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9 People Talk About Strangers Who Cared

You never know who it's going to be, but once you meet them, you're glad you did. Here are nine people describing the individuals who left lasting impressions on them.

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1. A Smile for a Smile

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"There's an older man who walks up and down the train I take and collects donations for a local basketball team that he coaches. He talks about how important it is to be positive, and he says that if you don't have any money to give, he'll always accept a smile.

"A few months ago, my mom was in a bad accident, and I found out right in the middle of the workday. I had about three hours to go to my place, pack a bag, and catch my flight to go see her. I had so few details about her condition, and I was really freaked out on the train ride home. Right as we pulled into Queensboro Plaza, the basketball coach walked into my train car. He recognized me as I was about to give him change, and mentioned that I looked sad. He said that he thought he owed ME a smile and that he'd only take a smile back from me as a donation for that day. It was such a small thing, but it helped me a whole bunch and reminded me why it's so important to keep it positive."

—Kim F.

2. Feeling Secure in Security

Paved Golovko / EyeEm

"One time I had a connecting flight in Dallas with a super-short layover. I had to race through the airport in order to make my next flight, and in my hurry, I accidentally left the terminal. I quickly realized that I was now right in front of the security line that went on for what seemed like miles. I told security what happened and asked if I could just go back through (I was mere feet in front of the exit) and they, of course, said no. Apparently, a woman in line heard my story and called over, 'Over here! We're all over here, come on and get in line!' I wasn't sure what was happening, but I went over, and she ushered me in front of them in line with only a wink and a smile. I whispered 'thank you' and ended up making my flight."

—Spencer B.

3. You Can Stand Under My...

Martin Boy / EyeEm / Getty Images

"A few months ago, it was POURING, and I didn't have an umbrella. I was waiting at a crosswalk, and all these businessmen were staring at me like I was a dumb idiot. But then this tough-looking teenager kid scooched over and put his umbrella over my head, and it was just the cutest, nicest thing ever."

—Cyndi N.

4. Help From Winter Warriors

Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang (aka. SpatialK) / Getty Images

"I was trying to park a car in NY for the first time. The power steering on the car was shot, so each wheel turn was a workout. I was having trouble controlling the car on lane shifts, let alone parallel parking. My phone had died, and I was getting farther and farther from neighborhoods I knew. I was driving too slowly, and traffic was building up behind me, so I tried to pull to the side, only to bottom out on a snowbank. I couldn't move forward or backward, and I was blocking one of the most trafficked streets in Queens.

"I was having what I can only describe as a complete breakdown.

"Then, three people appeared from the houses on the streets and helped shovel me out. It took 30 minutes of serious labor. One man even brought me a water bottle and helped me calm down. I tried to bring them cookies the next day, but couldn't find exactly where I got stuck.

"I literally do not know what I would have done if they hadn't come out and helped me."

—Emily S.

5. It All Makes Cents

Libby Hipkins / Getty Images

"My wife and I were taking our son down to Florida when he was about four months old, and we were sitting in the airport waiting for our flight. There were a bunch of old-timer Navy veterans there waiting to board, and this man came up to us — probably 80 years old — and said, 'Every time I see a family flying with a new baby, I give them a dollar for good luck. Put this in his piggy bank.' He handed us a dollar and smiled and walked away. A few minutes later, I saw him handing a dollar to another family with a small baby. It was really touching and adorable."

—Jamey W.

6. Separated, But Not for Long

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"My wife and I were in the Paris Metro. She stepped into a car to ask which train it was, and the doors immediately closed with her in the train, and me still standing on the platform. As the train pulled away with my wife stuck onboard, a passenger who had seen what happened offered to help by guiding her back to where I was. She said yes, and he did! This kind man took her himself and reunited us."

—Stephen L.

7. A Shoulder to Lean On

Anna Rise / Getty Images

"When I was on my way home from studying abroad in the Netherlands, I was sobbing uncontrollably in the airport — partially because I had broken my foot the night before, and partially because I was devastated to leave. A nice guy offered me a hug and let me blubber into his shoulder for a good five minutes. It might sound creepy...but it was totally sweet and just what I needed!"

—Rachel H.

8. Move It or Lose It

Linda Levy / EyeEm / Getty Images

"I was finally moving into my first apartment that wouldn't have any roommates. It was on the fourth floor of a walk-up building, so I had hired movers to help me because I was recovering from a pretty bad back injury.

"As the movers were unloading the last few of my things from their truck and onto the street, they got a call from their boss who said they were late for their next job, and they had to leave immediately. So they left, and suddenly I was on the street, all by myself, with bureaus and chairs and nightstands and other bulky stuff scattered everywhere.

"I almost started to cry. But next thing I knew, this guy who was eating a slice of pizza walked up to me and said, 'Are you moving in here?' I said that I was trying to, but the movers left, and I didn't think I had the strength to get all this heavy stuff up four flights. Then he said, 'No problem, just lemme finish this slice, and I'll do it.' So he ate the rest of his pizza, texted a few of his friends, and then they all carried my heavy furniture up to my apartment for me, one by one."

—Hannah L.

9. You'll Get Where You're Going

Sheldon Serkin / EyeEm / Getty Images

"When I first moved to New York from the South, I was very naive — especially in terms of getting around the city.

"I was on my way to my second interview for my dream job, and I was trying to hail a the rain...during the morning rush hour. I had been trying to get one for 20 minutes, and then I think I started crying.

"Out of nowhere, this really pretty older woman dressed all in black asked me if I needed to head downtown. I said yes. She hailed a cab and told me to get in. (Did I mention I was naive?) In the cab, she asked where I was going, and I told her that I was headed to a job interview. She told me she was an executive at a very famous news channel and that she was also from the South! She said, 'You'll learn this is what NYC is about. Helping a stranger out. Because one day, you'll need the same. I wouldn't be where I am had it not been for people helping me and taking chances on me.'

"We chatted the rest of the ride until the cab got to her office and she got out. She gave the driver money and told him to take me wherever I needed to go. And yes, I did get the job."

—Patrice N.