Have you ever turned on the news and felt overwhelmed? Lately – between the hurricanes, the wild fires, the terrorist attacks, and the overall political landscape – it appears as though news headlines have been pretty grim. It may seem like there's no goodness left in the world... that is, until you hear real people describe random acts of kindness.
These unbelievably true stories about random acts of kindness are a glimmer of hope, and the truth is, it doesn't take a whole lot to be kind. From something as small as slipping a stranded stranger a $20 bill, to an act as generous as putting estranged siblings through college, these stories about kindness from Redditors span the entire spectrum of good deeds.
The world is teeming with good people willing to lend a helping hand. These true stories about random acts of kindness beg the question: When was the last time you decided to pay it forward?
The Gangster And The Nerd
"I was attending a three-day workshop, and there were these two guys that were nearly polar opposites of each other. One was from LA. He had grown up on the streets...a real gangster. [He's] probably the coolest guy I’ve ever met or will ever meet again.
The other guy was a [want to be] intellectual...Think Dwayne from A Different World for those of you old enough to remember '90s sitcoms. He definitely was trying hard to be cool, but just couldn’t pull it off.
Anyway, the Gangster didn’t like Dwayne and had said so openly. On the third day of the workshop, Dwayne was late and the Gangster noticed. The Gangster even made a comment about how Dwayne probably couldn’t keep up so he dropped out.
When Dwayne finally showed up, he made some comment about spending the morning rounding up some cash to pay his light bill, so [his lights] weren't cut off. Here is where the coolest act of random kindness came in. During the afternoon break, I saw Gangster sneak out a $100 bill from his wallet and quietly give it to Dwayne. No one was supposed to see, but I was standing at just the right angle.
Later I asked Gangster about why he helped Dwayne. He said that even though Dwayne was annoying, that no one deserved to go hungry. He knew what it was like to be down to your last dollar, and that he was doing well financially, so what the heck. Giving Dwayne $100 wouldn’t change his life style, but it might change Dwayne’s."
A Backpacking Trip Gone Bad
"I was solo backpacking in Europe a few years ago, and during my stay in Rome I had my backpack stolen on a Friday afternoon. [It] contained about 60 Euros, all my IDs, my journal, map, water bottle, camera, phone, wallet, glasses (I had contacts in), train ticket to Venice the next day, etc.
After a grueling three to four hours of frantically trying to locate the police station and getting a police report, I got to the Canadian embassy. I had no ID, so I had to contact four people who were not family members who had known me for [over five] years to vouch for my identity. No one answered their phones as it was the middle of the night in Canada.
I finally contacted my brother via Facebook...[he] goes out to my friends' place in the middle of the night so the embassy agents can speak to them. I had never really traveled before. [I] was dehydrated, hungry as hell, and the embassy was about to close for the weekend, potentially leaving me [without shelter] and without money until the following Monday, so I was almost in tears and stressed...
...This Canadian couple was also there at the embassy who had their passports stolen (just passports). They overheard the whole ordeal and came up to me when I was on the phone with my brother and just slipped a 20 Euro bill towards me with a smile. I tried to say "thank you" but was so speechless I couldn't muster out any words.... I just stood there with my mouth open, and the woman nodded and then proceeded to leave.
Those 20 Euros meant so much to me, as my hostel was about a five to seven hour walk south, and it was 41 degrees (c), and I had no water bottle even or food. [The] hostel was paid for the night, so the following day I could use my new temp passport to accept a wired money transfer from my father. Used that money for food and transit to get back to my hostel. I wish I could go back and say thank you to whoever those people were."
Truck Stop Police Officer And The Bus Ticket Home
"I was sitting in a truck stop in Arizona on a cold winter evening. There was an old man there, stranded about 150 miles from home. A local police officer approached him, and everyone at the coffee counter got quiet, expecting that he was going to be asked to leave. The officer bought him a bus ticket home, and since the bus wasn't leaving until the next day, the officer got him a room for the night at a hotel right next to the bus station. Every heart in the place was uplifted that night."
From A Mexican Restaurant To Med School
"Quick Summary: my parents haven't really been there for us three kids since the divorce. Two of us got kicked out at 17-18 [years old], and the 13 year old at the time was left between fighting parents. I just took custody of him because of the stress (three years later, and [I am] finally old enough to get him).
The now 16 year old works part time at a Mexican restaurant. I went in to pick him up from work, and the owner was at the bar. He asked me why I always picked him up and where the parents were. I gave him a quick run down, but not too much. He offered to pay the rest of my college tuition so that I could provide for my brother better, and he also just set up a fund for him.
I'm now going through medical school for free, and my little brother will be able to attend for free once he's out of high school. I'll never be able to thank him enough. He only knew my little brother as a hard working dishwasher, and now he's provided a future for us. I can only hope that I can do the same for a kid in my distant future."