church's music program when needed.
This kind, generous man spent thousands of his own dollars to help me along the way to a rewarding career in music.
Sleep Away Camp
When my parents were awful, and my sister was passing away, my friend’s parents took me in for a while. But it was even better than that. You see, they did it in a way that seemed like a sleepover, even though it went on for months. I didn't even realize until I was an adult how much they stepped up for me and protected me, right when I needed them the most.
Lean on Me
I had a sore leg, and it was sore enough that I couldn't put much weight on it. During this time, my school did this fundraiser run, and I wanted to participate even though I could barely walk. My best friend, who I'm still friends with to this day, stayed by my side, limping the whole way. I still thank him for that, it meant a lot to me.
To Serve and Protect
When I was 16, I was at a store getting some comics. I was 15 cents shy, because they raised the price by 5 cents a comic, and I was trying to decide which one to put back when a guy I went to high school with, and barely knew, gave me a fifty cent piece. He went on to join the Marines right out of high school, and retired a couple of years ago.
He's still just as awesome now. He restores old Volkswagens and sells them for cost to his fellow veterans. He restores old furniture and donates the pieces to families in need. He volunteers with wildlife rescue programs. He refuses to let me pay him back, so I'm going to try and buy his drink at our 30-year high school reunion. Gotta thank him somehow!
Something for Nothing
I went to a local breakfast spot one day after a rough night. I totally forgot my wallet, so I left my phone as collateral and went back to my house. When I came back, some guy had already paid for me. I know it doesn't seem that big of a deal, but it was a pretty bleak week for me so it meant a lot just to have someone do something for nothing.
A Friend Foreverboy feeding a animal during daytimePhoto by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
My wife and I were driving our kids, who were three and five at the time, to the zoo. We narrowly missed being smushed by a semi truck, but also almost flipped our top-heavy minivan doing 75mph when dodging said vehicle. All in all, we were very blessed to have our lives, let alone no damage to our car. The same couldn't be said for other cars, but no one was hurt either.
The State Trooper who showed up was the most generous young man. He gave my daughter a little teddy bear that she still has to this day 5-6 years later. She even remembers getting it, which is pretty incredible for someone that age. I think that was the most meaningful thing anyone's done for me, and I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of good people in my life. This one stands out because it was directed towards my daughter.
I’ve Got You, Babe
My mother passed, and I was so stressed trying to find a way to give her the funeral she deserved. My boyfriend went down to the funeral home, made the arrangements, and paid the balance. By FAR the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me.
A Helping Hand
My firstborn had a severe deformity, and spent a week in hospital before we took him off life support. I was staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and even though one of the rules was that you are your own maid when you leave, complete with doing laundry and remaking the beds, I was a complete wreck and couldn’t do a thing. Then I got the surprise of my life.
A kind stranger took care of my room for me even though they were going through their own stuff. Another blessing from that dark time is that the funeral home took care of everything for me, including all bills associated with the service and cremation. I will never not donate to the Ronald McDonald House and I know what funeral home I'll be using when I one day need one again.
It was a very long time ago and very dark sad time. It destroyed my family, a few years later I lost my husband to the depression that happened from this, and while both tragedies changed me, I'm very good now and know happiness. I want to say that I've thought about how very, very bad things can get in the world, but this stranger, and people like him, showed me daily that the world is full of amazing loving people.
A Little Tune-up
A few years ago, I was going down to visit my grandmother in South Carolina. I needed an inspection and oil change on my car, and I was the single mom of a 5-year-old. The total cost ended up being 40 dollars more than I thought. At the time, that was devastating, and I had to tell my daughter in the parking lot that we couldn't go see her grandmother anymore.
Someone heard me talking to her and came over to us and gave us 60 dollars. That was one of the nicest things someone I don’t know has ever done for me.
Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five-dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill. So, from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn't even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note: “Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.” I later found out that one of my friend's dad, a fairly well-off dentist, went fundraising among his golf buddies because he didn’t want to see me enter life at 18 under crushing debt.
The Tables Have Turnedpeople around tablePhoto by Zach Reiner on Unsplash
One of my high school tormentors invited me to his house to hang out for a day. I was really nervous it might just be to screw with me, but I was desperate for some sort of friendship at the time, so I went over. We're now best friends, and he and his family feels like family to me. Honestly, I have no idea how we ever disliked each other.
The New Normal
I was hugely pregnant and had very young children with me. We went to a free exhibit at an aquarium down town. I was unfamiliar with the area, but found free parking several blocks away. I was broke, so finding a free exhibit with free parking was really a special outing for us. After the exhibit, my young children and I started walking towards the car, but couldn't find it.
I figured I had gotten turned around, so we returned to the aquarium and started walking in the other direction, but still couldn't find the car. We went back and started out in a third direction, still unable to find our car. It had started to rain and we were just lost. All along, a homeless man had been watching us, as we had passed by him multiple times in our search.
His words were heartbreaking. He told me he remembered seeing us first go in to the aquarium hours ago and what direction he saw us come from. He offered to walk down that way and look for our car for us so we didn't have to be walking around aimlessly until the car was located. I thanked him, but turned his offer down, not wanting to send this homeless man out into the rain.
He told me he was impressed with how well-behaved my children were, and he offered a dollar to buy them a candy bar. I couldn't accept, I mean how horrible of a person would I be to take money from someone who clearly needed it more than me—but he insisted. He said the dollar wouldn't save him from being homeless, but buying my kids a candy bar for being so patient and well-behaved would make him feel normal and some days he just needed to feel normal.
It was an act of kindness I will never forget. I think of that gentleman often.
From Beyond the Grave
My grandmother made a ton of birthday cards in advance. After she passed, I still received birthday cards from her for the next few years. It was a little weird, but I cried happy tears whenever I got to read words from her after she passed.
Duty of Care
A paramedic helped me after I was in a car crash. He took his time to come back to the car and bring me back my front tooth, which was really tiny and he offered to go and look for in the wreck. At the same time, he found and brought back my partner's phone. I don't know his name, and I was in such a state of shock that I can't even remember what he looked like.
Still, he put my tooth in a special liquid and the hospital team managed to put it back, saving me a lot of money. There was also a woman officer who put a blanket on me and made sure I kept it. The hospital only managed to take it off me right before I left. It was a green standard first aid blanket, and I don't know why I refused to let go of it (again, shock) but it provided a lot of comfort. Thank you so much, guys.
Get Away From It All
The nicest thing someone I know has done was for someone else. My brother took a fellow band nerd on a high school graduation road trip for several weeks. Thing is, the friend was dying of leukemia, and they both knew that this was going to be his first and last road trip. No timetable, just one day at a time across the breadth of the US.
Found in Translationpeople walking on street during night timePhoto by Yu Kato on Unsplash
I worked in Korea for a bit. It was late at night, and I decided to surprise a girl I was talking to by heading to her apartment. It was around 10:30, and unbeknownst to me, the subway stopped running at 11:00. Unfortunately, I was halfway there, so I decided to message her. She told me to take a specific bus to get to her place. I get on the bus, and I don't have the slightest idea which stop I should be getting off on.
Well, about 10 minutes later, a load of people get off on this one stop. An older Korean businessman sees me and motions to me that there's an available seat next to him. He starts talking to me in English and he says that the stop where I'm getting off is one stop before he gets off, and that he'll let me know when. We start a conversation about where he works, how he learned English, what I'm doing in Korea.
By the time we knew it, his stop came up. He profusely apologized to me and said that it was the stop before. I said, "It's okay, I'll just walk the opposite direction." As we get off the bus, we're both walking in the same direction. As we come up to an intersection, he flags down a taxi, tells him the subway station to drop me off on, and he paid the fare. All this while still apologizing to me. That guy was just such a good person, you know?
Moms Just Know
I was involved in a hit and run on my bicycle in Chicago. I broke my collarbone, and a stranger drove me to the ER. I was going into shock and freaking out about finances—I’m a single mother. The stranger gave me her number for the report and such, but then she made a gesture I’ll never forget. She later sent me $5k because she knows what it’s like to be a single mother with nothing.
I sobbed. I hadn’t gotten my unemployment yet. I was overwhelmed by her kindness.
Friends With Benefits
I was having a panic attack for the first time. It swung between so euphoric I thought I was going to "ascend" and terrified that my life was going to end in pain. I called my loved ones to say goodbye, including my best friend. He came running from a block away. He was terrified too, but he held it together, sat me down, hugged me, told me that he didn't want me to go anywhere, and that he needed me right here.
I needed that. I needed to see what I felt wasn't based on reality, needed someone to say that I should not obey those feelings because I was needed and loved. On some level, he saved me. Years later, he voluntarily went into homelessness just to fly out to see me on another continent. Yes, we're together now romantically. No, I don't know how I got so lucky. We're planning the wedding. :)
The Art of Caring
When I was a freshman in high school, I took an art class that was a mix of 9th-12th graders. I was really bad with people back then, so I spent most of class sitting on the floor between the trash can and the drying racks and never speaking to anyone. Still, there was this one 11th-grade guy who would always make it a point to talk to me.
He didn't know me or anything; he just happened to sit near me. But he'd always ask about my day or compliment my art or offer to help me with my math homework. At one point, he even managed to get me to sit at the desk with the rest of the students. It's just one of those things I think about from time to time because he really had every right to ignore me like everyone else did, but he didn't. He really made art class into a second home for me. I miss that guy.
It’s the Little Things
I have an online friend in another country, and one time she made a cake for my birthday with my name on it because she knew no one else would do anything.
Know Your Worthwomen's blue dress shirtPhoto by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash
During my Physics graduate program, there was a terrible professor for two of my core classes. He was terrible at teaching, but also known for complaining at faculty meetings how the grades had been going down in his classes ever since more women started taking them. I put in a ton of work anyway, and despite all that he gave me two Ds for those two classes. I’ve honestly never heard of someone getting Ds in grad school and finishing, so I was convinced my life was over. Then, I learned that I was so, so wrong.
At that point, I told another professor who had been supportive what happened, and he got me a stiff drink to talk it over. In that meeting, he said that technically there was no requirement to take the guy’s classes. Instead, he told me to sign up for two independent study classes, which he would supervise, and all I would be doing is practice questions for the qualifying exam.
So we did exactly that—I studied, and we would meet up a few times a week to go over problems. By the end of the semester, I took my qualifiers, and passed with margins to spare. Today, I’m a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy at Harvard, which never would have happened if that professor hadn’t taken a chance on me and put in so many hours to help me.
It makes me so determined to help all the students in my path and mentor them as well, because people can be so much more than one bad professor thinks they are.
I had just had my father completely cut ties with me after years of estrangement and him being super distant. Obviously, I was a little emotionally uneasy about how “final” it felt, and the implications for the distant future. My live-in girlfriend knew, told her mom, and her mom sent me a bunch of snacks I’ve always wanted to try but never wanted to spend the money on.
Instant mood lifter, and it restated the fact in my mind that there are other people who care about me even if my dad doesn’t.
Pikachu, I Don’t Choose You
When I was like nine, I went to an arcade over in San Antonio, Texas because we were there for a vacation. There was this claw machine that had pokemon in it, and I was aiming for my favorite pokemon ever, but accidentally got a different one. The employee comes around to unlock the thing so I can get my prize. I whine to my mom, "Aw I wanted the Charizard though."
This dude puts the other one back in there, and hands me the one I wanted. I will forever remember you, bro.
Work to Live
My one co-worker got all my other co-workers to donate money for a gift to me from my hugely underpaid apprenticeship. I received $350, which was exactly how much I needed for an upcoming bill. It really saved me when I had literally $0.70 in my account. A few weeks earlier, actually, a different co-worker noticed me not eating and bought me lunch, then many of them brought me leftovers. That apprenticeship was the worst, but the people were the best.
The Good Neighbor
His name is Duong. When I was in university, he was my neighbor. I got into a motorbike accident and couldn’t go to class by myself, so he put me up on his back and brought me to the class like a hero. When my elevator was broken, he climbed all 13 floors to bring me dinner because he knew I couldn’t go out to get it. Whoever is with him for the rest of his life is a lucky person.
Child’s Playassorted color of wicker baskets on displayPhoto by zakariae daoui on Unsplash
I was walking through the streets of Marrakech after it had just rained, and I was wearing those flimsy flip-flops, so all the wet sand from the street was being catapulted onto the back of my legs. Out of nowhere, I feel a tap on my arm. It’s a young Moroccan girl, not older than 6 or 7 years old, offering me her water bottle to clean my legs.
I politely declined because I could never accept to take someone’s water in that scorching heat, but thanked her and her mother profusely. Children are so pure.
Do the Math
I went to a very small school with a bunch of really amazing math teachers, and one really bad math teacher. For example, she tried to sue a kid for "aggressively swinging his backpack" at her when she threw him out of the classroom for something trivial. He had only picked up his backpack in a completely normal manner.
I was slated to have pre-calc with the terrible teacher the following year and was complaining about it to my amazing math teacher, saying how much I was dreading her class. That’s when I got the offer of a lifetime. My amazing math teacher offered to teach me pre-calc over the summer so I could skip a year of math and go straight to calc with the amazing teacher.
So, once a week, each week over the summer, I met my amazing teacher in her back garden, where we had tea and cookies and she taught me pre-calc. A week before school started, I met with horrible teacher and took her pre-calc final, aced it, and got to stick with amazing teacher. I’ll always be grateful someone cared enough about that.
Growing up, I was severely neglected and had no friends due to my lack of hygiene and social skills. One of my teacher aids got wise to it, and brought me to her house to play with her daughter, took me on family trips with them, gave me clean clothes, and just showed me an insane amount of kindness I'll never be able to repay.
Through Thick and Thin
I was fired from my last job. It was the first and only time I had been fired, and it sucked. I really liked that job, and I got super depressed. My friend also lost his job later that week, which really sucked because I knew he loved that job, too. He would always tell me that it was his dream job. And right as soon as he found out, he called me.
He called me to tell me that even though he lost his job, he knew he was going to be alright. He wanted to tell me that to set a good example. I knew he was heartbroken, but he put on a strong face for me. And I'll never forget that. Never.
I’ve never been able to celebrate my birthday. Between my awful mom and horrible relationships, it’s just become a tradition to lie in bed and cry every year. Well this year, my best friend and boyfriend put their heads together and threw me a surprise “party.” They decorated our apartment, baked me a cake and decorated it to the best of their abilities, and got me some small, thoughtful presents. 24 years old, and finally I had my first good birthday. I cried like a baby.
You Shall Not Passman in black jacket driving car during daytimePhoto by Thibault Penin on Unsplash
I went out to a bar drank a bit too much with my girlfriends. Some guy saw and tried to push me into an Uber to take me to his hotel. Then, the bouncer wouldn't let me back in no matter how many times I asked because according to him, "I changed my mind and that's not the guy's fault." No one else passing by wanted to intervene. I was getting really scared—until a good Samaritan stepped up and changed everything.
The Uber driver popped out of the front of his car and wrestled the guy off me. He made sure I was okay, gave the bouncer and everyone else a piece of his mind, too. Hope that guy's doing well in life.
Let the Good Times Roll
I took my sister, who’s in a wheelchair, to the cinema for the first time on my own. At the end, I realized I couldn't undo the brakes because it was a new wheelchair. It was blocking everyone. I felt like crying because I thought everyone was angry at me, but some nice lady helped me, then took me and my sister out. She said she once had a son who needed a wheelchair. This was long ago, but I'll never forget her or the kindness she showed me that day.
I am from 1980's rural Texas, where education was laughed at and where the idea of living in a foreign country was ludicrous. When I was 17, I met a Rotarian (like, a guy from a non-profit) who allowed me to go on a year-long foreign exchange. I had never heard of that concept before and had no real idea of what it meant. At 18, I packed my bags and discovered a brand new world! It honestly changed my life FOREVER. Definitely for the better.
While I was gone, I met other foreign exchange students and learned that it was fairly difficult to get into this program. I'd heard ambassadors’ children were being turned down from it. I honestly think that I got to go because no one else from my area wanted to leave the safety of our small town, while I jumped at the chance. I think about that old Rotarian a lot. I owe him everything for changing my life.
How to Save a Life
Back in 2018, I had a drastic decline in my mental health, which led to a failed attempt to take my life. I had enough of feeling miserable, so I checked myself in to a program. Afterwards, the hospital gave me a number and location to follow up with my newly-appointed therapist. Upon getting to their building, though, they needed me to pay a co-pay.
I didn't have a darn penny on me and said I couldn't pay. They denied me my appointment, and I remember thinking that when I walked out of there I was really going to go through with harming myself this time. Then a miracle happened. Right before I was about to leave, this other patient stopped me, pulled out her credit card and paid my co-pay.
She had told me that this place and these people saved her life. She said she didn't want me to lose mine because I couldn't afford to be cared for. The intensity of that relief almost cured my debilitating depression, I never felt so grateful in my life. I sincerely hope that lady is flourishing and being the best self she can be. She saved my life; that is the greatest kindness someone has ever done for me.
Those Who Can Do, Teach
My English teacher when I was very, very young. She was the sweetest I've ever had. She knew I loved the Harry Potter books, even though they were not super popular in France back then. So one day, she brought me HP-themed coloring books from her trip to England. It made me so happy that she thought about me even though she was away from school.
I Recommend This Manwhite mug on brown surfacePhoto by Pablo Varela on Unsplash
My boss and mentor wrote me a glowing reference and pulled some strings to get me into a graduate program, even though I was severely depressed and my work performance was nothing to be proud of. I couldn't comprehend or remember anything due to an undiagnosed disease, and I also acted extremely awkward socially. I really don't know why he went so far out of his way to change the trajectory of my life, but I’ll always be grateful.
I've had many people do nice things for me, but one stands out. I was very young, maybe 16 or 17. I'd had a terrible car accident and needed to get to a specialist downtown during my recovery. I wasn't a confident driver to begin with, and I had never driven downtown and got hopelessly lost. This was before everyone had cell phones.
I stopped at a pay phone in a grocery store. I was sobbing and scared. I couldn't describe where I was, since I was so lost, and I didn't know how to get turned in the right direction. A little old lady stopped to ask me if I was OK, so I told her where I was going and that I didn't know how to get there. She was shocked that I was SO LOST.
I was so far removed from where I was supposed to be. I wasn't even close to downtown. So she literally drove there in her car while I followed her. She just pointed out her window when we got to the address and I turned in. I never got to properly thank her. But it was far from over. To make it so much worse, once I finally got there, I was told they'd had to cancel my appointment.
I broke down, and an elderly couple came to comfort me and gave me some money and said to please take some time to calm down at the cafe next door, have some lunch or something. Twice in one day, I was approached by kind people who just wanted to help a teenager. That was over 25 years ago. I still don't like to drive downtown, but I do. I think of those people every time I have to go there.
Saving the Day
My dad cancelled my weekend with him a day before we were supposed to go to Six Flags and do other stuff together. My best friend's parents found out and duplicated all the activities. It meant so much to me.
Hit the Road
I was given a car by a former co-worker. At the time, I was walking or riding my bike eight miles one way just to get to work, and then another eight miles to get back home. When working with her, she asked if I wanted a car. I thought she was joking, but said yes anyway. About two weeks later, she said her husband had this old car that he fixed up and it’s ready for me.
From there, she had me meet up at a notary, and all I paid was for a title transfer and tax, which only came around $150. It wasn't the nicest car, but it worked. The car lasted a year, but still to this day I am forever grateful someone would gift me something that truly helped out tremendously. Then, she said there was a catch. I started to get nervous, but it was actually so heart-warming.
The catch was that, whenever I'm able to, I have to pass along a good deed. I've tried to pass this whenever I can. I sincerely appreciated all the help, Debby, and I wish only the best for you and your family. I'm still working on passing along good deeds as we have agreed. Thank you so much for your kindness, especially during a time in my life where I thought there was little hope. There is always hope.
Color Me Surprised
A woman I worked with a few years ago knew my 30th birthday was coming up and asked me what I was doing. I just said I’m visiting family, but she also found out that I’d never had a “surprise” before. I might get a present and maybe a bit of money and I was happy with that. I had no idea the gift she was about to give me.
At my parents’ house, they’d forgotten to buy a cake, so I just picked up a Victoria sponge cake and stuck a couple of tea light candles on it. It was fine, I don’t complain. But when I got back to work a week later, my lovely colleague had organised this beautiful two-tier birthday cake surrounded by gifts! And then she really surprised me.
She produced tickets for us two to get a drink at this ice bar place and tickets to go to the theatre. She did this because she remembered me saying I hadn’t been since I was a kid and no one I knew was interested in going. I was so shocked, I was nearly in tears. This was the very first birthday surprise I ever had. I will never forget my 30th birthday because of my colleague.
A Purr-Fect Presentperson walking inside building near glassPhoto by Heidi Fin on Unsplash
I worked as a retail cashier at a drug store. It was the Christmas season and CRAZY busy. We had tins of chocolates on sale for under $10, and they had designs of kittens and puppies on them. I mentioned to a lady who was buying a bunch that one tin in particular looked identical to my cat. She bought the tin and gave it to me!
I actually cried. To have a stranger spend their own money on someone else in that capacity. I’ve never had it happen before. It was years ago, and although the chocolates inside are long gone, I still display that chocolate tin every year at Christmas.
I was in a boarding school, so I couldn't go home or anything like that, and I was also really out of touch with my emotions. Very “keep calm and carry on.” One day in class, I was having REALLY REALLY bad period pains, and since I'm not the kind of person to share much, I was trying to hide it even though I was pretty much in agony.
My friend sitting next to me could clearly see something was wrong, and eventually I told her. So she sneaked into the dorm where you're not supposed to go during class hours for me to fetch some medication. She also offered to bring me dinner so I didn't have to move once I got home from class. She even told me jokes and stuff to cheer me up. I’ll always be grateful.
I couldn’t be there for the passing of my grandmother because I was at university, so my uncle had a bracelet made for me. It was engraved with her handwriting.
One Happy Ending
I had a really bad home life growing up. My friend—and at the time she was only loosely my friend—had two incredible moms who heard what was going on with me, and pretty much immediately got involved. At the time, I was emaciated, constantly terrified, and never let anyone get close, especially adults. When it got really bad, I used to dumpster dive and collect scraps from the school cafeteria for food for myself and for my brother.
I was chronically sick, mentally ill, rarely slept, and skipped class all the time. My friend's parents started dropping off bags of food at school for me and my younger brother. One night, they invited me over and I just...never left. They moved my brother into the house. They had absolutely no money. Not a freaking dime.
The money that used to be split between four people (two kids, two moms) was suddenly split between six. The house we shared was a half-finished re-modeling project and a total hazard. We didn't even have doors installed inside! Just curtains. To me, though, it was magic. I thought the fact that we didn't have sinks—that we had to crouch over the tub to wash our hands—was mythical.
My moms hugged me every morning and told me how special I was and how proud they were of me. For the first time in my life, I was stupidly, ridiculously happy. Every morning I woke up, my heart would race until I thought it might burst. I was literally that happy to be alive. The second I woke up—I mean the second—I bolted to the kitchen to say good morning to my moms and get a hug.
My friend (now my sister) and her family did everything for us. No rhyme, no reason. I stopped skipping school. My grades improved. I started earning scholarships. I got into a fantastic university. I now have a degree, a fantastic job, friends, and a family that I love.
Kindness Is in Short Supply
On the last day of school, I was helping my art teacher clean up for the summer. She knew I was rather poor growing up, so she gave me all the leftover paper, some really high quality bristol board and watercolor paper, all of the leftover prismacolor pencils, tons of paint brushes, and other various art supplies. It was her last year teaching, and she didn’t care to save the stuff for the next year. I still miss her. She was the best teacher I've ever had.
Long Time, No Seephoto of pub set in room during daytimePhoto by Jason Leung on Unsplash
I was at a restaurant in Boston by myself on a Friday night. It was 7 pm, so I was just enjoying a nice dinner by myself before heading back to my hotel. There was a man with a wedding ring on who asked me if the seats next to me were taken. I told him no, and he and his friends sat down. He eventually started chatting with me and it was friendly, but then he started hitting on me.
I brushed him off, and he slightly backed off…but then started eating French fries off of my plate. I pushed the plate away and asked the bartender for my check. I was in the last seat at the bar, so I had nowhere to go other than to wait, and the bar was packed. The guy then tells me I’m beautiful and asks if I want to go back to my hotel with him.
I told him again no. He asked again, I told him I was married and he said “So? So am I.” I’m so grateful for what happened next. All of the sudden, this voice says to me “Oh my god! What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you in so long!” And a woman hugged me. This woman and I chatted and pretended we were old friends while I paid. She then walked with me to my Uber to make sure I got into it safely and that he didn’t follow me. I don’t know where this woman is now, but she made me feel safe.
I went on a homecoming date and ordered a bunch of food. While we were there, this old couple ended up buying our dinner because we reminded them of what they used to look like when they were young. I’m very grateful, because I didn’t actually have enough money to pay for dinner. I was maybe $30 short. I’m still with the girl three years later.
A Grave Secret
I have many family members interred in a small cemetery with a few unattended graves that I occasionally clean and place artificial flowers on. Sometimes I do the ones around them. I feel morally obligated to honor their memory. One day, I found a letter. Its contents were heartbreaking. Obscured behind my father's flowers, in an inconspicuous brown envelope, was an effusive message of gratitude from an old woman whose arthritis incapacitated her.
She had seen my maintenance of her husband's grave from her house across the road and wanted to thank me for my compassion. I was confounded because I never anticipated any recognition. She said she asked her daughter what she could do to compensate me, and she purchased an iTunes voucher for her mother to give me in the envelope.
It was one of those letters and gestures that the gratitude and appreciation emanated from the very paper. The handwriting was so elegant and fastidious; I know she took an inordinate amount of time composing her words. She loved her husband beyond articulation. We have tea together twice a month now.
A Class of His Own
When I was in school, I had a classmate who was terminally ill. He wanted to do all the things he wouldn’t grow up to do, and pretty much our whole school got involved. One girl’s parents owned a nightclub, and they decked out the VIP lounge and served mocktails to roughly 100 students. The kid wanted to be a police officer, and one boy’s dad arranged for him to go on shift with him for the day.
He wanted to go on a beach holiday, and the teachers put little kiddie pools around the long jump pit with water in. We all did something off his list. He got 62 valentines cards in October! He was always such a kind and thoughtful guy that everyone was happy to join in. His mom messaged me a few weeks ago just to catch up and she said she can’t believe that this year it’s 20 years since he passed, and she's so grateful that everyone made his brief time on earth so wonderful.
A Little Something Extra
My dad is a retired junior/senior high school art teacher. Every single morning for well over a decade, he packed an extra lunch and put it in a place in his classroom where a student whose family was struggling could take it without making a big deal of it. Eventually, when the older student graduated, one of his younger siblings started taking his class.
The kid would already know he could take the extra lunch bag without having to face talking to my dad about it, or being embarrassed in front of the class. I used to ask why Dad packed two lunches while I was growing up, and he would just say, “I sometimes get extra hungry.” My mom later told me the truth. He is such a quiet, humble, and extremely generous man.
Reddit user b-secret asked: 'what is the most embarrassing thing you have ever Googled?'
I freely admit I'm of a certain age where my primary education occurred before the age of the internet—when our questions were answered with conversations with experts, encyclopedias or knowing how to use card catalogs.
My knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System is largely useless today.
Research is drastically different now—sorry Melvil Dewey. Internet search engines quickly became the difference between occasionally finding an outdated version of the information we were looking for and rarely not finding current information on the most obscure of topics.
Unless your Google game is super weak, you're likely to find what you're looking for or something close to it unlike the good old days when our chances were hit or mis—with lots of misses.
So what do we use this amazing, life-changing tool for?
Reddit user b-secret asked:
"What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever Googled?"
"what's the alcohol percentage in 70% rubbing alcohol?"
"55% alcohol, 15% rubbing"
"I Googled my work because I couldn’t remember my boss’ name after working there for 8 months."
"I just blanked and couldn’t think of it."
"I Google how to spell restaurant all the time."
"I'm like that but with Febuary."
"I go into incognito mode to check spellings of words I should know how to spell."
"I was trying to find the name of those signs where a word is written down the side and each letter is used for a descriptive word."
"Confusing I know."
"So here’s an example: False Evidence Appearing Real"
"I know it has to have a name. So I googled 'Sign where every word starts with a letter' and Goggle responded with 'Did you mean a sentence?'.”
"Googled green beans once, was super high and forgot what they looked like."
"I did the same thing with beets."
Gaby Yerden on Unsplash
That Movie, With the Guy and the Stuff...
"I'll forget the name of a movie and just type in random sh*t I think I remember. Usually it works."
"Like 'that movie where the kid sleeps and has weird dreams and flies on a bed'."
"Works like a charm."
Did They Have Blue Feet?
"I was only 10."
"I was surprised to find some."
"I’m 39 and I Google this every day."
"They're nice birds but are they really worth Googling everyday?"
"I used to search something like 'no clothes' or 'without clothes' or something like that when I was a kid."
"Then I learnt the word NAKED because of the TV show Naked and Afraid."
"Then searched it so many times that my autocorrect started to show that word first when I wanted to type something."
"I like to Google Bing or Duckduckgo when I need to use them."
"My favorite band growing up was 'The Barenaked Ladies'."
"When I was at school, I once Googled them and clicked on a link that said 'free shows!'."
"I forgot what a 'gondola' was called so I typed in 'Thing that carries you through the mountains in a basket'."
"I once forgot the word for 'door' so my brain reached for adjacent concepts, smashed them together and threw them out my mouth: 'house portal'."
It Just Doesn't Translate
"I have to search a random word 'auf Englisch' or a random word 'auf Deutsch'."
"Every damn day."
"It took me a minute to realize that there was no way to translate Schadenfreude into English."
"I found out that as long as you're logged into Google, all your searches are saved to your Google account (I'm not talking about browser history)."
"So I looked back, and the 1st thing I ever googled after getting a Google account was 'Can ducks fly'."
"I've no idea why I googled this. I know ducks can fly."
You Ate What‽‽
"Once I was with some friends and I was telling them about how when I was a kid we only got to eat nuts as a special treat around Christmas."
"Then I mentioned how much I liked squirrel nuts and no one knew what they were. So I Googled 'squirrel nuts' with image search."
"Not at all what we ate at Christmas time."
"Finally found out what my family called 'squirrel nuts' were actually called hazelnuts."
"A few years ago my coworker and I were looking at the calendar at work. It had pictures of birds and we were trying to figure out what kind of bird was pictured for that month."
"I can’t remember what she thought it was, but I darned sure it was a Great Tit."
"We have a great relationship and have been working together for a long time but we tend to argue like an old married couple. So we went to Mr Google for the answer."
"Let me tell you that Googling Great Tit at work isn’t something I will ever do again."
"For the record, I was right. The bird was a Great Tit."
Great Tit holds an insect in its beak
A Perry on Unsplash
Hope some of these folks remembered to clear their browser and search histories.
So, what's your hilarious—or embarrassing—little Google secret search?
Life is all about learning new things, including learning new things about the people in your life. Sometimes, the things you learn are shocking, disgusting, or even scary.
I was the new kid in town when I was in fifth grade and my first friend was this quiet (and cute) boy in my class. He and I remained friends through middle school, and even though we drifted apart in high school, our interactions when we ran into each other in the halls or the cafeteria were really nice.
All throughout school and even beyond, he remained quiet, polite, and reserved. Just a few years ago, I read a news article written about him. He had apparently fatally wounded his father after an argument.
I had to reread the article several times to make sure it was really about my old friend. I think about it a lot, and still can't believe it!
I'm not the only one that has a shocking story like that. A lot of Redditors learned shocking or scary things about people from their childhood, and are ready to share.
It all started when Redditor ValuableHovercraft90 asked:
"What's the scariest thing you have found out about someone from your childhood (old friends, teachers, etc)?"
"That the boy who lived across the street and moved when I was 6 is still obsessed with me and my sister 30+ years later and posts ramblings on Facebook with our names and that he's going to be with us. Pretty terrifying honestly."
The Worst List
"A neighbour died when he was 30. Police searched a trailer he owned and found weapons, bombs and a list of people he wanted to kill. My uncle was on that list."
"I'm glad this ended the way it did."
"One of my best friends (and locker partner) from high school was kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq. After a nightmare of 6+ months, all went silent. We buried an empty casket in his memory 10 years later."
"This is horrifying. How incredibly sad for family to never get any closure. Very sad to read this. :("
"About 15 years ago my dad received a very good offer for work in Iraq, as a construction specialist. He was considering going, since at the same time the financial crisis started in Europe, but then one of his friends, a civil engineer, was kidnapped. Never returned back either."
"Same thing for my dad old coworker told him how great the money was. Dude got sniped working on a radio tower or something. My dad luckily was like, "I got a wife and family that would kill me for doing something so dangerous.""
End Of The Friendship
"One of my dad's good friends, and my "uncle", just stopped coming around one day. I was told he was always busy with work, away, etc."
"Turns out, he killed 3 people in a drug deal gone bad and got life in prison."
"What's scary, is that we were over at his house for a weekend BBQ with a bunch of people earlier in the day of the night he did it, and it happened at his house."
"Don't know if it was scary, but I grew up with a kid whose birthday was the day before mine so we almost always shared birthdays in elementary school. We were friends, even spent the night at his house growing up. Later on in our teens, he started getting into some really dark stuff. I recognize that now as his being a sociopath, but like most everybody else at the time, figured it was just him going through some kind of emo phase. Over the years, we lost touch but I would occasionally run into him around town and our meetings were cordial, if not friendly."
"Last year, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for killing a man back in 1993, roughly 3 years after we got out of High School. Apparently he, his sister and another man lured this guy out to the boonies and killed him to steal money he had gotten in an insurance settlement."
"The only reason they were caught is the other guy got religion, felt remorse and went on the local TV station and aired a confession before turning himself in (He got 25 to life)."
"A girl I went to school with did the same thing. She was the nicest girl, got good grades & was kind of a dork. Mixed with the wrong people after graduation. She and two others lured an old man into an abandoned building, stabbed him and robbed him. He later died from his wounds."
The Worst Afternoon
"I had a friend in grade school who was being raised by her single dad. She had a unique name and pretty face. She never talked about her mom, and she was super outgoing, so all us kids just made friends with her quickly. It was weird her dad never brought her to our birthday parties, even though she was always invited, but we didn’t think much of it. A couple times, she was allowed to ride the bus home with me after school, and we played and had fun until her dad came to pick her up. Later in the school year, she invited me to ride the bus to her house, and my mom agreed. I was 10. It was the scariest afternoon of my young life. I cannot articulate the extreme tension in her home. We weren’t allowed to make any noise, and we mostly stayed outside, me desperate for my mom to arrive."
"Her dad screamed at us for opening the door, and I was too nervous to go into the house to use the restroom. I knew she was embarrassed that there were no snacks or comforting interactions, like at my house. I didn’t really tell anyone how uncomfortable the experience was. After that day, I didn’t hang out with her a lot. We were in different classes, drifted apart, and decades later, when my own daughter asked to go to a friend’s house, I thought about that girl."
"As an adult, I figured out her dad probably worked a night shift and tried to sleep during the day…or he was an alcoholic who was really angry. Maybe both? I looked her up on social media, and thanks to her unique name and face, I recognized her immediately. She’s a perfectly well-adjusted woman with a beautiful family. She even had pictures of her kids with her dad and tributes to him as the greatest father and grandpa. Her whole page made me wonder what the hell I experienced that afternoon in the 4th grade?"
School Is Supposed To Be Safe!
"In our school, we had something called "de halte." In English, it means "the halt" literally translated. Basically time out. BIf you had a meltdown in class or you were just a little sh*thead, you were sent there for 15 minutes or so to cool off.
The de hatle teacher got fired and jailed for breaking 4 different wrists of 4 different students by bending them the wrong way..."
"There was this classmate a grade below me but all grades shared the same drama class. She was weird and kind of "off." I tried to befriend her at one point and was rebuffed. It later came out that she was actually an almost 30-year-old woman who would show up in a new area claiming to be a 15-year-old runaway. Kind of freaked me out."
It turns out it was a good thing that the friendship didn't work out!
When we think of the term "red flags," we're quick to think of red flags that might appear in a problematic or abusive relationship.
But red flags can appear in any place in our life, especially the workplace or places that consumers frequent, like big box stores and restaurants.
When it comes to restaurant red flags, these are important to note, as they could have a negative impact on a consumer's health.
Redditor FlintTheDad asked:
"What's an immediate red flag at a restaurant?"
"When you see the owner breaking apart frozen chicken on the curb outback."
"High humidity inside."
"Yes! The small that causes is unmistakable."
"All of the furniture and menus are weirdly sticky..."
"I know what *some* of that is. Some furniture and cleaning solutions aren't compatible. The cleaning spray reacts with the finish on the table tops, and softens, it, which makes it feel a bit sticky, and dulls it super fast... but it's the sanitizer cleaner they use for *everything*, and they don't want to have to deal with a separate cleaner for certain surfaces."
"I used to sell commercial office furniture, and we'd run into this issue sometimes. The worst was when a company asked us to source some tables they found from a local craftsman (since we were already an approved vendor in their system, they often had us buy and deliver stuff for them). Beautiful, hand-made stuff."
"So we bought them and arranged for the delivery and placement. When we got to the site and saw where they wanted them, I cringed... I knew the tables were finished in shellac, and they were having us put them in their lounge area, where I knew they often had events with drinks."
"Shellac dissolves in alcohol. Spilling a drink on it can ruin the finish. Before we left, I left a note on the tables about being careful and emailed the client some care tips. The NEXT DAY they sent us pictures of the ruined finish, asking, 'What is wrong with our tables?!'"
"A seafood restaurant should NOT smell fishy."
"And conversely, a seafood MARKET that does not smell fishy is indeed fishy."
A Specific Smell
"You know the one. floors feel a little slippery/slimy underfoot and it smells like they've been mopping the place with the same dirty mop and bucket water for weeks."
"This isn't something you're likely to see in a nice place but I've encountered it in more fast-casual dining places than I care to remember."
"THAT smell. It always reminds me of yeast rolls. I guess it's bacteria in the mop water that has been setting in that bucket for three days."
"This is a dead giveaway. If they can't keep part of the restaurant that the public DOES see clean, you can imagine how the non-public facing parts look."
"Health inspector here. The key is to look for build-up that looks like it's been there more than a day. Most places don't have bathroom attendants and it's unrealistic to expect public bathrooms to be spotless every minute of the day."
The Right Audience
"Whenever I have friends come to visit me in Osaka and they're dying to try some authentic ramen. My goto line is:"
"'Look for the most run-down looking, back ally shack you can, the more run-down looking; the better. Guaranteed It'll be the best ramen you'll ever have!'"
"And to anyone who happens to read this, no, Ichiran is NOT the best reman joint. It's nice don't get me wrong but please ask around, research ramen in the area you're visiting, I guarantee you there's SO much better out there!"
"I look for people of that ethnicity eating there. Mexican restaurant with only white people? It might be good. Mexican restaurant with Mexicans wearing high-vis shirts? S**t's going be fire. Bonus points if there’s a grocery store attached."
"The same thing goes for Asian restaurants sans the high-vis shirts."
Too Many Variables
"A huge menu."
"A huge VARIED menu."
"Places like Chinese, Mexican, and Indian restaurants generally have large menus, but most items use the same base ingredients."
"It's the places that try to incorporate lots of wildly different dishes that you want to avoid."
Unexpected Restaurant Guests
"A raccoon falling through the ceiling tiles. 1:00 AM, drunk as h**l, looking for something to eat, and I found a dive that was still open. I ordered my food, and while waiting for my order, a raccoon fell from the ceiling."
"The waitress ran to the back screaming. The cook came out armed with a cleaver and chased it into the kitchen. The look on his face was like it had happened before. Other people eating there were in shock and got up and left."
"Mystery meat: the new special. Get me the f**k out of there."
That Wait Time
"I immediately look to see if there is anyone actually eating. If there are a half dozen tables with no food on them, and people looking anxiously to the kitchen, I'm out."
Cleaning Response Time
"Multiple dirty tables that haven’t been cleared. If the restaurant isn’t crowded, staff should have time to clean them. If it is crowded, staff should be trying to turn tables over quickly."
"Dirty tables mean they are either severely understaffed or the staff just doesn’t care. Either way, you will be waiting a long time."
"Once went into a restaurant that boasted the biggest Cinnamon Rolls in the city/state... Only for there to be a pervasive smell of absolutely raw stagnate sewage throughout the dining room. Needless to say, did not return."
Construction Said It Best
"A green flag for a restaurant is when you see a lot of construction workers going there for lunch. You'll know it's cheap and good, hearty food."
"In my old city, there was this tiny little family-owned Chinese restaurant with delicious and cheap lunch specials. Every construction worker downtown sat at the counter at the front for lunch."
"Meanwhile, the waiters would be in this little back room watching TV and the chef must have been at least 70 years old. The food was genuinely so delicious and filling. Probably not good for your cholesterol but so tasty!"
"Not a red flag about the food but if a place has their music up so loud I can’t hear the person I’m with, then I won’t eat there."
"Conversely, if it's TOO quiet; as in, not only is the sound system way too low, but if the customers are also weirdly quiet (barely having conversations, just sort of sitting there) and the atmosphere seems almost stifling."
"A couple of years ago we walked into a gastropub in Scotland just like this - very low music, the room was half full (and this was at peak lunch time), and everyone who was there were just sitting, looking sullen, barely speaking, waiting for their food. Just really... odd... vibes."
"After five minutes of sitting at the bar trying to get the attention of staff (who were all standing around looking at their phones), we left and went to a definitely *not fancy* cafe down the block that was the absolutely opposite: people just seemed happy to be there, staff were attentive, and the vibe was really welcoming."
The Ultimate Red Flag
"Gordon Ramsey walking in with a camera crew."
"One of the local restaurants we like was recently closed for a bit due to filming for 'Kitchen Nightmares.'"
"My husband still likes to get their food, but I'm waiting until the episode airs!"
No restaurant is going to be perfect 100 percent of the time. They're going to have a slow night or poor response time or get some orders wrong from time to time.
But there are far more problematic behaviors and characteristics to find in a restaurant that are perfectly good reasons to never go back there again, no matter how good they may have been in the past.
Teachers are not only educators, they're also inspiring leaders.
The most memorable teachers are those who genuinely encourage young students to do their best so they can be empowered to pursue their dreams.
However, we tend to revere them to such a degree, we forget that they're people too with real emotions.
Curious to hear from strangers who witnessed a vulnerable moment from someone they were inspired by at an early age, Redditor throwthrowwthrowwww asked:
"Students who've witnessed their teacher cry during class, what happened?"
There's no bigger heartbreak than people who are struggling with illnesses or know of someone facing medical challenges.
"One of our music instructors 7th-12th grade. She had a long ongoing battle with stage three/four cancer. She always did her best to try to have fun during our classes, like it was an escape for her because she loved music so much. Over 85% of the entire high school joined choir because of her. Her chemo and radiation treatments left her exhausted some days, though, and she would occasionally break down. In 2012, when her condition worsened, she would have to take more days off because the cancer had become so debilitating."
"We continued to practice our songs while she was gone, and I swear we would sometimes spend an hour on one small section of a song, ripping every note apart, and repeating the same words over and over until we couldn't mess it up. One of the final days in class with her, I remember we were rehearsing for our upcoming state competition, and we sounded damn good. Mid-song, she stopped conducting, closed her eyes, folded her hands, and listened as we continued singing for her. The energy and sound was so profound throughout the room, I can't find the words to describe it."
"After the song finished, we stood in a long, complete silence before she opened her eyes with tears streaming down her face. She wasn't able to go to our state competition with us, but we ended up placing that year. It wasn't first like we were hoping, but it was the highest the school had ever placed. She later passed away that same year. She was one of the strongest women I had ever met in my life."
Losing A Student
"My high school Spanish teacher also taught some homebound students with medical issues."
"One day the vice principal came into our class and told Ms J that one of her homebound students had passed away from his cancer. She couldn't hold back the tears."
"I’m a teacher, I cried in front of my toddlers when I got a call from the hospital telling me it was time to make the call as to whether to pull my dads life support. One of my toddlers came up to me while I was crying, put her hand on my cheek and said 'it’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to cry,' then gave me a hug. I love my job."
Students witnessed the following teachers get emotional.
"The class surprised him on teacher appreciation day. Someone brought pop, snacks etc. He was surprised. 6th grade teacher."
"Had a philosophy course in uni during covid. So the class was held on zoom. It wasn't teacher appreciation day, but it was the second to last lecture of the term and we all really enjoyed this prof (and because of him most of the class became friends). So we organized an appreciation thing for him."
"We all started class without our cameras on, which was unusual and made him question (he got sad actually). So one girl said 'before we start, we just really wanted to do something for YOU because you've done so much for us. I hope this is okay.' He gave us a confused look, and before he could say anything in response we all turned our cameras on and held up signs saying 'thank you professor [name]' and our green screen backgrounds were of his face lol. He laughed so hard but started crying. Told us how he wished we could do this in person and that he genuinely cared about all of us."
"He had a lot of health issues, the most prominent one being MS. Whenever he didn't start class on time we all got worried, and there were a few times where he cancelled altogether because he fell or something. He also had a cat, and we asked to see him just enough times that his cat learned what time our class was at and would climb up to see us and stay the whole class. It was cute. During the breaks he would email a link to play chess since he lived far from his family and couldn't visit and wanted the company. We organized a Christmas movie day with him over the Christmas break and he loved it. He retired after the following year because of his health, and I still wonder what he's doing now and if he's doing okay. I've been in uni for 5 years now and he is the only prof I've actually spoken to consistently and genuinely liked."
"5th grade teacher reading Where the Red Fern Grows out loud to the class. He shed some tears. He did every year."
"Our teacher read that book to us in 5th grade also. But when it got to that part, she elected me to read it and she left the room. Luckily I had read it before and knew what was coming, but it was still rough."
The Private Life Of An English Teacher
"I forgot his name, but he was one of my favored teachers in high school. He taught English."
"During class, he was called out to talk to some members of the school administration and a few proctors. It took several minutes. But he returned, taught as much of the class as he could, and then just walked over to his desk and started crying. Whimpering. He then left."
"He just found out his wife, who had also been a teacher, was having an affair with one of the female students. We didn't find out that specific fact until later on though."
Some students, however, can force a teacher to realize they're in the wrong profession.
"Student that had behavior issues and a hard time maintaining emotional regulation threw his recorder (the instrument) at the music teacher and it snapped in half. He then threw his desk in her direction and walked out. This was 3rd grade, and all she had asked him to do was listen to the song we were learning. She quit the next week after almost 30 years of teaching."
Bullying The Substitute
"Ms. Hanlon... Substitute teacher, I still think about her and hope she's doing well. She was posted as the teacher when the usual teachers were off sick. Absolutely zero respect was given to her and the class knew if we had Ms. Hanlon it was just an extended lunch, we could just mess around and act like animals for the whole lesson."
"She had physical conditions like a dent in her forehead and a gravvely voice which prevented her from being able to raise her voice to tell us to be quiet. So the kids would all do Hunchback of Notre Dame impressions, spitballs through straws and do the 'coughing game' where they would just cough through whatever she was trying to say."
"Even as a kid I felt kinda awful after we'd essentially broken her and she'd just come in not even say hello and pull open a book for the hour and sometimes cry into it. I weirdly still think about her randomly once or twice a month, I hope she moved on to way better things. School children really have no filter at all."
Absolutely Zero Respect
"Substitute teacher in Jr High must be among the world's worse jobs. 8th grade we had a sub that demanded and got no respect. Kids would throw stuff at her etc. She left the classroom crying then the vice principal, who was not to be messed with, came in and took over."
"I had a substitute teacher named Mr. Crane who looked exactly like Ichabod Crane from the old cartoon. Some kids in the class bullied him relentlessly for this and he just kind of broke down one day. Poor guy."
In seventh grade, I witnessed a classmate talk back to our homeroom teacher and saying very inappropriate, bullish things to her in front of the whole class.
But that didn't make her cry.
What made her tear up was when another student defended her and yelled at the bullying student for being out of line.