You can see the notices on bulletin boards at grocery stores, at the post office or even on milk cartons.
The images depict people, sometimes even children, who have disappeared.
While we often hear the stories of the people left behind, we only hear the stories of the person who disappeared when the results are worthy of a headline or a movie of the week. But what about all those other people who went missing, but did not stay lost?
Reddit user The_Cool_Lamp asked:
Here are the most interesting accounts from people with firsthand experience being among the missing.
When I was a baby my parents had joint custody of me after the divorce. My mother took me for the weekend and just decided to not give me back. She got in her car with me (five months old), her boyfriend, and whatever she could fit in her car and just drove off. I was missing for three weeks before I was located several towns away, half starved to death and severely neglected. My dad got full custody after that.
I was 7-years-old and at a department store with my mom. I was in the toy section while she shopped when a man grabbed my arm and said "There you are Jessie! Time to go" , and started dragging me by my arm to the exit. I started crying and yelling him to let me go but he just kept saying "No toy today Jessie, let's go". Other shoppers must have thought I was just his bratty Kid, not wanting to leave without a toy. Luckily my mom ran up just as we were at the doors and yelled at him to leave me alone. He said something like "oh, I thought this was my daughter, they look so much alike" and strolled out the exit after letting my arm go.
My mom found an employee and the police were called (this was the mid-80's so no cell phones). They never found the guy.
Munchausen By Proxy
My mother used to lose me on purpose as often as she could. I can't tell you the number of times as a tiny toddler she would take me into a grocery store or somewhere and then send me to look at something so she could just rush off like some sick game. She loved it. She loved the attention she got from employees looking for her, "poor lost baby" she loved watching me cry in terror and then shaming me about it for "making a scene" when we left. I freakin hate that woman.
Rough Part of Academia
I missed the last train home. I told my parents exactly where I was, I was with friends, and I was sixteen years old. My phone ran out of battery, but it was fine because my friends were looking after me.
Crazy mother decided to have the police force comb the whole of Oxford searching for me because if I ever had to spend an hour with people she didn't know then obviously I might DIE.
Well, Oxford is a notoriously dangerous place.
Gangs of academics roam the streets, sniffing out Cambridge graduates.
Better make sure your references are formatted correctly.
You joke, but I once heard that someone was rudely shoved in downtown Oxford late one Saturday night.
Oh my god.... did they not cite their sources?
I hated summer daycare, so I hid behind a tree after my dad dropped me off and then walked home. It was only about a 20 minute walk. When they realized I was supposed to be there but had never showed up, they called campus security to report a missing kid. My dad said that I didn't know the way home, so he didn't go to check if I was there. I sat in my bedroom for hours worried about when I'd get busted.
When I was 8, I was at the mall with my mom, aunt and little sister. Me and my little sister needed to go the bathroom so my mom leaves our aunt in the store to take us both to the bathroom. Me being the smart ass little kid that I was claimed I knew where the bathroom was so I decided to run ahead.
I turned through the food court to where I could've sworn the bathroom was but there was nothing but lockers. So I double back and try to find my mom and admit defeat acknowledging that I don't know where the bathroom is. But I couldn't find her. I wandered around the food court looking for her and couldn't find her or my little sister.
So I decided to go back to the store my aunt was in and tell her I got lost, thing is I couldn't remember which store she was in. I entered the store I thought I remembered us leaving (which turns out it was the right store but my aunt was in the change room) couldn't find her and decided to go back up to the food court.
So I'm crying going up the escalator and this man sees me and asks me if I'm ok. I told him I lost my mom and he took me to a store and said they would help me find my mom. They called her over the intercom while the man took me to take the piss I had been holding in for a while. When I finally found my mom she was in tears crying say she called the cops thinking someone had kidnapped me.
Now that I think about it I got very lucky finding such a nice guy to help me.
Neither of my parents were able to come to my softball game so my teenaged sister was in charge of walking 8-year-old me home after the game. At some point she took our younger brother across the street to the playground for a bit. When she finally glanced over at the field, she realized the game was over and no one was there. She took our brother home, hoping I'd slipped past them and walked home. No luck.
After checking with my best friend down the block and sending my older brothers out to double check the route between the field and home, my sister called our mother at work and admitted she'd lost me.
Mom calmly replied, "If she's not at the field she's with your dad."
Good call, Mom. When the game ended and everyone else left, I knew I wasn't supposed to walk home alone, so I crossed the street on the other side of the field and headed to our church where I knew Dad was helping set up for a fundraiser. Dad had me sit out of the way until he finished setting up, took me home about an hour after my game had ended.
My sister was still in a panic when we strolled through the front door.
Every year in elementary school we had a school carnival. Little games for the kids to win prizes, a cakewalk, etc. One year my mom brought me to the carnival but had to leave halfway through. No biggie-- my friend's mom was volunteering there and was going to watch over me and my dad was supposed to come pick me up. Mom leaves, friend and I go off exploring and playing carnival games. A while later my dad came by and I left with him. But I never told friend's mom goodbye, or that my dad was there to get me. I still think she overreacted because she knew my dad was coming to get me, but from her perspective I just disappeared.
Dad and I had a lovely afternoon. We went and got lunch and then bought a kite and then went to the park and flew it. When we got back to the house there were police cars everywhere and my mom was straight-up panicking. Friend's mom had found friend, but not me, and friend claimed she didn't know where I'd gone. Cue frantic searching through the carnival and school grounds, calls to police, searches in the nearby parks and neighborhoods...
Obviously I was fine. Mom was pissed.
I was 9 and back then it was normal for kids that age to roam around the neighborhood. I decided, for some reason, to walk to my sister's house, 3.2 miles away.
My mom realized I'd been gone a while and couldn't find me at my usual haunts, so she called the police and reported me missing. The last time she saw me I had no shirt on so the cops were looking for a little boy with no shirt, probably drove right past me because I had put a shirt on.
My mom was very relieved when my sister called to say "Guess who just showed up?"
All Sly Stallone's Fault
My mom had a Kmart (remember those) locked down because she thought someone kidnapped me.
I was about 10 years old and my mom and I went to a Kmart. I loved going to the electronics section because I could look at all the video games, movies, etc. They also usually had some kind of movie playing on all the TVs they had up on the wall. I could easily spend an hour or more there reading the backs of all the video game boxes (remember when PC games had big boxes), VHS boxes, etc.
My mom and I split up as she wanted to go look at shoes and naturally I preferred to look at video games. The departments were right next to each other so we weren't far from one another.
At the time, the film Judge Dredd had just come out on VHS and they had it playing on their display TVs. I loved those kinds of movies so I decided to just sit back and watch it, leaning up against one of the aisles.
I don't know how long I was there, it had to be at least an hour. Eventually a store employee came by and said, "Excuse me, do you know where your mom is?" and I was like, "Yeah, she's over in the shoe department". I had no idea anything was going on at this point. She looked at me weird and said, "I think you should come with me. She's looking for you." I was like okay, whatever.
This may set off red flags but she had on the Kmart attire and didn't feel threatening.
I followed her to the front of the store and find my mom there bawling her eyes out and she runs up and hugs me. I'm thinking like, what the hell is going on? So turns out my mom finished looking at shoes and came into the electronics department calling my name. But since I was so enthralled with the movie, I didn't hear her. So she figured I must have gone to a different area or maybe went looking for her, etc. But she obviously didn't find me so she started to panic, went to the front desk or whatever, and told them her son was missing.
So they locked the doors and started calling my name over the PA system and sending employees looking for me. But again I didn't hear it because I was too focused on the movie. They had employees look in the electronics department since that was where I told my mom I'd be, but they only looked down the aisles, no one actually went down the aisles and looked to see if there was someone on the other side of the aisle (remember I was leaning up against it, so looking down the aisle it appeared empty). Eventually someone did and that's when the woman found me.
Thanks Judge Dredd.
The Wrong Way To Teach
When I was like 6 I was playing with my friend on the playground at a crowded town event and her mom came over and introduced herself and asked if I wanted to come over their house to play. She said she already talked to my mom who said it was ok. Me and my friend were like, sure cool. Turns out the woman was a psycho and had kidnapped me to teach me a lesson about strangers. She called my panicking mom to come pick me up and she gave my mom a lecture. I thought my mom would be mad at me, but she wasn't. We both went home totally confused. Looking back, that woman should have been arrested.
I Told You So
As a teenager, my folks decreed I did not need a mobile phone.
I was working at a local theme park, got nauseated at work and threw up a few times, so my boss sent me home. By the time I was about halfway home I was feeling a lot better, so I stopped by a local mall, got my ears double-pierced, went to the big library downtown to get some stuff I needed for a report and then went to the gym and worked out for a few hours.
When I got home my parents were freaking out. Turns out they had called my work about 30 min. after I left. Somebody told them, "Oh, she got really sick, she went home." They'd been in solid freakout mode for more than 7 hours, the police were involved, etc.
Guess who got a phone for Christmas?
"Kidnapped" By The CIA
On 9/11 my husband and I were stuck in Italy for 4 days. I immediately called my mom to let her know we were OK & not on one of the planes. I did not call again and apparently that was mistake because she called the freakin' STATE DEPARTMENT 2 days later and told them that the CIA had kidnapped us because my husband is Middle Eastern and a pilot.
We were interviewed by the FBI once we finally got home.
Extremely Not Chill
A friend of mine left me at an apartment with some of her friends so she could go do laundry. I'd hung out with them in passing now and then, so i thought it would be chill.
Oh ho hooo, I was wrong.
I don't know how many of y'all have heard of datura, but it's a serious hallucinogenic herb from the belladonna family. As in, closely related to deadly nightshade. Allegedly, when it's concentrated into a tea, you're supposed to have a 1:1 of water to tea in a shot glass.
I asked for something to drink. At first, they offered a beer. I asked for something hydrating. "Okay, let me get you some tea!" You'd think someone would mention it wasn't uh. Not regular tea. A full glass, undiluted.
Suddenly, i was in different places every second. Speaking with people who weren't there, smoking phantom cigarettes, drinking phantom water, i made "rice and beans" with vanilla and salt.
This went on for three days.
I found out years later through an acquaintance who'd known us both that for those days, they'd keep giving me more while telling me it was kool-aid. (Spoiler: it was not kool-aid) He also mentioned they took a lot of videos. I have no idea what they recorded or what really happened to me while i was there. Frankly, i don't want to. Eventually the one woman of the group (they were all 10-20 years older than i was) let me sober up and brought me to the bus stop.
When i got home, my mom told me there was an Amber Alert. I told the police I was staying with a friend who had an abortion and didn't know what to do.
Communication Is Key
I was “kidnapped” when I was 5 years old. I was with my family 2 brothers, 5 sisters, and parents at the jersey shore. My mom asked my dad to take me in to the men’s room since she had too many girls to handle and I was the littlest and was already in my bathing suit.
Anyway this handover did not occur for my dad so I was left crying in front of the changing roooms. About 15-20 minutes later my mom and dad meet on the beach- sans me. My mom freaks out and runs to locate security or police- leaving the rest of my family on the beach.
Luckily she finds a police officer quickly. She tells him about me being missing. He cuts her off and says what was she wearing? My mom responds that I had a blue bathing suit with a big white star and probably still pink leggings.
The police officer turns and runs quickly away without saying a thing to my mom. My mom is thinking “shit- I have to find another police officer.” She goes to the pay phone to call the police- about 20ish minutes later the first police officer returns ands asks my mom to come with her. My mom is terrified. He explains that he saw a child matching my description eating ice cream with an older woman down the boardwalk and did not want to lose time explaining. By the time he got back to where I had been eating ice cream he couldn’t locate me. The police backup had arrived and blocked the parking lot and looked in each car as they were leaving.
They found me with the woman. She explained that she didn’t think parents deserved a kid that they would lose on the beach and so she was taking me home.
The police officer had left me with the other police officers and the woman in custody bc he wanted to convince my mom to press charges.
What surprises me about the story is that my mom felt sorry for the woman, explained that she had just had a band handoff with my dad and told her that she should never do this again bc she would have been devastated to lose me.
My siblings tease me to this day that I would go with any stranger if they just offer me ice cream.
Leaving A Bad Situation
Looks like I'm one of the few that's actually been a missing person. I had been given a ultimatum about leaving home or stopping certain activities I was involved in by my dad and my mum stayed silent thinking I would break. I left, my dad said I'd be back soon, surprise surprise I was able to become self sufficient within 4 days of sleeping on a close friends sofa.
About 2 weeks after I had left home my mum reported me missing and since I was under 18 the police were especially interested, the people I used to go to school with were questioned as to where I might have gone. It alienated a few old friends who couldn't understand why I wouldn't have unconditional love for my parents (the same friends who earlier on had seen my physical scars from my dad and one who had literally been smacked by my dad). Overall the missing report was annoying but I understand most underage people who leave home are at risk blah blah it's good to look for them. Just in my rare circumstance I didn't need help. Never was found either.
Her Name is Mom
I remember getting lost in a store once many years ago as well... I eventually found a very nice stranger who was very determined to reunite me with my mom. He took me to the customer service desk, and the employee there asked me what my mom's name was so he could make an announcement. "Her name is Mom," I said, thinking the guy was a complete idiot for not understanding this.
So the kind stranger suggested the employee doesn't need to know her name. After all, how many mothers in that store could be looking for a lost child at that moment? So the employee gets on the speaker system and asks any mothers in the store who are looking for a lost child to come to the service desk, that I would be waiting there for her.
The man stayed with me until mom came to get me, and she was very thankful towards him. After that incident, she also made sure I learned her and Dad's names, just in case something a bit more serious ever happened to me, and the police ended up needing to hunt them down to reunite us instead of it being as simple as that announcement in the store.
Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide refer to, as defined by Medical News Today, as the "deliberate action taken with the intention of ending a life, in order to relieve persistent suffering." It's a controversial topic. As of 2021, active human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Canada, and Spain. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, the Australian states of Victoria Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
But this issue has many passionate supporters who often know what it's like to care for someone who would have benefited from the practice. They told their stories after Redditor Random2328 asked the online community,
"What are your thoughts on medically assisted death?"
"She was able to go to a place in Switzerland..."
"My grandma was 89 and wasn't dying of anything in particular—she didn't have cancer or dementia or anything—but her memory was slowly failing and her body was generally falling apart from old age and a leg injury from fifty years prior. She had been a widow for fourteen years. She was lonely and in pain all the time and her family lived across the ocean so we couldn't see her as much as we'd want to.
There was nothing actively killing her, but she did NOT want to be alive anymore. She wasn't depressed, just old and in pain and ready to be done.
She was able to go to a place in Switzerland, with all four of her children, and take a pill to end her life while her children sang to her and she looked out at the mountains.
We all got to say goodbye to her and she got to be completely in control of the end of her life. I can only hope that if I am ever in that situation, then the world will be kind enough to let me close my own exit as beautifully and peacefully as my grandma did."
Your grandmother sounds like she was truly blessed. Being able to make that choice––and still have time with her family––no doubt meant the world to her.
"I don't know if I'd have the courage..."
"I just went through this with a good friend in Canada. He had glioblastoma and was given 3-6 months to live. Ultimately he lived for 15 months, but he wanted to be sure he could end his life when things got bad for him, so he made the necessary preparations. I'd long known he'd made these plans. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But as I was caring for him for the last six weeks of his life I got to witness the process firsthand.
Long story a bit shorter: Towards the end, my friend could no longer walk or speak. He could understand everything you said to him, but he couldn't find the words to reply intelligently. In his frustration, he made it clear that he was ready. So we explicitly asked him if he was ready to die. He said yes.
The next day two nurses came to his home. They talked to him and confirmed that he wanted to end his life. So, while sitting in his favorite recliner, they put in an IV. His immediate family and I sat with him. The nurses administered medication that made him fall asleep. Then they administered a second medication that stopped his breathing. In less than 5 minutes he was gone.
I don't know if I'd have the courage to make the decision my friend did, but I didn't experience his suffering. Being present for him as he ended his life has convinced me that having the option to end your life on your own terms is the absolute right thing to do. There's no reason someone should have to continue to suffer when they know all they have to look forward to is more suffering. I'm very grateful that my friend had the option available to him. Had he been in my state in the U.S. that wouldn't have been possible. But it should be."
"She made the decision to have the procedure done..."
"My grandmother passed away last week with a medically assisted death.
She had cancer that had spread to her brain, and was given a few weeks to a few months to live. From what family members said, she was deteriorating fast.
She made the decision to have the procedure done as she wanted to end her time here with dignity. The appointment was made, doctors consulted, and paperwork drawn up. 10 days later two medical professionals came by her house where she was spending time with her children. It was done quickly and comfortably.
Nana left peacefully on her own accord, in the comfort of her own home, and while she was still more or less herself. It was very strange to have a time and a date looming, but it also allowed me to set aside that time to be alone and hold a small vigil of my own (I'm currently in another country, and couldn't get back)
She lived in Canada, where this service has recently been made more accessible, and I'm all for it. If it helped my Nana, it could help so many others."
It sounds like your Nana was able to have peace––and so do you.
"It should be a right..."
"It should be a right for every human to choose when terminal. We euthanize our pets but not our loved ones. We allow our loved ones to suffer miserably at the end of life. I was a hospice nurse and saw the suffering first hand. It is inhumane to allow that."
Why do we allow it for pets and not for humans? What makes an animal's life worth more than a human's? Shouldn't they both be held in equal regard?
"I have a degenerative brain disease..."
"I have a degenerative brain disease and would very much like to die with some dignity left, so I'm all for it."
No doubt. We're sorry to hear about your struggle.
"I longed for there to be a legal way..."
"We let people die in fear and pain, but not animals. The last 6 months of my mum's life were exactly how she didn't want to live - confused, incontinent, immobile. I longed for there to be a legal way to end her suffering. She made it very clear to me during her life that this was not the way she wanted to go. I'm an RN and should make it clear I've never assisted in ending anyone's life, but I've wanted to. Medically assisted death doesn't mean more death, just less suffering."
"As someone who has..."
"As someone who has stage 4 cancer, I am in favor of having the right to die gracefully."
"If it's good enough..."
"If it's good enough for my dog then it's good enough for me."
It's truly as simple as that. We'd be doing so many human beings a favor.
"If you're not legally allowed..."
"If you're not allowed to legally arrange the end of your own life, is it actually your own life?"
"It was such a blessing..."
"My grandpa had a medically assisted death in 2019. It was such a blessing to my family as we were able to say goodbye, and knew how much time we had left.
Also it was relief from great pain for him, and I'm so glad he was able to make that choice peacefully.
Will forever advocate for it."
It's truly shocking that euthanasia is illegal in many countries––and that it can even carry a jail sentence. It is a complicated issue that polarizes many people from different walks of life.
Where do you stand on this issue? Feel free to tell us in the comments below!
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Privilege is discussed quite a bit these days, and for good reason. So many people are able to live life longer, more peacefully, and freely than others thanks to factors they had no control over.
And yet, there is an element of popularity among the privileges discussed. People acknowledge their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and citizenship status a lot.
That makes sense. Those are massively significant social realities that we need to grapple with constantly.
But there are some other privileges that we don't always think about. There are some things even more basic that not everybody gets to enjoy.
Observing them can make us all feel a bit more grateful.
Redditor Mburns15 asked:
"What is something most people don't realize is a privilege?"
Many called attention to the fact that the physical ability to interact with a majority of public infrastructure isn't a sure thing.
Always Calling Ahead
"Spontaneity in your daily plans. If you're a wheelchair user that's virtually impossible."
"So few places have accessible restrooms, some public transport needs contact 24 hours in advance in order to accommodate you, the list goes on."
"I envy people who can just go with the flow."
"Being able-bodied. So many people are one accident away from being unemployed and don't realize that. Your job will ruin your body - be aware and fight it."
A Silent Struggle
"Not having chronic pain" -- Aggravating_Okra_00
"Having energy to do what you want with your life. Trying to explain to people how exhausting and draining chronic pain can be. Having to explain the concept of energy budgets to people - sure I could come out and do $funthing with you, but then I wouldn't have the energy to cook and clean the house and would be useless at work tomorrow." -- Fraerie
Others chose to point out the very basic necessities that are far from ensured across the world.
To Be Comfortable
"Feeling safe in your own home. Not worrying about rats, mice, roaches, bed bugs, bricks being thrown through windows, violence outside, break ins."
"Privacy. I don't mean digital privacy, I mean a room with solid walls and a door that closes. Lots of people don't have that."
"Having access to water and a sewage system. Also the abundance of food in western super markets is quite frankly insane. Every day I try and spend a moment to reflect on how lucky I am."
"Sanitary products for women! It's different in different parts of the world + economic backgrounds"
And finally, a few people from countries around the world discussed the unique, intense struggles of living in a place that isn't embedded in the affluence of the Western world.
"Going about your daily life without seriously worrying about your physical safety. Sleeping at night without worrying about whether a bomb is going to come through your roof."
Not a Given
"Having the ability to express an opinion. Free speech is very censored in a lot of the world." -- BananaLCG
"Criticizing your own government." -- ipf000
The Ability to Think About Other Things
"Living in a good country, not having to spend your youth worrying about how to immigrate to good countries."
But before you think of this list as a big long guilt trip, imagine a more positive spin on this. There are so many things to feel grateful for, even when it seems like everything is working against you.
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The law is a fickle mistress, and it varies from state to state and county to county sometimes. And then there is the blatant hypocrisy of it all.
There are some things that feel like they should be allowed to pass but you get scolded for, like jaywalking, and then there are things like actual robbery in broad daylight, like telemarketers and nothing happens to them.
Make it make sense. It's like taxes, the wealthy know loopholes and the poor go to jail. Shameful.
Redditor u/Xanduh wanted everyone to chat about legal life fails by asking:
What do you wish was illegal?
I try my best to follow the law. And Lord knows how well I'm doing. There are so many obscure laws for ridiculous things, yet, scamming people of their life savings is a free pass. I'm confused... apparently, so are many others...
Save a Lifedrag race drugs GIFGiphy
"Hiking up prices of life saving medications. (Insulin, epi-pens, etc.)".
The Hands of Time
"Advertisement like "anti-aging" is absolutely preposterous."
"I would love to see a massive class action lawsuit against any skincare that proposes "anti-aging". Watch a judge rule in the plaintiff's favor citing that the products did not actually turn back time."
"Your credit score goes down because you cancelled a credit card."
"You want to have multiple lines of credit that you're responsible with, preferably for a long period of time, because it proves you're a reliable borrower. If you have no debt, it's almost like you've not established credit at all. Your score goes up the more lines of credit you have. It's bonkers. Someone more financially literate than me could probably explain better, though."
The DevilKate Mckinnon Snl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
"Hi, I'm X. We're trying to reach you regarding your car's extended warranty."
I'm at the end of my tether with these car warranty calls. I swear to God... nevermind. And advertisements needs to be more regulated. That is a start at better fixing justice.
Extra $$$Happy Credit Card GIF by HollyoaksGiphy
"Convenience fees for online ticket purchases. Why am I getting charged for saving on paper, ink, and everyone's time?"
"Companies making it really difficult to cancel things. Especially subscriptions. I think the process to subscribe to something to should be exactly the same as the process to cancel it. I'm looking at you spotify."
"Gyms in general. before they started popping up everywhere I was a member at LA fitness."
"Well I moved 2hrs away from the closest one and they wanted me to come in person to cancel, then they wanted me to send in a damn letter. I can signup online, why can't I cancel online?"
No muss, no fuss.
"Printer ink being ridiculously expensive for no reason."
"Buy a laser printer. Here's my oft-told tale of woe: School got out so my kids no longer had homework to print. A month or so later we needed to print a document. Our Kodak injket printer not only refused to print but said we needed to buy a new ($90) print head because the old one had gummed up, because we'd gone too long without printing."
"I went to the local office supply store and bought a Brother laser printer. It scans, it copies, it uses wifi, and most importantly it just works.About twice a year when we need to print something I go and get it out of my garage and bring it into the house, set it on the kitchen counter, plug it in, and print to it."
"It works great - even remembers my wifi settings (SSID and password) from the previous time. No muss, no fuss. If I really want to print something in color I'll use Kinkos. Turns out I literally never need to print in color."
"Using children to monetize your social media channels."
Bot ThievesTheatre GIF by StubHubGiphy
"Bots buying tickets and up-charging the crap out of the price."
Those ticket thieves need to be taken down. No Broadway show is worth $1000! Don't fall for it kids. That mess needs to be cleaned up. There is actual crime happening to the naked eye. Let's focus there.
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While the world is a dark and scary place, there would not be a world, or a human race, without inherent kindness.
Kindness always gives you a little thump to your heart that nothing else can truly provide. A rush of knowing you've made someone's day better. And you may change the trajectory of that person's life because of it.
To hear more of these kindnesses, for inspiration, Redditor slizsarbleh asked:
"What is something you've done purely out of the goodness of your heart, but have never told anyone?"
Here were some of those stories.
One Grieving Heart To Another
"I lost my mom earlier this year and am still working through the grief. The first week a came back my coworkers had gave me a check for several hundred dollars as a kind gesture. I was truly overwhelmed by the generosity."
"The following week I came into the break room to find one of the techs with a lost look on her face. She had just gotten a phone call that her brother had been murdered the night before."
"She had moved to our city just a year prior and didn't have any family close by. As I held her and listened to her cry, I booked her a flight home."
"It was several hundred dollars as she is from a small town and the flight was for later that day. I told her to go be with family and let me know when she was ready to come back. I had no doubt that is exactly what my mom would have wanted me to do."-thatgirlmocha
Taking It For The Team
"I was extremely stressed and took a mental health day, planning on going to mom's and crying myself to sleep. We ended up going to the mall, and even though money was really tight for her, she wanted to buy me lunch (we split the bill)."
"She realized that she lost a newer $50 bill while walking around. She was devastated."
"I traded my smaller bills to a cashier for a newer $50, folded it like she would, and tossed it under the seat of her car. The next day she called me, almost crying because she was excited to find it and said that without it, groceries would've been pretty tight that week."
"Taking me out that day prevented me from having a full breakdown. I think $50 was a small price to pay for what she did for me that day."-SleepsLikeACat
Services For The Poor
"I do IT work, usually small business and a lot of home repair. I have many wealthy clients and a few not so fortunate. It is not unusual for me to go to a home and it is obvious they are barely scraping by."
"So I either don't charge those people, or make it a nominal fee. I also refurb the old PC's and give them to people who have one that is not repairable."
"My best fee ever was a basket of home grown creole tomatoes, damn those things are delicious."-Disposable70
It really does cost nothing to be kind.
Just A Game, But More Than Just A Game
"This isn't as impressive as the comments I've read but this is just something I did recently."
"I'm a member of a Sims group on FB where people talk about the game, expansion packs etc. I noticed a comment by a teenager who said her favourite pack would be Pets but she can't afford it."
"I went onto her page and saw that she really loved horses. I could also tell from her pictures that her mum was disabled and money looked tight."
"I was fortunate enough when I was her age to always get the packs on the release dates and I used The Sims as a wind down from revising and school."
"I thought that this girl needed the escapism way more than I ever did so I bought every expansion pack, messaged her the activation codes, a link to a YouTube video on how to use them, and a short message saying I hope you enjoy playing and to keep smiling."
"I really do wish her the very best."-MariaOSullivan
Saving And Changing Lives
"Bought insulin for the child of a lady in front of me at the pharmacy. The woman (single mom) was in tears & didn't have the $200 copay for that month."
"I gave her my number & told her to call me within the next few days. That was a few years ago. She now manages the office at my practice, makes enough $ for anything she needs/wants, & is one of my closest friends."
"And now she has excellent insurance for herself & her son! Be kind—it can literally change lives! <3"-EJX713
A Simple Blanket
"There's a semi-secluded bus stop beside a store I used to work at, and a homeless guy started sleeping there on the bench halfway between the stop and the parking lot one winter."
"One day I got to work 15 mins early and saw him sleeping, wearing just a flannel and jeans. So I ram into the store, bought a blanket, and covered him up with it."
"He never woke up so he didn't know it was me. Every time I saw him sitting on the bench he had the blanket wrapped around him."-SeleneSlayer
Even In The Face Of A Feud
"I have an ongoing silent feud with one branch of my family (my dad's cousins and their kids, my second cousins), and we haven't spoken or really seen each other in over 10 years."
"I've pretty much written them off, and I don't really care if we live out the rest of our lives without patching things up."
"Two months ago, one of my cousins from that branch unexpectedly died at the age of 38. Their immediate family had always had financial troubles."
"So while I didn't fly across the country to attend the funeral, I quietly sent my sister a bunch of money and instructed her to pretend it was hers and pay off part of their funeral expenses."
"And then just last week, some of my other relatives started a GoFundMe for one of my aunts in that branch (she's my dad's oldest cousin)."
"She has Stage IV cervical cancer and wants to leave the hospital to pass away at home surrounded by her loved ones, but the hospital won't release her until her medical bills are paid in full (this is in another country)."
"I haven't told my dad or anyone else in the family, but I anonymously donated my last paycheck plus the money I had been saving for my upcoming birthday trip."
"I don't really consider it out of the goodness of my heart, though. It's just that the thought of an elderly, terminally ill person dying alone somewhere that isn't home eats away at me so much that I physically couldn't sit by and do nothing."-OrifielM
And these gestures are the kind where the kindness is its own reward.
To Instill Hope
"A lady was fleeing an abusive marriage without much more than her kids and the clothes on her back. Word went out within a whisper network requesting a few essentials she needed."
"Packed up several things from the request list and also one thing that wasn't requested. I make jewelry as a hobby. Put a pair of handmade earrings into a gift bag: silver and pearls."
"Added a handwritten note that every woman deserves something beautiful and sending good wishes her way."-doublestitch
"At the beginning of the pandemic, I was volunteering at a local pizza shop to distribute slices to kids who otherwise couldn't get fed because the schools were shutdown."
"There was a woman with 3 kids that came by every few days to get slices. Turns out the father had died unexpectedly right before the pandemic started and they lost their house because of the slumlord they were renting from."
"The mother lost her job because she had no one to watch the kids. They were living in their minivan and things were bad for them."
"They were so nice and grateful, but ashamed when they'd come by to get slices that I genuinely felt for them. I had lost my job and got a pretty decent windfall of 2 months worth of unemployment and the CARES Act at once."
"My landlord had a few properties open and is a close friend, so I got in touch with him and we worked out me paying their security deposit and the first 2 months of rent and he'd cover their utilities."
"I gave her his number and said he might be able to help and they moved in the next day. They've been there ever since and are doing extremely well now."-eyexxiii
A Little Birthday Surprise
"I was in my art class in high school and there was a girl who I didn't really know a few grades younger. I could tell she didn't have many friends but was really sweet."
"She was talking to me one day and told me her birthday was soon and that she was so excited. I decided to send her those balloons and whatnot you can get through the student store on her birthday, though she didn't know me very well so I didn't sign my name."
"It just so happened that the student store worker brought them in during our art class and I got to see her reaction. She lit up and kept telling us it had to have been her mom or her best friend who did it, and how she couldn't believe that someone got her something and she wouldn't stop smiling the whole rest of class."
"I never told her it was me, I was just happy she felt special. That was a pretty good day."-Rbbbb30
Humans, above all else, have the capacity to be unendingly kind. Despite all the darkness in the world, it is these little moments of light that define us as a species.
Hopefully this has given you some faith in humans today.