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 CampDreamy asked: 'What advice would you give someone starting their first job?''
Starting your first job is always nerve-wracking. The start of anything new usually is. That's why it's helpful to get some advice.
Before I started my first job, a friend of mine told me that there were a lot of things I should be willing to do in order to become indispensable, but one thing I should never do is give up lunch.
Even if it's a busy day and everyone is working through lunch, take five minutes to buy something at the deli next door or pop something in the microwave. You will not do your best work if you do not eat a meal.
I was very glad to get that advice, and it was something I always followed.
I also followed my own personal rule of writing down the process to do anything at work, even if it was as simple as where to look for a particular file. Anytime I thought 'oh, I'll remember,' I ended up having to ask again. It's always better to write it down so you not only know how to do it, but are the one that people come to when they need to know how to do it.
I'm not the only one that has good advice for someone starting their first job. Redditors are full of advice and are ready to share.
It all started when Redditor CampDreamy asked:
"What advice would you give someone starting their first job?"
"95% of success is showing up on-time and not having a bad attitude."
"There’s a quote that goes something like: you don’t need an advanced degree to show up on time, work hard, and have a positive attitude."
"I basically used this as my mantra as I built my career (and still do)."
"This has been my experience in my first ~5 years of employment. Being someone that people enjoy interacting with, sticking to deadlines, and broadly trying to make lives easier rather than harder will get you pretty close to the top, and it’s a lot easier than working overtime every day."
"Yep, when I was younger I always thought that just showing up on time, being a decent person to work with, and doing a good job were the bare minimum that everyone did....I learned later that this will put you above approximately 90% of your co-workers."
"Poop on company time."
"Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime. That's why I poop on company time."
Everyone Makes Mistakes
"Don't worry about f**king up. You're going to f**k up. We all f**k up. Constantly."
"Learn from it when you f**k it up so you do it better next time and you'll be the best employee in any job."
"And when (not if) you f**k up, own up to it, and do your best to fix it. It's way easier to fix a mistake when it first happens than 3 weeks or even hours down the line. This applies to basically any field."
"Listen to gossip if you want, but never spread it."
"Yep. I worked in a private pool snack bar kitchen last summer, and nearly all of my coworkers were high school girls. The amount of sh*t they talked on each other was insane, but I just tried my best to not get involved. It never became anything other than sh*t-talking, but it's just a good idea in general to keep your head down."
"I work in a kitchen with majority middle-aged women, and it's simular to what you described."
Do It All
"If they tell you to sweep, just sweep. You still make the same amount. Unless you’re an MD or something else, in that case you’re f**ked!"
"A programmer consultant I knew in the 90s lived by the motto "it all pays the same.""
"You want him to spend his $50/hr time doing things that an unpaid intern could handle? Sounds like an easy day."
(Don't) Let It Burn, Burn, Burn
"Don’t burn bridges if you quit or get fired."
""Never cut what you can untie.""
"- Robert Frost"
It's All Public
"Assume everybody in the company plus clients will read every email you send."
"Yeah this is genuinely a great rule that will save your @ss. Write every email as if it will be read by the whole org."
"Also speak as though anything you say is being recorded."
"Document EVERYTHING. Every time punch. Every direction from your supervisor."
"Do this if you are working outside your duties/responsibilities as well, or directed to do things. You want a paper trail of why you did what you did if something screwy happens."
"Ideally, the work place should concentrate on policy, protocol, training, engineering and admin controls and such... but well stuff isnt always ideal."
"You're going to feel tempted to make strong relationships with your coworkers - but remember that you shouldn't share with anyone what you wouldn't want known by everyone. You may think you can trust someone, but you should have a bit of caution."
"A lot of work relationships feel a bit like a friendship, but they are not. If they move on, or you do, it is rare that you will stay in touch. Accept it for what it is."
"Take advantage of tuition reimbursement to get degrees/certifications that will benefit your career and don't worry about "owing" the company for it."
"Many industries have pretty generous tuition reimbursement programs where they cover your school but you owe them time after they cut those checks. A typical program might have a requirement that if you leave the company you need to pay back anything they had paid out in the last two years."
"The thing is that you want to leverage that degree for a salary jump and the current company won't give it to you because they have you "locked" in now, right?"
"So you interview for your next job and when that company gives you an offer you explain that you're on the hook for the tuition reimbursement at your old company "and since you will be getting the benefit of that education I will need a signing bonus to cover my financial obligation to my current employer.""
"Keep in mind that the signing bonus will be taxable income so you need to shoot for an amount that will have taxes taken out and leave what you need to pay back the tuition."
"I've known too many people who didn't get a degree that could have really helped them but they didn't want to be "on the hook" to their employer. I even know one guy who spent close to $30k out of his own pocket to get a master's degree because he didn't want to "be stuck here" when he was done."
The Little Moments Matter
"Don’t miss any major life events (or the major life events of close family/friends) for work. You might feel pressure from your employer not to take the time off."
"The family/friends will still be around for many years, the first job probably won’t."
Learn To Save
"Pension! Pension! Pension!"
"Put as much as you can afford to into your pension. Retirement might seem a lifetime away but the sooner you save for it the sooner you can achieve it."
Money, Money, Money
"Pack a lunch! Eating out can put a huge dent in your paycheck!"
"Can't stress this enough. For the price of eating out unhealthy food for 1 day you can usually pack healthier lunch for 2-3 days."
Oh, yes! I found out about that last one the hard way...and still haven't learned!
Just the other evening, I was walking home, and I barely survived.
I tripped on a dead tree branch.
The next thing I knew, I was flying in the air and landing on my back.
My belongings were strewn about.
And my to-go burger was dead.
A simple walk.
A simple dead branch.
And almost lights out.
Redditor Typical_XJW wanted to hear about the times people eluded death, so they asked:
"How did you almost die?"
Don't even get me started on any and every car ride.
We're always moments from the end on highways.
Back in the Day...Hunger Games Student GIFGiphy
"Almost drowned when I was 5 or 6, been hospitalized twice for sepsis between 2016 and 2019, and had a stroke this year. I'm 29."
On the Disk
"MRSA infection in the disk on my lower spine between L5 and S1. Showed up two days after a cortisone shot but the hospital said it was from something else. Was in hospital 25 days multiple emergency surgeries."
"I worked for a doctor who did these in-house and other procedures, and it 100% made me not trust medical facilities, cleanliness, and sterilization procedures. Had about twenty patients all come down with the same gut infection, 'coincidentally,' the same patients who came in for endoscopy procedures the same day."
"Saving a younger friend from drowning, he panicked and almost took me out."
"Had that happen with a younger cousin when we were kids. His brother and I went to save him, he climbed on both of us and pushed us under. Lifeguard didn’t even see us until he pulled younger cousin out of the water, then we popped up gasping for air."
"16-year-old farm kid me, stepdad told me to go pick up a load of corn seed for planting. I had gone with him many times before, and driven the truck (full ton dually diesel) and hauled light stuff with it. Nobody told me how different it is to haul 10,000 lbs of seed on a big flatbed trailer on gravel. I had a lot of common sense and was driving slowly and carefully."
"Still… 10,000+ lbs pushed me down a gravel hill skidding, praying to god I stopped before the stop sign at the T intersection to a busy highway. I came to a grinding halt JUST as the front of the truck crossed the plane where the gravel turned to asphalt. A semi was coming from one direction and regular cars from the other. I shudder thinking about what if on that one. Don’t let untrained kids tow potentially deadly, heavy trailers, with zero training."
Finding TracksCollege Sports Sport GIF by Sealed With A GIFGiphy
"Was backwoods camping in Yellowstone and if I hadn’t considered for 30 seconds if I REALLY needed to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would have walked out of my tent headfirst into a brown bear, which I heard before leaving and found tracks of next to my tent in the morning. Spookiest moment of my life in hindsight."
Bears are a no go for me.
Camping is an even bigger HECK NO!!
Several StrikesReassuring Jimmy Fallon GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonGiphy
"Twice. 1. Woke up to my apartment on fire."
"2. Hit head-on by a drunk driver on a small bus, just after everyone got off bus exploded."
"Lmao okay, so I was getting my teeth cleaned, and I got nitrous oxide because I have so many exposed roots. Well, my hygienist at the time was this lovely lady from Minnesota. Kinda flaky, but super sweet, and talked about her family all the time. So I'm in the chair and she hooks up my mask, and away we go. I actually fell asleep! Except not so much."
"Turns out Barb had forgotten to turn the oxygen on and had been feeding me straight nitrous. She only noticed because I started gasping for air while unconscious. So that's how I almost died at the dentist. I never saw Barb again, but I tell you, that was the best nap of my life!"
"I was snorkeling. I had my other stuff stored on a rock by the water, about 3 meters high. When I got out, I decided to climb straight up. Almost at the top, the rock I was hoisting myself up on came off and I fell back first onto the coral. If a friendly wave hadn’t come in, I would have broken my back, at least."
"I was diagnosed with a rare fatal blood disorder from birth, doctors projected I’d live till about 6 and then die from massive blood loss. As this was the mid-90s, they tested the idea of using stem cells from my sibling's umbilical cord; administering the first successful stem cell transplant from a sibling donor and I’m still here to tell the tale!"
These were some tremendously close calls.
Do you have any near-death experiences to share? Let us know in the comment below.
When it comes to the dating scene, most of us have a pretty low opinion of people who choose to cheat on their partners, not to mention serial cheaters.
But that doesn't seem to stop some people from doing the deed.
Curious, Redditor miaah214 asked:
"People who have cheated before, why did you do it?"
"He cheated first, and I was young, petty, and thought revenge would make me feel better."
Immature and Selfish
"Unbridled ego, unsatisfying regular sex life, and a girl who threw herself at me."
"I was an idi*t, I acted like an a**hole, and I will regret it for the rest of my life."
"It was a hard truth to face. It was a dark time in my life where my ego and my immaturity caused me to hurt several people I loved."
"Fortunately, I learned from it, and while I can't take back the pain I caused, at least now I know that I am 100% capable of being an a**hole and so can choose not to be one."
"Insecurity. I was always on the lookout for someone who would make me feel more desirable than the last. It was a serious youthful lack of judgment."
"Once I grew up emotionally, I realized what a piece of s**t I was and the hurt I caused. Hard to live with, to be honest."
"100% pure lust. That’s it. I’m not proud of it."
Lots of Options
"Willing partners. It was amazing how many times when I did have a steady girlfriend that I would suddenly get propositioned by random women or worse yet, my girlfriend's friends or sisters."
"Too many times to be a fluke."
"It was like they figured if you are in a relationship, you're worth pursuing."
"But when I was single, most times I couldn't get a woman's attention."
"So it was an ego boost, but ultimately, I decided to be a better person, and I met a person who I truly thought was 'the one.'"
"And to a certain extent I did, it just didn't last through no fault of my own."
In Need of Validation
"When you grow up being in turn neglected and told you're not good enough, validation is like a drug, and intimacy is the ultimate validation."
"Sooooo much therapy to undo this."
"This. I’m just recently realizing how I didn’t receive enough attention and validation from my parents and how much it’s influenced my choices. Meeting someone and having them be into me physically is the easiest validation boost I can find."
"People who grew up with parents actually interested in them and with an instilled sense of self-confidence don’t know how good they have it."
"I don’t inherently feel important or relevant so I’m always looking for someone to tell me otherwise."
The Thrill of It
"Because I was a f**king a**hole 20-year-old who only thought of himself and getting some action. The high of it."
"I'm 37 now. No cheating since then."
The Real Joy
"My ex was done in the bedroom and even said they were no longer interested in me physically or sexually."
"I should have left at that point, but with kids and the financial hit of divorce, I just looked to fulfill that need."
"I later divorced, and it was a big financial hit, but oh my god, what a relief it was getting out. Getting out of an abusive relationship is where the true pleasure comes from."
In Need of Attention
"My partner cheated on me shortly after I had his baby. I wanted to leave, but I convinced myself to stay. The logistics of having a baby and 24-hour care are challenging on your own. He refused to have sex with me."
"At some point, someone got me in a weak spot. Somewhere between exhaustion, low self-esteem, and the sheer opportunity of having an orgasm were too strong for me. I’m deeply ashamed."
"Shortly after I picked myself up, the relationship ended. I should have left sooner."
"Someone telling you that you are beautiful, talented, and special after being invisible can feel like a drug. I don’t expect sympathy from anyone for my actions. But I do have a lot of sympathy for others now."
The Easier Option
"Because I chose a cowardly and easy path. Instead of going to therapy and ending my toxic relationship, I cheated on them with someone who I had convinced myself I was in love with and loved me."
"As it turns out, breaking up with someone is a lot less harmful to everyone involved than cheating."
"Not me, but a guy friend cheated and the reason he gave was that he loved his fiancée but they had very different sex drives."
"He also said that when he brought it up to her (the difference in their sex drives and the problems it would cause) she begged him not to leave and insisted it wouldn’t be an issue."
"He told her it already WAS an issue and, as a last resort, she said she would understand if SOME DAY he felt the need to look elsewhere…just as long as she never found out."
"The girl admitted to saying all this but explained that she would have said anything for them to stay together in that moment, she didn’t think he’d actually be 'f**ked up enough to cheat' and she never imagined he would do it so soon."
The Perfect Combination
"A perfect storm of poor impulse control, untreated mental illness, and boredom."
"People on the moral high ground will tell you not to cheat for reasons like morality and integrity; from the moral low ground, I can tell you that the lifelong guilt, shame, and remorse are not worth it."
"Because the relationship was done and I was already moving on emotionally. I just didn't care about her enough to care whether she was hurt or not. Honestly, in hindsight, I have zero idea why we were still together. It DID make the eventual breakup a lot messier."
"I was young and it taught me an important lesson. If you're done, just be done and leave. There's no point in dragging it out. If you're ready to start looking for another relationship, start by ending the relationship you're already in."
Ready to Make Up for It
"I had a perceived lack of affection. I felt ugly and disgusting and like I was just an emotional tampon."
"I would never do it again. In therapy, I learned a lot about the reasons I did what I did and in all honesty, if she would even entertain the idea of trying again, I’d spend every day making up for it and making sure she felt more love then can be imagined."
"I’m currently fulfilling into the man I know I can be. I just wish it took a more positive trigger in order to start that for me."
Let's end it -- the article, that is -- on a lighter note.
The Worst Kind of Cheating
"My wife wasn’t around. The house was empty."
"I couldn’t wait for her to get home, so I watched the next episode without her knowing."
"Honey, if you’re reading this… I’m so sorry."
"You're a monster."
It's so hard to imagine what's going on inside someone else's head or why they might choose to do the things that they do, especially if it's something we don't agree with.
It's at least heartening to see that many of these Redditors used these experiences as learning opportunities and have since gone on to treat the most treasured people in their lives a little differently.
Making yourself feel at home takes work but not as much as you think.
Homeowners, for example, are apprehensive about renovations because of how much costs.
Even tenants renting a home can feel like they're stuck in a situation where they don't feel comfortable because of minor inconveniences they think requires major solutions to fix.
Cut to this Reddit thread, where the ideas for affordable home improvement options were shared that may make you wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Curious to hear some tips from strangers online, Redditor Super_dupa2 asked:
"What small upgrade made a huge difference at your house?"
We tend to overcomplicate things when solutions can be simplified.
"Methodically buying phone chargers with long enough cables to not have to ever move one again."
"I am a pretty mellow dad (benign neglect parenting style for 5 kids) but I have two rules. Nobody messes with my bedside charger and nobody steals my two pillows."
"So, as such, I make many, long chargers available for everybody. It costs me a fortune:)"
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
"Blackout curtains for sleeping. Such a game changer."
"And they keeps my bedroom cooler."
"Insulated blackout curtains make a 10f difference in my living room on hot days."
A Cool Idea
"Attic heat exhaust fan. Our attic used to get up to 140F on the hottest days, and on those days our ceilings were hot to the touch. The whole house was consequently uncomfortable. Now the attic fan is thermostatically controlled to 90 degrees, and the whole house is cooler."
"I added a passive whirly bird that does the same thing. Heat rises and escapes before it can accumulate to those extreme levels. It also happens to be clear acrylic so now there's always light up there too which helps keep away any vermin.
No major bathroom renovations are required to make tenants happy.
No More Slamming
"Soft close cabinets and toilet seats."
"We have a soft close toilet seat at our home and every time I'm at a hotel, I completely forget that they aren't usually soft close and the slam startles me 😂"
Nozzle Upgrades Can Do The Trick
"A better shower. If you can't redo the whole bathroom, just replace the head. This also works if you rent, just keep the old one in a box, so you can bring the nice one to your next house."
"I'm a renter and I finally installed a better shower head this year, after just using the default head in all my apartments for almost 20 years. 10/10, highly recommend."
Perfect Welcoming Gesture
"My wife and I own a smallish apartment complex . One of the things we do every time a new tenant arrives is replace the toilet seat. I learned that trick from my parents who had about a dozen single-family rentals. It's amazing the goodwill you receive from a tenant simplify giving them a new toilet seat. We actually put the box behind the toilet so they know it's new."
"Smart outlets for Christmas lights, both inside and outside. I have them scheduled to turn on at sunset and turn off at midnight."
"Smart outlets are one of my favorite purchases. During Halloween and Christmas, we’re using multiple outlets for inflatables, house lights, and tree lights. The smart outlets allow you to have everything synced so they all turn in at the same time."
Things Are Looking Bright
"Replaced dated lighting fixtures - fixtures are now properly grounded, the interior looks more updated, and there is more/better light."
Energy Conservation Option
"Motion activated light switch for the laundry room. Never have to worry about turning off the light when leaving with an arm full of clothing."
Creating an environment can make a huge difference.
Source Lighting For The Win
"Lighting can absolutely make a huge difference in the way you feel in your room. Get some shoulder height (when you are sitting) lamps for your living room. You will notice a shift in how much more relaxed you feel when you use those instead of the overheads."
Home Art Gallery
"Spending a day mounting my artwork. It felt so much more like my home after that."
"Every time I've moved, I put that off for way too long, then finally break down and do it and the house feels so much better to be in."
One major upgrade was our VE hybrid tech water boiler and warmer we got from Japan.
The Zojirushi kitchen appliance uses VE, or vacuum electric, technology for very minimal electricity to maintain the water temperature at a constant 195° so we always have hot water at the touch of a button.
There's no more time wasted boiling hot water over the stove every time we want tea or the occasional instant cup noodles.