What’s the nicest thing a stranger (who you never met again) has done for you?
The above question was asked on Reddit recently. Read some of the ‘faith-in-humanity-restoring’ answers below.
“When I was about five in the mid 70’s, I was sitting on one of the mechanical horses that rock back and forth outside of a Woolworth’s (i think) and playing while I was waiting for my mom who was in the store. Some lady walked by and put a quarter in to make it go. I was over the moon. It is a moment of pure joy that I’ve remembered vividly. I still even remember what that glorious kind stranger looked like.”
One of my best friends killed himself at the beginning of this year. For the first few weeks after it happened I was in that state of mind where you can just about manage to block it out enough to get yourself through the day, only to have it suddenly overwhelm you out of nowhere.
10 days after he died, I was on a packed commuter train out of London, squashed into a corner seat. Some little thing had set me off and before I could compose myself I started unravelling before the carefully averted eyes of my fellow commuters. I rang my Dad to try and talk it through, but couldn’t calm down. Trying desperately not to sob audibly, pressing myself into the window and willing myself to stop shaking; just thinking about my friend stepping off the ledge over and over…
Then the lady sat beside me – a well dressed, middle aged lady who turned out to be Canadian-but her arm on my shoulder and said “I couldn’t help but overhear; I just want you to know that whatever you’re going through now, I promise you it’ll be ok.” We ended up talking about my friend the whole journey, and she chose to share with me that she lost her first husband to suicide. She talked to me about bereavement and loss, and then she made me laugh. She gave me a hug when we got to her stop, and I never saw her again.
I’ll remember her for the rest of my life.
It was Christmas time and I worked in a toy store in a mall. A teenage girl came in wearing a T-shirt with the logo of my favorite video game on it. I complimented her shirt, and asked her where she had gotten it, because I’ve never been able to find that video game on a women’s shirt, only men’s before. She told me where she got it, and then she left.
I went into the break room to tell my boyfriend to buy it for me for Christmas, and when I came out of the break room, she was waiting for me. She handed me a bag, and said “Merry Christmas! I hope I got the size right” and left. She went out and bought me the shirt, and it was the sweetest thing ever.
When I was laid off years ago, with my wife and two kids to feed, someone would send me either $100 cash or a grocery gift card in the mail. It came every 1-2 weeks with no return address. To this day I have no idea who was sending it.
-eDgAR- 1241 points 23 hours ago
Told this story in another thread, but it’s definitely the nicest thing and is someone I will never forget.
When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift store. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which ones I wanted to get and then decided on 10 after I’d gone through them all.
One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, “Promise me that you’ll keep reading.” I was so happy and immediately stood up and thanked her while nodding my head. She smiled again and walked away and I went back to my piles, now able to pick out another 10 books.
This was probably about 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.
When I was 12, I was on my way back home from school. I was riding my bicycle, and at this crossing, a car in a traffic jam made space to let me through. While crossing the road, I got hit by this driver, trying to overtake the whole lane, so he wouldn’t have to wait out the traffic jam. The car hit me, scooped me up, launched me into the air, which resulted in a broken kneecap, a broken nose and a broken rib for me.
The driver fled the scene, the driver who let me pass took care of me till the Amber Lamps arrived, and made sure I stayed awake.
Now that’s not where it ends. The guy who took care of me was so mad about the driver fleeing the scene, that he actually put some advertisements in a few national newspapers, describing the car, and where the car might have possibly been damaged. After 3 days, the guy turned himself in, claiming that the advertisement lead people to figure out what he did and threaten him.
So a random stranger spent quite some money on getting an advertisement out so the guy who ran me over could be found. I never heard of that stranger after, but I’m pretty sure the driver wouldn’t have turned himself in if it weren’t for the ads.
When I was 12 or 13, I bailed hard rollerblading down a big hill on a busy street, busted my knee open pretty good. People just kept passing by before an old couple finally stopped to help me. My parents that morning had told me to wear my pads but I hated them and stashed them in my backpack. Anyways, in my agony, I was screaming how I should have listened to my parents and worn my pads. Fast forward two weeks and I’ve got 10 stitches in my knee, using crutches to walk. I get called down to the office and the principal hands me a card and a giftwrapped box. I read the card and it’s the old couple wishing me well and a speedy recovery. In the box, a discman. My first ever. A few days after that, my family and I went to their house to thank them for helping me and the gift. Never heard from them again but I’ll always remember them! I was so cool with my discman.
A guy named Jason sat with me after I got hit by a car. He waited when no one else did, made sure I didn’t die by the side of the road, and got help. I owe that guy my life.
I was in a really bad three-car accident a few years ago where a drunk driver ran a red light and hit another lady and me (the other lady died). This couple who had been leaving the mosque across the street heard the accident happen and came running to help. It was cold out and I was just sitting on the side of the road shivering and terrified.
The lady wrapped me up in her coat and put her arms around me and just sat there with me, thanking God over and over that I was OK, until the paramedics got to me. It was one of the worst nights of my life, but she made it a lot better.
Edit: This happened in the southern US. Mosques do tend to be rather controversial around here, which is one of the reasons I try to share this story whenever I get the chance, because that lady embodied loving thy neighbor as well as anyone I’ve ever known.
I was working as a producer on a talk radio show. The show I was working on wasn’t terribly popular so we really wouldn’t get many callers. So on my birthday day I’m working like any other day when some guy calls in and gets his entire family to sing me happy birthday.
He had never even called before and hasn’t since. I’ve never met him.
My day was instantly awesome.
Edit: The caller knew it was my birthday because one of the hosts of the talk show said happy birthday to me at the opening of the show.
When I was a little kid my great uncle had killed himself. We ordered pizza because no one wanted to cook dinner. The pizza  lady must have felt a great deal of sympathy for my mom because she had came back after her shift was over with a potted plant and a card.
A few years back, I ran out of gas on my way home from work. I manage to get my car to median so I wasn’t totally blocking traffic. I was stuck at this point no one I could call and no money. I had 3 people stop and help me. The first guy ask whats wrong? if I was okay? If I had any money on me for gas etc. I told him My car was out of gas, had no way of getting to a gas station and showed him my check that I had yet to cash so I had no money. He left and car two shows up. Car two I chatted for a bit but she said she couldn’t really help me out which is all good. So the 3rd person to stop is an undercover officer. Really nice guy helped me push my car towards the grass and brain stormed ideas for the situation because he didn’t want to leave me there. Well as me and the cop are talking car number 1 pulls up, gets out and hands me a a full 10 gallon gas can. I profusely thanked the guy even offered to get his number so I could pay him back. He refused just said it was really no problem. I didn’t ask this guy to spend his money on gas for me but he did anyway and I’m thankful he did. Too bad ill never get a chance to pay him back.
I boarded a last minute flight to my hometown not knowing if my brother was going to be alive when the flight landed. I was sitting in shock thinking about how this was going to be one of the longest hour and twenty minutes of my life and it must have been written all over my face.
This particular aircraft had two emergency seats then a space before the door (no window seat) giving the person who sat in the window seat behind a huge space for leg room. A guy sat down and commented how he loved to get that seat, extra leg room etc. Then he leaned forward and said, I saw your face when I was walking up the aisle and can tell you can really do with talking to someone to take your mind off something, so I’m just going to talk, at any point you want to talk about it you can, otherwise I’m just gonna chat to you.
I don’t know if that guy will ever have even the tiniest bit of understanding of how deeply he touched me with his actions or his parting words. Six years later I still think about what a touching thing he did by just chatting to a stranger who looked like she was going through hell. My brother is alive and well but for the duration of that flight I had no idea if that would be the case.
Pretty much anyone who helped us out in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
My mom, my little sister, and I were stuck in a flooded hospital for a few days. Wildlife and Fisheries and some Lake Charles firefighters who had come to the area boated us out. The boat I ended up in was piloted by a firefighter, and it was his birthday. Yet he was going around a flooded city miles and miles away from his home rescuing people.
We eventually ended up in Lafayette at a Waffle House. Someone gave my little sister a stuffed animal. Another man offered to give us a ride to his house to let us shower (we stank to the high heavens) and rest up while we waited on relatives to come get us. We didn’t do that, but he did give us a ride to another Waffle House after our family went to the wrong one (AND DECIDED TO ORDER FOOD INSTEAD OF COMING GET US).
The doctor who remained behind at the hospital to keep all the pets alive. When we were evacuated, it was humans only, no animals. We had to leave our dog. One doctor refused to leave, so the National Guard kept boating in animal food to keep them going. Eventually, the company sent in boats and helicopters (Matthew McConaughey was actually on scene) to get all the pets out. In a fucking cruel twist, his two pets were the only two out of 80ish to die.
We never met this person (or people), but someone paid for our dog to get surgery on her leg. After they were taken out of the hospital, they bounced around a couple different shelters. At one, someone noticed she needed the surgery; and they anonymously paid for it. Then they paid for a private plane to fly her to Houston (where we were at the time).
Katrina sucked. But I really got to see the good in people because of it. There are more stories, but those are the ones of strangers who never came back into my life. I owe them a huge debt for everything they did for a bunch of random people who needed help. People can really be awesome.
To this day, because of a stranger, I have learned to never judge people by their appearance. Rewind to 2008…I am driving from home to college. I am about 50 miles from the town my college is in, and I pull off to get gas. As I am filling up my tank, there is a car next to me that has what you would call people who look “white trash”, and are in a car that looks like a hybrid of fast and furious/low rider. I am sitting there pumping my gas and just unnecessarily judging the shit out of the people in the car. It was a couple with a young baby.
As I am pumping my gas, the husband goes into the gas station to pay, and as he is passing my car on the way out tells me I have a flat tire on the passenger side (I would have never seen this because my gas tank is on the driver side). Now here I am, a snooty college kid, and I have no fucking idea how to change a flat. I grab the spare and the guy just says “do you need help”- I said no, I can figure it out, and he walks away. So I am sitting there like an  idiot trying to change a tire completely wrong, and the guy comes back- with a hydraulic jack, a nice tire iron, and some other tools. He says “let me help you man, you don’t have this stuff”- and changes my fucking tire. Literally got all dirty, his wife said they were happy to do, and didn’t accept the $20 I had on me. Kindest  people I ever met. Made me feel like such a  fool for the unnecessary judging I did but taught me a valuable lesson.
I was carjacked at gunpoint, bled dry of my valuables and dropped in the middle of nowhere. After the carjackers drove off in my car, I picked myself up from my prone position and went to a nearby lit house (it was night). The family that lived there believed me when I told them my story, let me in, gave me words of comfort, fed me and made me tea, called the police for me to report the crime and called me a cab (which they paid for) to the police station and absolutely insisted on giving me a bit of spending money to tide me over until I sorted out my stuff.
That’s probably the nicest thing a stranger has done for me.
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