The kindness of strangers is a rare and valuable thing. From a young age, we are taught to fear and mistrust strangers, so when someone goes out of their own way to help us, it is magic.
Here were some of the answers.
Got into a pretty bad car wreck when I was 19 and was alone and scared. The cop dropped me off at a gas station so I didn't have to wait for my parents to come get me on the side of the interstate.
A kind lady came over and asked me if I was alright. She gave me directions and drew me a map to the local tow yard (I had the tow yard name and street from the cop). She helped me calm down and gave me water and waited close to an hour until my parents picked me up.
I'll never forget her kindness. I think of her often and I hope she remembers what she did helped so much in my time of shock.
Small Yet Kind
Years ago I was at Walmart buying a lunchbox and a bunch yogurt for my kid and my debit card didn't work. It was about $30 and the lady behind me pulled out cash and paid for my groceries. I tried to thank her, ask her name, or give her the little bit of cash from my wallet. She wouldn't hear any of it and sent me on my way.
I try to "pay her back" by doing random acts of kindness for people when they least expect it, but definitely need it.
The Man In The Chippy
I was on my way home from a party and my phone had died, it was late, dark out and there was a very heavy rainfall. I missed my turning (roadworks and couldn't for the life of me see anything) so I figured if I keep in the same direction I'll find my way again.
Wrong. I had drove about an hour in the wrong direction down all these small country lanes trying to find a slip road to the motorway. Starting to panic I pulled into the first open shop I saw which happened to be a fish and chip shop and asked the ladies if they could point me in the direction of my hometown. They hadn't even heard of it, major bad sign right there and similarly I hadn't heard of the small village in which I found myself completely lost.
There was a man in the chippy buying his tea who had overheard my conversation and took pity on my plight and tried to draw me a map but the route was complicated and said it best if he took me as it was a short cut and would very likely get lost on my own, it was only a 10 minute journey and he really didn't mind.
So I was following him in my car down all these small country lanes in the pitch black and the 10 minutes passed and then another, and another, 30 minutes in and he indicates to pull into a garage. He must have sensed that I would be scared as he approached my car cautiously and kept a distance and told me to take the next left onto the motorway and I would know my way from there. I didn't get much of a chance to thank him because I was feeling quite scared and emotional. But truth to word he had drove me right to the motorway slip way.
The next day, overwhelmed and grateful I tried to track him down so I retraced my steps on google maps until I found the chip shop and googled their number. I recounted my story to the owner and they had remembered me. I said I was trying to track him down to thank him and asked if I could leave some money with them to pay for his next meal but they said he wasn't a regular customer and they didn't know who he was but that they had gave him a free meal when he returned.
So this kind hearted stranger drove an hour out of his way just so that I could get home ... his kindness is something that will stick with me forever.
A Little Life
I was crying alone in the park at night because I just got back from dinner with my estranged dad that I now see maybe once a year. It was really hard seeing him again and as I was sitting on the curb crying, someone approached me and said: "Look I know it's weird because I'm a stranger but you look like you need a hug" Got the hug and she actually had a really good pep-talk about family and absent fathers. Never even got her name but I gained back all my trust for humanity that day.
Four months ago, I got the call at work that "something was wrong," with my stepdad, who raised me. Walked outside to follow up, as nobody would give me details while I was at work. Found out he had killed himself. I fell onto the sidewalk and sobbed and sobbed. Honestly I barely remember it, besides the feeling of being unable to breathe or move. What I do remember is a beautiful stranger picking me up off the sidewalk and half carrying/half walking me back into the building so I could get myself together and collect my things so I could go home. It turns out she works in my building (there's probably close to a thousand people, and we work in different departments, plus I'd only been there 5 weeks, so we'd never met before), so I eventually found out her name and wrote her a thank you note, but no note will ever adequately express how grateful I am that she picked me up off the sidewalk that day.
My camera bag (my wallet was in it, too) fell out of the back of my SUV when the trunk didn't latch properly as we were leaving the Cape May, NJ beach. In the camera was the SD card with the only copies of the last photos of my son and my stepdad when he visited for my son's second birthday 6 weeks before his death. A stranger returned it to the police station with free boardwalk tram passes and a little note.
My stepdad was one of the kindest, most compassionate, and generous people in the world. These experiences at least made me feel like there are still people out there will a soul like his.
My family had a tradition of spending Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family, and Christmas Day with my moms. For quite a few of the Christmas eve parties, a man I didn't know would wander around with a old camcorder, and talk to people. He was a friend of other people in the family, but I had no idea who it was. Several years later, after both my mother and grandmother had passed away, he handed us all a copy on DVD of his Christmas videos, edited together as a thank you for inviting him every year. It was about the nicest gift I've ever gotten, as it's the only video footage I have of them left, and it was from a total stranger.
A Bike, A Bike!
When I was about 7 we went to a police bike auction to try and find me a bike, since I hadn't learned how to ride one yet. I found a really cool red bike with flames and even training wheels already on it; I was totally obsessed from first sight.
But my mom then had to explain to me that it was too expensive ($50) and she couldn't get it for me. I was pretty upset, crying and not understanding why I couldn't have this great bike. That's when a random stranger who'd overheard came up and told my mother he'd buy that bike for me.
I didn't really understand what he'd done at the time, I was just ecstatic that I got my bike. But I still think about it; how that guy just bought a crying kid a bike out of the kindness of his heart, expecting nothing in return.
Now that I'm older with a steady job, I'd like to get a kid a bike like that, given the chance.
My first job was in a little coffee shop. I was 16 and doing my best to support my little brother and mother. Times were tough, very tough. Anyway there was a baker that used to work next door to my coffee shop. He'd come in and always say, "Ya need a new pair of shoes, kid." He was right, I did need new shoes. I'd just agree with him, too embarrassed to say I could not afford them. This went on for about a month. Then one day, I come into work and my coworker tells me someone dropped something off for me that morning.
There's 2 boxes sitting in the back for me. In one box is a new pair of shoes. The other box has assorted pastries. There's an eclair in there with special wrapping and a note that says: 'don't share this one.' Well, as it turns out, the filling of that eclair was cash. $500 and another note that said, "Please get rid of those ratty shoes. Keep your head up and pay it forward when you're older." I used that 500 to pay rent that month. We would have been evicted otherwise. And I kept those shoes well into my late 20s.
None Left Behind
I hitchhiked around the country (USA) this past summer. I got out of a 4 day backpacking trip in the Tetons in Wyoming and hitched a ride with a couple who were living in their van. They fed me tons of fresh fruit, and when they dropped me off, I realized I had left my phone in there van! I was devastated. I was alone in the middle of nowhere with no phone. 30 minutes later the same couple pulls up and the woman gets out and hands me my phone. I felt like crying and gave her a huge hug.
They had drove off for about 15 miles and realized I left my phone and drove back to give it to me. Hearts of Gold indeed.
Pay It Forward
Was driving on the highway with my family when the car broke down. A stranger pulled in behind us almost immediately. I was looking at the engine when he pulled up and asked if I needed help. I asked if he could give me a ride into town so I could arrange for a tow (this was pre-cell phones). He suggested we might get the car running again and asked me to get in it and try to start it. After a few minutes of troubleshooting he said he thought it was the fuel pump--a known issue with that particular engine. He said there was a parts store just a few miles up the road that probably had a fuel pump on the shelf. He offered to drive me over to check.
I said even if they had a pump I didn't have the tools to replace it. He said he had a set of tools in his trunk. I looked at the wife, and she said to go ahead (she had an equalizer made by S&W in her purse). So off we went to the parts store. Sure enough, they had one in stock. Back we went to the car, and replaced the pump right there on the side of the road. 45 minutes after the car had died we were headed down the road. I couldn't get the guy to even let us buy him lunch.
Now I pull over and offer to help anytime I see someone sitting in a car by the side of the road.
History is full of infamous disasters one can't imagine experiencing in their lifetimes.
The same can probably be said of our ancestors if they became privy to some of the horrific events that have occurred in our modern era.
Which are the most frightening?
That is exactly what Redditor dat_b_o_i asked strangers on the internet in the subReddit titled:
"What is an terrifying historical fact that you know?"
Remnants from the past still pose risks.
"There is a missing hydrogen bomb somewhere off the beach where my family vacations..."
"Tybee Island AKA Savannah Beach"
'The Tybee Island mid-air collision was an incident on February 5, 1958, in which the United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, United States. During a practice exercise, an F-86 fighter plane collided with the B-47 bomber carrying the bomb. To protect the aircrew from a possible detonation in the event of a crash, the bomb was jettisoned. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island.'
"when the USSR collapsed, multiple nuclear weapons and boxes full of vials of smallpox were lost."
– User Deleted
Nuclear Weapons Gaffe
"Since 1950, there have been 32 'Broken Arrow' incidents, out of which 6 of these warheads were not recovered or accounted for. It remains unknown how many such incidents the Soviet Union had."
"Sleep well tonight, my friends."
These fascinating historical facts might be unfamiliar to most people.
"The dancing plague of 1518, or dance epidemic of 1518, was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (modern-day France), in the Holy Roman Empire from July 1518 to September 1518. Somewhere between 50 and 400 people took to dancing for weeks."
Kids In Battle
"during the paraguayan war, paraguay sent 3500 poorly armed children between 9 to 15 yo, wounded soldiers and old men to face brazilian army (20 thousand men), because most of paraguayan combatants were killed. the date of this battle is now children's day in Paraguay."
The Next Step Could Be Your Last
"Near Mt St Helens, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and before the volcano erupted in 1980, there were areas where you were not allowed off the footpaths. This was because Douglas Firs, which can reach 200ft, were buried in ash in prior eruptions, then rotted away. So you could step on a relatively thin layer of old ash, break through, and fall any number of feet into what amounted to a crevasse or a well."
The following examples depicted some of the most disturbing ways people have perished.
"A lot of sailors survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but were trapped in their sunken ships. There was no way to rescue them. People had to listen helplessly to the men banging on the inside of the hulls for days until they gradually went quiet."
"Humanity's Greatest Horrors"
"I went to the Killing Fields and was depressed beyond belief but also became intensely aware of the significance of being at the site of one of humanity's greatest horrors."
Ominously Beautiful Locale
"This reminds me very much of the suicide cliffs in Saipan. Wild story. Basically during World War Two, Saipan was occupied by the Japanese. When word got out that the United States army was coming to the island the Japanese soldiers began telling everyone that Americans will come eat them."
"The people of Saipan and Japanese living there started to throw themselves off these cliffs with their children and families. I forget the exact number but it was a massive amount of people."
"Here is a link"
"While I was working in Saipan it was a crazy place to be. There is a wall with a ton of names on it as a memorial to those who died. Incredibly beautiful scenery with just a horrible past."
"in the warsaw ghettos they would pile up body’s of people that might have not even been dead. someone who collapsed could have been tossed to the side and be covered with other bodies, slowly crushing them and suffocating them. until they did actually die."
The thread was full of some of the most frightening events in history that still haunts many people today.
These appalling and horrific events reinforce the significance of why we should learn from our past so as to never experience what previous generations have suffered.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Fame is one of those things people tend to want until they have it - or that people shy away from entirely because they understand how sideways it tends to go.
But what about people who end up famous after their deaths? Or who managed to get more famous from the afterlife?
Reddit user GCanuck asked:
"Which historically famous person do you think would be most surprised to learn they are famous?"
If your mind immediately went to that Vincent Van Gogh scene from Dr. Who then 1. you're a nerd (me too!) and 2. you're not alone.
Here's what Reddit had to say.
The Little Painter FellowVan Gogh Reaction GIF by GIF IT UPGiphy
"Vincent van Gogh."
"His paintings made billions of dollars for rich people, but couldn't trade a painting for a meal during his lifetime. Had to be supported by his brother."
"It’s amazing how many pieces he created in such a short time considering how unsuccessful he was in selling them while alive. He kept banging them out despite his 'failure'.”
"He was encouraged to paint as part of his therapy/rehabilitation. He was a pretty disturbed guy, and not in a romantic way."
"Have you ever seen the Doctor Who episode about him?"
"This is what actually prompted this question for me."
"Most of the world has read your diary."
"Wait...All of my diary?"
"Her Father censored some of it because she talks about her body and other things, I can't really blame him for that. Modern prints are uncensored."
"She’d have been thrilled, but I don’t think surprised is the right word. She dreamed of being a published author. She knew that she was creating something valuable and important with her diary, and she wanted it to be published."
"I wonder what she'd think of her diary being turned into a stage play including a Broadway run and thousands of young girls doing their best to recreate all the different facets both good and bad of how she acted during her time in the Annex."
Herman The Whalebart simpson episode 3 GIFGiphy
"He had a few early successes with seafaring books, but Moby-Dick was a total flop that got bad reviews, and he spent the final decades of his life working in the customs department."
"He would be shocked to hear he wrote the Great American Novel."
"My boyfriend is from New Bedford, MA. Apparently the local high schools there had big murals depicting scenes from Moby Dick." "
*That* would have amazed Melville."
"Dude, that's the best part. You never know what's coming next. It's like:"
"45 pages of unintentionally hilarious interactions between Ishmael and Queequeg."
"30 pages of incredible, brooding drama written in stage play format for some reason."
"100 page essay about some minor technical details about whaling and how some village built their chieftain's hall out of a whale's ribcage."
"Another 20 pages of Ahab chewing the scenery and embodying mankind's self-destructive obsessions"
"Then Queequeg speaking his last words but then deciding he doesn't want to die yet and miraculously springing back to life."
"Like the ocean itself, you have to accept that Moby Dick moves at its own pace lol"
We, In Fact, Did Not Forget
"Hegelochus, an actor who mispronounced a word in a play in the year 408 BC and was mocked so thoroughly for it, his mistake has made it into the collective ledger of things historians know about and generally agree upon having happened… and we're still aware of it over 2,400 years later."
"Imagine making a meme today with a word misspelled, and others found that misspelling so egregiously mockable that you are still known for it in the year 4422."
" 'Oh come on get over it. No one will remember about that by tomorrow' -Hehelochus’ mom probably"
"He must have went to sleep running the moment in his head over and over again, but he probably tried to comfort himself by thinking, 'well, at least it's not like some space-age hyper-futuristic society is going to be discussing this thousands of years from now on their magic boxes powered by lightning in some language that doesn't even exist yet'."
"This is the worst nightmare of everyone that has been told to stop worrying because no one will pay as much attention to what you're doing as you."
"Counter point: Hegelochus."
"Kafka. Rarely published in his lifetime, and when he did it was in obscure magazines which nobody read."
"Explicitly asked that his works be destroyed after his death. It's only because his executor disregarded his wishes and published his unfinished works (which comprise the majority of his oeuvre) that he is famous today."
"Kafka is a good example of how much can anxiety ruin a person's life"
"Kafka wrote his stories to be shared with a group of friends like story-telling at a campfire"
"Blind Willie Johnson."
"He passed away blind, poor and sick, lying in the ruins of his house after it was burnt down."
"And his song 'Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground' left our solar system not too long ago aboard the Voyager to be listened to by life among the stars."
"I really like to think one day-thousands and thousands of years in the future, an alien race will find that golden disk and hear his voice."
"I think the fact he had such a poor life but could one day live eternally amongst the stars is so beautiful."
"Found out about him through a VSauce video."
"I listened to a couple songs and really liked them, he had a great voice and had a great talent for playing guitar despite being blind. Such a humbling and inspiring story he had"
"I remember learning about this in a Vsauce video and crying profusely afterwards, but not only from sadness, also from hope, and some other emotions I can’t possibly describe."
"The fact that he died at the lowest of lows, blind, sick, poor, and alone, yet he very well could be the man that teaches the stars about the very essence of humanity… there’s just something so intrinsically beautiful about that."
"Humanity, flawed as it is, is as intrinsically kind and beautiful as it is evil. The world forgets that sometimes."
Other Madonnamona lisa oh no you didnt GIFGiphy
"Lisa Gherardini, the Mona Lisa model."
"She was just some unremarkable random wife. Fast forward a few hundred years and she ended up as one of the most recognizable faces in history."
"HER NAMES NOT EVEN MONA LISA?!"
" 'Monna' was a shortening of the Italian word 'madonna', which was the equivalent of the English 'Madam'."
Honor Well Pass Death
"This is the dead body they used in Operation Mincemeat."
"The man basically consumed rat poison to commit suicide."
"His corpse was then used for a British secret operation to carry fake documents for the Nazis to find in order to make them think they were invading Greece and not Sicily."
"This man died in a alleyway and went on the become a dedicated Major in the British military buried with full military rites - under his fake name, but still him in physical form."
"He was originally buried under his covert identity (in Spain where his body washed ashore after being deposited in the sea nearby by a Royal Navy submarine), Major William Martin of the Royal Marines."
"In 2009 or thereabouts his real name (Glyndwr Michael) was added to his gravestone."
"I thought he died of tuberculosis so it’d be more convincing he was a British serviceman who drowned? Or maybe that was the guy used to make the Nazis think the Allies were invading Calais instead of Normandy."
"It was rat poison but it's not clear if it was a suicide."
"The poison was in the form of a paste that would be smeared on pieces of bread; rodents eat the bread, rodents die. Or in this case; poor Welshman eats the bread, poor Welshman dies."
"It's not clear whether he knew the paste was poison, or whether he was just hungry and thought he genuinely found some bread lying around."
"Where the confusion comes in is that the guy in charge of Mincemeat claimed the body was that of a young man who died of pneumonia, and that the parents had given permission for his body to be used as it was."
A Real Hero
"A literal hero of humanity who in some ways is still alive."
"Her family deserved so much better though."
"Can I get a short version? I don't think I've heard of her before"
"Her contribution to science is and continues to be gigantic"
Laws Of Inheritance
"Gregor Mendel, the monk and scientist who experimented with pea plant traits to describe what we today literally call Mendelian inheritance."
"The significance of Mendel's findings, which he published in 1866, went almost completely unrecognized during his life and after his death. His work was only rediscovered in the early 1900s when modern ideas about inheritance and selection started taking hold."
"I can differ there. When he first stated his theory, he was sure it was correct (as it was) but was rejected. I can imagine him not being surprised at the fact that his work was re recognised as right later down the line"
"It's entirely possible you're correct and Mendel suspected that someday he'd be proved right. At the same time, however, he spent decades after his discovery trying and failing to elicit interest from the academic public or individual biologists, and retired from science to become a monastery administrator, which looks a lot like 'giving up'."
Okay, so we learned some interesting history today. How about you?
Don't you love a good myth?
Let's put some of NSFW ones to the test.
RedditorWizzlyG33wanted to hear about what lies need to be exposed when it comes to sex, death and all things over the top in life. They asked:
"If MythBusters had a NSFW episode, what would you want to see on it?"
Oh JamieSeason 1 Love GIF by OutlanderGiphy
"A five second segment where Jamie points at a diagram and says, in complete deadpan, 'This is where the clitoris is.'"
"If they did such an episode, I could see this being in it for sure."
"I want them to purchase every pill they see on the internet that would make their penis bigger and see what happens."
"I think we can call that one BUSTED already. In what version of any world can you imagine there is a simple pill to make your junk more impressive and every dude you know doesn't already have a case of 10000 pills stashed under the bed?"
"Can you actually get an STD from a toilet seat?"
"This is an interesting thing actually. It was a myth deliberately perpetuated to make people less ashamed of asking for STD tests."
"Fun fact: There are multiple STDs that can be dormant (like inactive) for years. Like several years."
"You’d never know you had gotten it. Then something triggers it, maybe an infection or something, and then you start showing symptoms/Can now test positive. So technically a partner from years before could have given it to you and you either think your SO is cheating or haven’t been with anybody in a long time. Either way it’s scary when you think about it."
"Does a person really stay conscious for a few moments after beheading?"
"There was a French physician who tested this in the early 1900s. After a criminal was beheaded he picked up the head and shouted the criminal's name. The guy opened his eyes and made eye contact with the physician over a period of 30 seconds whenever his name was called. Edit: I provided the source in other comments but here it is on the original comment."
Theorieslooking down homer simpson GIFGiphy
"Size correlates to what? Feet? Nose? So many theories."
"I have size 12 feet and a massive nose and huge hands and the little guy is small."
Oh the lies and the rumors and the shade.
More is MoreSeth Meyers Dancing GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"They did prove that women with larger breasts will get more tips. Which isn’t really not safe for work, because Kari literally was working at a coffee shop."
"If breast enlargements will help your job would you be able to write them off on your taxes?"
"How deep underwater are you still able to orgasm?"
"Pretty sure there's no lower limit. When you're underwater, your body is under pressure, but for the most part doesn't actually get compressed. Only your air spaces (lungs, sinuses, inner ears) are really subject to compression from ambient water pressure. There can be painful exceptions like air pockets inside a tooth filling, which I do not recommend experiencing."
"Most of your body is water or various solids, which push back on the ambient water pressure. You prostate shouldn't be blocked by water pressure any more than your bladder is. Source: am old scuba diver, I've done all kinds of things a hundred feet underwater. At that depth the ambient pressure is 4 bar, which in olden-tymes units is nearly 60 pounds per square inch. Also: fish do it underwater, doesn't seem to stop them."
"Does pineapple make your semen taste better?"
"Post orgasm clarity: How much better can you solve puzzles or remember something?"
"Well, recently I did a lot of reaction time tests on humanbenchmark.com and while normally I get average of around 140-145, after a good O I consistently got around 130-135, very often getting single clicks close to 120 which almost never happens in other cases. And it's weird because I feel more tired but apparently my reaction time improves for some reason."
Safety FirstSafety Helmet GIF by Just SecondsGiphy
"A take on the top ten OSHA violations list to see if they are as dangerous as they say."
"Safety regulations are written in blood."
Well that is a ton of great suggestions. Let's work on it.
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Many people value solitude, and having time to themselves.
For others though, loneliness can be a crippling feeling.
Having no one to talk to or spend time with can get wearying after an extended amount of time.
Something many people know more than ever after the global pandemic hit in spring of 2020.
But while some people simply succumb to being lonely, others will find ways to help them cope with, if not completely forget, being all alone.
Redditor No_Blackberry_6286 was curious to hear the different ways people have of coping with their loneliness, leading them to ask:
"Reddit, how do you cope with loneliness?"
Make the most with what makes you happy
"I've learned to enjoy my own company and focus on my hobbies."
"Funny enough, this gives me stuff to talk about when I am around people."
Voices in the background
"Listening to people talk on YouTube so I feel less alone in my house."
Millions of friends, just one click away.
"Chat with random people on Reddit."internet computer GIFGiphy
Still figuring it out
"I don't I'm f*cking miserable."- Savathunh
"I don't :("- __MashedPotatoes__·
Get my body movin'
"It makes me feel better about myself and I have something to do alone."- DerpBread69Gym Working Out GIF by Chance The RapperGiphy
Who says I need to?
"I love solitude."- Befuddled_GenXer
"I become one with loneliness."- thenewyorkofficesolitude GIFGiphy
Hit the snooze button
"Sleep 12+ hours a day."- RockandRoll682
Instant tension and relief
"Lots of arguing online about sh*t I don't care about at all, just to have some form of social interaction, and get off at least 3 times a day."-
There are very few worse feelings than that of being alone.
But it's also quite remarkable how much doing something that makes you happy, be it ever so simple, can elevate your feelings.