True Stories
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15 Awful People Who Did Surprisingly Good Things

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Throughout history there have been some truly awful people - Hitler, Ted Bundy, the guy who created The Noid - but that doesn’t mean that those terrible people never did anything good (except for the guy who created The Noid – he’s a true monster). This list looks at bad people who did good things, thinking about whether or not that makes them a better person. For someone like Hitler, it probably doesn’t, but for some of the other criminals on this list there’s a possibility that their one good deed was just the beginning of them turning their lives around.

No matter what your definition of “good deed” is, you’re going to be surprised by the stories that we’ve collected here today. There are tales of lifelong criminals who don’t seem to hold anything in high regard saving the lives of the police officers who arrested them, and war criminals who made sure that everyone received a free education – it’s truly a twisted collection of bad people trying to do good things. If you’re still on the question of whether or not everyone has the capacity to be good inside of them, keep reading to learn about the awful people who surprised everyone with good deeds.

After reading about these good things done by bad people, do you think it absolves them of their crimes? Or are we, human beings, just a tapestry decisions, some good and some bad with none of the choices outweighing the others? Feel free to chime in in the comments.
  • Adolf Hitler Passed Laws to Protect Animals
    Photo: Elzbieta Sekowska / via Shutterstock
    Despite the brutal and monstrous tactics of Hitler's Third Reich, one positive thing he did was enact animal welfare laws that were put in place to stop animal experimentation. Unfortunately we know how that ended up.

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  • Ted Bundy Worked at a Suicide Hotline
    Photo: Florida Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    In 1971, before Ted Bundy went on a coed killing spree, he was working at a suicide prevention hotline. One of his coworkers, Ann Rule, would go on to write a best-selling book about sharing a desk with the crazed killer.

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  • Al Capone Opened Free Soup Kitchens in Chicago

    Al Capone Opened Free Soup Kitchens in Chicago
    Photo: The New Insiders | Dave Adler / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    He may have been the gangster scourge of Chicago, but Al Capone never forgot where he came from. In 1931, he opened one of the world's first soup kitchens. According to the Chicago Tribune, Capone served "120,000 meals" to the poor and homeless in the Windy City.
  • Pablo Escobar Supported His Local Futbol

    Pablo Escobar Supported His Local Futbol
    Photo: Pablo Manriquez / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
    At the height of his drug kingpinnery, Pablo Escobar made sure that he gave back to the community. The man who made millions off of cocaine built soccer stadiums and sponsored local charity outreach programs.