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 sweet_chick283 asked: 'What do you secretly love that you would never admit to in public?;
What makes us all unique is our passions and the things we love, whether it's singing in the shower, reading books, or listening to specific music artists.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are judged for our various tastes and interests thanks to social media, and it makes us consciously selective about sharing the things we love on the internet.
Curious to hear about people's personal desires under anonymity, Redditor sweet_chick283 asked:
"What do you secretly love that you would never admit to in public?"
These aren't really chores for the following Redditors.
Good Clean Fun
"Mopping, im a janitor and generally hate my work... but damn mopping is so good."
"When you have a great rhythm going it is something special. I get the same feeling while I vacuum, but won’t let my wife know I enjoy it."
Act Of Unwrinkling
"Ironing clothes. A dozen of them. Can’t explain how it relaxes me. I told one person and they looked at me like I’m crazy."
"My mum misses the days when dad would be out on a Friday night, my brother out with friends and me upstairs quietly playing PS1. She would pour herself a Bacardi & Coke and do the ironing while watching her TV shows."
"I'm sure she doesn't really miss it now that we've moved out and they've retired but it was her wind-down after a busy working week so I can see how people can find it relaxing."
Our solo actions can spark joy.
Big Brother Is Watching
"pretending to be on the Truman show and whenever im in my house i act all inconspicuous so they dont know that i know that they’re watching me."
"C’mon man, you’re not supposed to let him know. You signed a contract when signing up for live views. I’m reporting you."
"Playing video games naked at home while eating cheese."
Releasing The Kraken
"I love the feeling when you've eaten good fibre and let out a solid long train log in the toilet. That feeling is heavenly."
"Even better when it’s a clean wipe and not a poo crayon."
"My (male 41) weekend routine is coming home from work, make hot chocolate, start a fire, dress in a ugly pink nightgown made for old ladies and watch forensic files."
Some people are obsessed with collecting things.
"Sanrio stationery stores. All those different multicolor pens, a thousand kinds of erasers, spiral bound notebooks galore... my kids sadly have absolutely no appreciation for this wonderland..."
It's A Staple
"Office supplies have a weird, special place in my heart ever since I was a kid. They don't even have to be 'cute' necessarily."
"Japan's legendary stationery stores is unironically a reason I want to go."
Not Caring Anymore
"The older I get the shorter that list gets. Not because I love less things, but because I don't care about hiding it."
"YES!! I'm 53 now. I'm working my first job in public since 2006. Today is Halloween and we're allowed to dress up so I am sitting here waiting to go to work dressed as a VERY bad Wednesday Addams. My bf said I'd 'look stupid' because no one else will probably dress up and I'm like, 'WHO CARES!' My makeup looks horrible and not like I practiced, but I DO NOT CARE! I'm having fun with it anyhow and I don't care if my coworkers dress up or not. I'm bein' ME! :)"
Honorable mentions start here.
"Picking up worms from the street and sidewalks when it rains and moving them into the dirt so they don’t burn in the sun, every time it rains I do this."
Hero Of The Moment
"Yoooo I scoot SO many snails and worms. I work as a tech/mechanic at an automotive shop, I had a peoject car towed to my house the other day and it was covered in snails. I saw them when the tow guy/coworker was unloading and I was like, 'oh! It comes with free snails!' and began moving them. He laughed then realized and said, '... Oh, you're serious. Uh... Okay.'"
"I don't care who knows it. These little things barely can look out for themselves, why shouldn't we if we can take a moment to help? I don't care what happens next, it probably doesn't matter overall but I can help this moment."
Why should some of the hidden desires mentioned above have to be secret?
Redditors opening up about some of these would make them a hit at parties–no shaming.
As a matter of fact, I'll totally be down for a Forensic Files viewing party where we all make hot chocolate, light the fireplace, and cozy up together in our respective pink ugly nightgowns for old ladies.
We've probably all heard some variation of the saying "Truth is stranger than fiction."
Real life isn't just strange, it can also be downright ridiculous.
History is riddled with moments of absurdity.
So ridiculous that people have a hard time believing real life is, well, really real.
A Redditor asked:
"What’s an event in history that is so ridiculous it sounds fake?"
"Hannibal saved his army by tying torches to the horns of 5,000 cows and driving them in one direction."
"The Romans thought they were the enemy army and converged on them, while Hannibal quietly snuck his 10,000 man force out of the valley by another route."
War Without Casualties
"That time Denmark and Canada (I think) had a 'war' over Hans island."
"Every time a Navy vessel drove by they picked up the flag of the over nation, planted their own and left a bottle of alcohol."
"I heard it stopped not that long ago."
"It also means that both Canada and Denmark now share a land border with more than one country."
"Also (jokingly) means that Canada could potentially join the EU, as it now borders an EU nation."
"The Erfurt Latrine Disaster occurred on 26 July 1184, when Henry VI, King of Germany (later Holy Roman Emperor), held a Hoftag (informal assembly) in the Petersberg Citadel in Erfurt."
"On the morning of 26 July, the combined weight of the assembled nobles caused the wooden second story floor of the building to collapse and most of them fell through into the latrine cesspit below the ground floor, where about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement."
Running On Empty
"The 1904 Olympic Marathon in St. Louis."
"32 athletes took part, but only 14 were able to finish—there was only one water station in the entire 26-mile course. The 'winner' was later disqualified because they found out he drove half the race in his car."
"The new winner (the guy who came in second) had to be carried over the finish line by his trainers because they’d been dosing him the whole time with a strange mixture of strychnine, brandy, and egg whites."
"Several people almost died of internal injuries. Multiple runners stole things from passersby."
"Most people in the race weren’t even Olympic-level athletes, just amateur runners, many of whom didn’t even have to run a full marathon to qualify."
"When two perfectly working pistols failed to fire on US President Andrew Jackson who then beat his would-be-assassin so badly that the presidential security detail had to pull him off to save the man's life."
The Log Shot First
"The guy who founded Scientology once engaged in a multi-day naval battle with a log. He would then go on to commit an act of war against Mexico."
"In June 1942, Hubbard was given command of a patrol boat at the Boston Navy Yard, but he was relieved after the yard commandant wrote that Hubbard was 'not temperamentally fitted for independent command'."
"In 1943, Hubbard was given command of a submarine chaser, but only five hours into the shakedown cruise, Hubbard believed he had detected an enemy submarine. Hubbard and crew spent the next 68 hours engaged in combat."
"An investigation concluded that Hubbard had likely mistaken a 'known magnetic deposit' for an enemy sub. The following month, Hubbard unwittingly fired upon Mexican territory and was relieved of command."
"In 1944, Hubbard served aboard the USS Algol before being transferred. The night before his departure, Hubbard reported the discovery of an attempted sabotage."
"I believe he had his men fire into hills in Baja California. He must not have realized that you can’t just use another country for target practice."
"The Field of the Cloth of Gold, where King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France tried to out-bling each other."
"The fact that two monkeys covered in gold leaf were far from the most ostentatious display is a good indication of how tasteful it was."
"I assumed you meant two statues of monkeys in gold leaf."
"But no, actual real-life monkeys. Somebody painted actual real-life monkeys gold."
Sorry We Can't Shoot You
"When America went to war with Spain, the Spanish forgot to tell their territory, Guam.
"The US sent a single warship to the island where they took 13 shots at the fort."
"The leaders on the island rowed out to apologize they couldn't return their 'salute' because they had no gunpowder."
"That is why Guam is a US territory."
"The Great Windham Frog War."
"In 1754 Windham, Connecticut was still a frontier settlement. One hot night the residents awoke to gruesome sounds that convinced them that the local Natives were attacking."
"Throughout the night they strove to drive off the attackers with steady gunfire. In the morning they crept out, to find thousands of dead frogs who had spent the night competing for the dwindling water."
"Rather than being ashamed, this has become a central part of the town’s character. The town’s symbol is a frog and the bridge is decorated with large frogs at each corner."
"Basically, the British dressed a random dead guy in a military uniform, put fake invasion plans in his pocket, and dropped him on the shore of Spain."
"The Spanish found the body (and invasion plans) and informed Germany."
"Germany, believing the invasion plans were real, sent an army to Greece—which is exactly what the Brits wanted, because they were actually going to invade Sicily."
They Got Worms
"For a very long time the Roman empire was able to acquire silk through trade over 'the silk road' to China, but never able to unlock the secrets of producing it domestically themselves."
"Until 552AD, when two monks preaching in India then travelled to China, where they witnessed the guarded methods of using the live silk worm to spin the famous thread."
"Knowing the importance of what they'd learned, the monks returned to Constantinople to report directly to the emperor Justinian."
"He personally met the monks, heard all the details of what they'd seen, then asked them to return to China and find a way of smuggling these worms back to the empire."
"They agreed, and prepared for the 2 year ~6,500km (4,000mi) trek back to China on foot, hoof and wheel."
"Once back in China they acquired either eggs or young larvae, since the adults are too delicate for transport, and tucked them into hollowed bamboo canes for the long journey straight back home."
"Once the monks made it back to Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey), domestic silk production slowly ramped up and the need for long journeys along the 'silk road' ramped down."
"Over time, this allowed the same type of silk monopoly which China had enjoyed through the prior centuries to now be established in the Mediterranean, becoming one of the bedrocks of the Byzantine economy for the next 700 years.It's crazy to think about these two guys."
"1500 years before you or I were born, making their second multi-year, 6,500km trek back from China, smuggling two bamboo canes full of bugs which would fuel the economy of one of the world's largest civilizations for the next 700 years."
"I wonder if they knew and understood these possibilities when they went to scoop the worms from their baskets in China...Imagine the anxiety trying to keep them hidden and alive the whole way back!"
"The Gombe Chimpanzee War."
"It sounds like something right out of a Planet of The Apes movie."
"The Gombe Chimpanzee War, also known as the Four-Year War, was a violent conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in the Kigoma region of Tanzania between 1974 and 1978."
"The two groups were once unified in the Kasakela community. By 1974, researcher Jane Goodall noticed the community splintering."
"Over a span of eight months, a large party of chimpanzees separated themselves into the southern area of Kasakela and were renamed the Kahama community. The separatists consisted of six adult males, three adult females and their young."
"The Kasakela was left with eight adult males, twelve adult females and their young."
"During the four-year conflict, all males of the Kahama community were killed, effectively disbanding the community. The victorious Kasakela then expanded into further territory but were later repelled by two other communities of chimpanzees."
Hong Xiuquan Christ?
"The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864)."
"Hong Xiuquan, who failed the imperial exam on the third try to become a civil servant, had a breakdown and dreamed that he was the brother of Jesus Christ."
"He later led a revolution resulting in between 20 to 30 million deaths. That's the bloodiest civil war in the world and the toll of death surpasses the totality of casualties in WWI."
"British diplomats at the time wanted to support the revolution but later discovered that Hong Xiuquan literally never read the Bible and they thus deemed it would be disastrous if he were to get the throne."
"This historical event feels like a fever dream everytime I hear about it."
"John 'Mad Jack' Churchill was a British officer in World War Two. He’s famous because he brought along a Scottish claymore, bagpipes, and a bow and got the 'only confirmed longbow kill of the Second World War'."
"One time he was with part of his commando unit and a shell exploded and injured everyone but him, so he played a Scottish Jacobite song on his bagpipes until the Germans captured him and sent him to a prison camp."
"He promptly escaped via a tunnel he dug and almost got to the ocean before he got recaptured."
"By then, it was April 1945, and the German military was falling apart, so they let him go pretty quickly."
"He’s famous for the quote 'any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed'."
What absurdly, ridiculous event would you add?
Companies and products rebrand for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes they want to revitalize a dying brand.
Or stay fresh and modern.
Other times they're trying to put a negative public image in their rear view mirror.
And sometimes, someone somewhere in a company has low impulse control.
Reddit user PulakHasan asked:
"What's the Weirdest Rebranding of all time?"
"Weight Watchers abbreviated their name down to 'WW' and in doing so, increased the syllables needed to pronounce their new company name."
"You burn more calories uttering the extra syllables."
"Waitr was an extremely successful delivery service here. They had full time employees and you could get food delivered in 30-45 minutes."
"Then, they made everybody an independent contractor and started calling themselves ASAP."
"'As slow as possible' caught on and they lost the majority market share within a month."
"I still don’t understand HBO dropping probably the most prestigious name in cable tv/streaming."
"Right?! Also it literally means Home Box Office - that’s the best name for a streaming service????"
Nordic Choice Hotels
"Nordic Choice Hotels rebranded to 'Strawberry'."
"They have to mention their old name all the time, because Strawberry could be absolutely anything."
"If only it were 'Strawberry Hotels' but it's not. It's just Strawberry."
"They removed the part that explains what kind of business it is."
"USWest-->Qwest-->CenturyLink-->Lumen I don’t care what your name is."
"Can I have more than 10mbps DSL at my address?"
"In Europe, and it's now Level3--> Centurylink--> Lumen--> Colt."
"I'm sure they rename in the hope people forget the incompetence."
"My mom has worked for them since 1977 when they were Northwestern Bell."
"She's been through a billion name changes."
Circuit City IQ Crew
"Circuit City rebranding their PC technician division from IQ Crew (which predated Geek Squad, by the way) to..."
"I worked at a Circuit City from 2005-2008 and we all thought it was a prank when we saw the announcement."
"'The intensity of fire with the loyalty of man's best friend'."
"I sh*t you not—that was the marketing."
"When after a major oil spill, BP changed their branding to Beyond Petroleum for an ad campaign showing how they were investing in renewables."
"Logo change too."
"An oil spilled followed by a huge effort to cover it up, including dumping Corexit into the water to mix with the oil and make it sink."
"So it was no longer visible from aerial shots, but it did far, far more damage mixed with a dangerous chemical and sitting on the sea floor than slowly evaporating or being soaked up on the surface."
"When BP purchased Amoco, they quickly rebranded all the stations to BP."
"Not sure if it is everywhere but Amoco had a lot of brand recognition in the Midwest and a lot of people just didn’t like BP."
"Eventually, they started rebranding some of their stations back to Amoco to cash in on nostalgia."
"I always thought it was dumb but never realized that so many people hated it until after I worked for BP (very briefly) and was told the story of how much pushback they got."
British Petroleum (BP Oil)/Paul Sableman
"Overstock.com I think qualifies for weird rebrand."
"Bed Bath and Beyond went out of business and was bought out by Overstock and then Overstock just rebranded everything to Bed Bath and Beyond."
"If you go to overstock.com it’s just BBB."
"When Snoop Dogg (temporarily) changed his name to Snoop Lion to make a reggae album."
"Snoop’s original name on Death Row was 'Snoop Doggy Dogg'. When he left Death Row and went to No Limit, he had to alter his name (which might have been his original name) to 'Snoop Dogg'."
"Snoop’s mother used to call him Snoopy as a nickname which is the origin."
"The Charles Schulz people would have had a field day."
"Books-A-Million to 'BAM'."
"I was in a parking lot with one and had no idea it was a bookstore, as I was a bit too far out to see more than 'BAM' from where I was parked."
"Everytime I see the new KIA logo I assume its a NIN [Nine Inch Nails] fan."
"I thought it was KN for an embarrassingly long time."
"KIA changed their logo on their cars and Google showed an uptick in the searches for 'K N cars' because people liked the look of them but didn’t realise it was a KIA."
Mark Chan on Unsplash
"Royal Mail deciding Consignia was the way to go forwards."
"They wanted to go international but they lost so much money that year they had to stay national and reversed the name back."
"Twitter to X."
"And then everyone still refers to it as Twitter."
"'A user on X, formerly known as Twitter, posted…'.”
"Rather like to see 'A user on Twitter, erroneously known as X, posted...'."
"'A user on twitter, largely unknown as X, posted...'."
"A few days ago, I saw an article that said 'Twitter, which Elon Musk incorrectly thinks is called X for some reason...'."
"That was pretty funny."
"In Chicago we still call it the Sears Tower [renamed Willis Tower in 2009]."
"And in Pittsburgh, it’s still Heinz Field [renamed Acrisure Stadium in 2022]."
"And in Toronto, it’s still the Skydome [renamed Rogers Centre in 2005]."
"And in New York when you take 287 across the Hudson it's still the Tappan Zee Bridge [renamed Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in 2017]. "
"A lot of LA people still call it Staples Center [renamed Crypto.com Arena in 2021]."
"In Denver we will always say Mile High Stadium [renamed Empower Field at Mile High in 2019]."
Some rebrandings make perfect sense to the public.
Others are utterly baffling.
What would you add to this list?
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?