Small acts of kindness carry disproportionate weight. Often a gesture that only lasted a moment or two, a good deed carries power that may linger with its recipient for months and years.
Significant kind acts require an awareness. The generous soul has their head on a swivel. These givers are conscientious of the people around them.
They size up the needs of a person and act decisively, without hesitation. Because such a person knows that timing is everything when game-changing kindness is in the balance.
A recent Reddit thread amassed a wonderful collection of these acts of kindness. The anecdotes are written in gratitude, their authors the surprised recipients of generosity sometime in the past.
The collection gives some confidence that human beings, at least part of the time, are willing and able to take car of each other.
"Neighbors asked to borrow my truck. Told them I could not trust my truck because the tires were bad."
"Next day mr neighbor called and said he was getting new tires for his suburban and I could have his old ones. Told me to just show up at this certain tire shop and they would put them on"
"Get to tire shop and they put on brand new Goodyear tires. I asked what happened to the old tires I was suppose to receive."
"Shop owner said the 'old tires' was just a story to get me in the shop."
"Mr neighbor bought me a full set of new tires instead of the old tires he said I could have."
Three Miles In Stride
"Alternator died while I was driving home from university. Engine died as I exited the freeway in the middle of the night in a not-so-pleasant part of town in the days before cell phones. As I'm pushing my car out of the intersection, a guy in a truck comes up and offers to push my car to my neighborhood a good three miles away."
"He does so, and I'm pulling into my neighborhood, he simply gives a wave and drives off into the night. I never even had a chance to thank him."
A Sudden Swaddle
"I was nine years old, waiting for the school bus in Wisconsin winter. I had a thin coat, no hat or gloves. A woman driving past saw me and stopped, giving me a blanket from the back of her car. It was a long skinny one, so she wrapped it around my head and shoulders like a big scarf."
"I remember thanking her, but being confused. I told her I didn't know how I would give it back when I was done borrowing it. She hugged me and said not to worry. I still have that blanket."
"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 could't undo the brakes and was blocking everyone. I felt like crying because I thought everyone was pissed 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."
The Kindest Eavesdropper
"At work I was complaining about heartburn once. I was still pretty new to the job. Didn't really have any work friends. Felt like an outsider. My life outside of work was pretty sh!t as well."
"The bartender on shift overheard me and ran to a nearby coffee shop to get me a chocolate milk. It definitely made the heartburn go away but it was such a needlessly kind act. I don't think ill ever forget it. 2 years later we're still friends and she is definitely one of the kindest people I've ever met."
"I recorded a homemade album with my garage band in high school and handed out a few CDs. A few weeks later my English teacher approached me with 5 pages of notes on what he liked and what I could improve on."
"He apparently got the CD from someone at the high school and listened to it all the way through (it was over an hour long). He didn't know I was the singer and guitar player until he asked the person who gave him the CD. He said that if I ever got a shot in a studio, I would create something amazing."
"Thank you to all the teachers out there who believe in their students. It makes all the difference to some of us."
A Little Goes a Long Way
"During the single most difficult time of my life, a stranger on reddit gifted me $500. To me, it was a fortune. I received it while at work and just broke down. It started the change of my life and a few months later I was able to move, met my now-fiancé, had my son, and found my job."
"I still message them once in a while to update them on my life and continue to thank them for their generosity, but I think they abandoned their account years ago."
An Ice-Cream Bearing Guardian Angel
"When I was 10+/- played little league. When the team won a game, everyone would go to the Dairy Barn for an ice cream cone to celebrate. Had a 'Nazi' coach one year who determined that if you didn't play in the game, you didn't get an ice cream."
"I didn't play one game that we won (I wasn't very good anyway) but still I went to the Dairy Barn just to hang with my friends. Others usually went home. The lady server asked me what I wanted and I told her that I couldn't have one because I didn't play in the game. She gave me a funny look, and went on the the next customer."
"Later as we were sitting at the outdoor picnic tables. this same lady came out and gave me a HUGE ice cream cone. 'You're still a winner,' she said and walked away. I still choke up a little when I think about it."
Doing the Dirty Work
"So once in high school, I ate at a Mexican restaurant and unknowingly threw away my car keys on my tray when I was done eating. I went and asked a worker if he had cleared them off the table and he said no, but that he had just taken the trash out to the dumpster."
"I remember going outside and calling my dad to ask if there was a spare and he told me no."
"So I went back inside feeling humiliated and about to ask if I could look through the dumpster only to see that this man had already dug through the dumpster on my behalf and ended up finding my keys for me. He just went above and beyond and to this day I am so grateful for his help."
An Empowering Push
"I had finally decided to get out of my abusive home. I went to my colleges financial aide office to see if I could qualify for a dorm. I was fifty dollars short. I remember looking at the ground trying not to cry. I had finally gotten the courage up to leave and I still couldn't do it."
"The financial aide lady touched my shoulder looked me in the eyes and said 'I believe you.' It was the first time anyone had flat out said they believed I was being abused."
"She took out her own credit card and paid the last fifty dollars. She went with me to sign the lease and to get the key to my dorm. I stood with the key in my hand and realized I was getting out. I was going to be free."
"I broke down and she hugged me and told me to pay it forward eventually. I have no idea what her name is but to the woman at Dixie college who took a chance on me thank you. I pay it forward by speaking at therapy groups about how to choose not to be a Victim and by sponsoring those who are in similar living situations as I was."
A Simple Game Changer
"I was given access to a shower and a hot meal after being homeless for 9 months." -- A3V01D
"Oh my f***ing God, just being somewhere with a lock after being homeless is incredible." -- JackPoe
"I was in that situation and felt like I was better off dead until kind strangers on the bus took me in and let me use there shower and fed me and gave me clothes I will never forget them as long as I live I felt human again" -- windgypsy86
"Riding my bike on a long trip through Canada. With about 50 miles to go, I had a major mechanical failure. Stuck on the side of the road in a foreign country within 5 minutes at least 10 cars had stopped to check on me."
"One guy loaded my bike in the back of his truck and drove me 30 miles to the border where I could catch a ferry back to the US. Amazing kindness and generosity toward a stranger. He just asked that I pay it forward and to date I've helped 5 cyclists who were broken down in honor of that promise"
Donated the Right Equipment
"I was out of a job at a time that I had to support my mother. Finally landed one but I had to walk back and forth and I didn't have any shoes that would hold up on the walk or the work. Went to fb and mom asked around for some hand me downs we could buy from some one."
"A day later a very kind man showed up with a brand new pair of really nice shoes he had just gone out and bought for me. He left before I could even get any money for him.
Keeping Kids Fed
"My gym teacher purchased me lunch in 3rd grade after I dropped mine. I'm 34 years old and still remember this." -- bob_rob_III
"At the school where I work the kitchen workers just give kids new meals when they drop them. It's not policy, but like any good people they won't let kids go hungry."
"They also frequently give double portions to the kids who they know don't get enough to eat at home." -- mildly_evil_genius
On Their Last Leg
"I literally coasted into a gas station out of gas on my motorcycle, then realized I didn't have my wallet. Some lady saw me patting all my pockets and that I was upset and offered to fill up my tank."
"I only let her put $5 in, which on a bike is a lot. But it meant so much to me"
"When I was younger, my mum was depressed and we had very little money. It was either heating or eating a lot. An old lady around the corner from us would invite us over for tea sometimes or breakfast before school."
"She knitted me, my baby sister and my mum cardigans, socks and a blanket each one winter when it was really bad."
"I was at a terrible time of my life at 17, had a bad day at work, and then my train home was 1 hour+ late. I just started crying at the train station and was really wondering if it was all worth it. A woman just held me for bit while I cried. She was a complete stranger."
"I've never seen her since but I needed her I guess. I think she saved my life that day."
A Quick Maneuver
"Leaving a park with my son. Put a hard candy in my mouth, said something to my son, candy slipped down my throat. Immediately knew I was fucked, couldn't get air. Threw the car in park, left my son wondering wtf."
"Started flagging down people on street. Guy and his girl stopped. Shit started to go dark. Made universal choking sign, guy understood. I could tell he wasn't sure what to do, so I guided his hands to correct position. After 4 or so heaves the candy popped out. I gave him a big hug and we went our ways."
"Scariest moment of my life, not dying per say, but dying in front of my son."
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