Everyone needs help at one point or another, but there are times when we find ourselves in uncomfortable or even dangerous situations without friends, family, or someone you trust nearby. So, when people across the BuzzFeed Community began sharing the following stories about times when absolute strangers stepped in to help women and girls in need, my heart grew three times larger.
1. "I was an 18-year-old newly-out lesbian with a fake ID, visiting a friend in another city who was the same. As you did in those days, we went to the local gay bar for the evening. At the end of the evening, as we were going outside to go home, a bunch of twentysomething young men started harassing us and yelling slurs and indicating that they could 'cure us.'"
"We were so scared we didn't know what to do, when suddenly two men — obviously a couple — came out of the bar and ran up to us. Each one took one of us by the arm, and started loudly acting as if they were our dates. They walked us to our car, acting as if we were all going home together, and the young men went off somewhere. I still think about how close we were to being assaulted, and 45 years later, still think about that couple and how thankful I am for them."
2. "This is such a small thing, but it always reminds me of the kindness of strangers. A couple years ago, I was exploring Istanbul and walked into something on my way to the tram. While on the platform waiting, I noticed blood running down my leg, so I was just holding my skirt up out of the way. I noticed a couple of men on the sidewalk on the other side of the tracks waving their arms, and I realized they were trying to get my attention. One of them was waving a sanitizing wipe."
"They had noticed my leg and tossed it to me to clean up. I yelled thank you, and they kept on walking. Then another guy from down the platform came over to me. He had noticed the exchange and saw my bleeding leg as well. He dug into his backpack and found a couple bandages for me. Then, he, too, just went on his way. It really touched me that these men all made the effort to help out a stranger even with a little problem like a cut. Any time I feel down on the world, I think about that moment and remember the goodness of people."
3. "While in high school, my best friend and I were driving to Daytona Beach, Florida. Along the way, my car broke down on a dark, isolated stretch of highway. Soon a car with several men pulled up. They kept offering my best friend beer after beer while attempting to fix my car. I had become very uneasy after I noticed the men were really getting my friend drunk and were circling my car while staring at me. The guys said filthy things to me, and my friend was plastered on beer. I knew I was in serious danger."
"Then I heard a loud rumbling almost like thunder. It kept getting closer and closer. Soon I realized it was a large motorcycle gang passing us. They quickly came back to where I was broke down. These were the typical motorcycle gang riders you saw in movies. Wearing leather, big scary looking men. In reality, they were my guardian angels. They made the guys that were there get in their car and leave. They promptly fixed my car and helped my drunk best friend into the car. Then poof, they were gone. I never even got to say thank you. Thank you guys, I’ll never forget what you did for us."
4. "I was a recent grad living in our nation’s capital. My car got repossessed. The next day, I still had to go to work. Pouring rain, riding an unfamiliar bus in a new city. The end of the route was miles away from my office, and I was lost."
"The bus driver noticed my distress but had to drop me at the last stop. He then returned his bus, came back to find me (crying, wet, and bewildered), and drove me straight to my office. Zero creepy behavior. Just a nice guy."
5. "I was leaving my husband, so we were on our way to divorcing. He asked me to dinner to talk. I said I would meet him there. I did not want to be a prisoner in his car. He was very controlling. The dinner started out civil but ended with us fighting and me walking out to my car. He followed me, trying to stop me from getting into my car. He grabbed my keys and threw them across the crowded parking lot. He then left me there."
"I sat there for a moment thinking about how I was going to get my keys back or considering if I should go home to get my second set. I started to cry. It was so overwhelming. Until a car pulled up with an older couple that saw the whole thing. They had my keys!!! I cried harder but for joy. Angels. ❤️"
6. "When I was about 14 years old, a guy tried to rob me in a dark and deserted street. He threw me on the ground and attacked me, but I didn't really have a cellphone or anything of value."
"The guy was getting increasingly angry and aggressive until out of nowhere a guy came out the door and literally saved me. To this day, I think about what could have happened if this stranger hadn't shown up. I had the opportunity to thank him some time later. His name is João."
7. "At another concert, I was being crushed in the pit, and I fell. I could have easily died, but this man who I know for a fact waited in line for about 16 hours pulled me up and nearly carried me to the medic room."
"He stayed with me until they cleared me to leave — he missed, like, four songs."
8. "I was driving a coworker home. We turned off the main street on to a side road. There was a little girl about 2 years old who was chasing a dog and running in between parked cars."
"I quickly pulled over and ran back to the little girl. My friend ran down the street to where some people were working. One person knew where the little girl lived. It was two blocks away on another street. We took the little girl to her house, and the dog followed us. She would have been killed if we hadn’t stopped the car."
9. "My cousin and I were teenagers in '85. We were driving across the Arizona desert when my car overheated, and it blew the hose off the radiator. I had no tools and was barely 16. It was hot AF outside. We had no way to contact anyone and would have to wait until someone at our destination got worried."
"We rationed our water and sat in the shade of the car. A few hours later, a Winnebago pulls in. An older man and his wife got out of the car. He was a retired mechanic. He fixed my car while she made us food. I asked for his name and number so my parents could call and thank him. He gave it to me, along with his home address. When we got to my aunt and uncle's house, they had been worried. We told them what happened. The next day, I took my car to a mechanic as I thought the man did a temporary fix. The mechanic looked at it and told me it appeared that my radiator has just been rodded, which means it was removed and reassembled. That's not something one man can do in a parking lot."
10. "My sister and I were traveling overseas in London, and I fell getting off the train. I suffered a nasty collarbone break that later required surgery. I was in pain and passing out, and my sister was having trouble getting help."
"A kind older gentleman with a cane stopped and stood behind me and told me to lean against his knee and waited with me while my sister got help. He patted my cheek and kept me calm and conscious until help came. I never saw his face, but I remember his kind voice and thoughtfulness."
11. "When I was in my early 20s, I had went downtown for a fun night (drinking) with friends, but ended up getting separated from them and left alone in a downtown parking lot. I was completely and utterly incoherent — unable to find my phone or any of my belongings, and I had no idea where I was. Completely vulnerable."
"I remember standing next to a pole sobbing, hardly able to stand or walk, and crying while groups of people passed and, finally, a gentleman approached me asking if I was OK. I was so scared to answer him because I was thinking the absolute worst. He then said, 'Ma’am, where are your friends, why are you alone, do you need help?'
I finally replied and told him that my friends had left me, couldn’t tell where I was, and needed to get home. He insisted that he give me a ride home and that he’d keep me safe. I was so, so scared to accept, but at the time, I thought it was my only option to getting home. I felt paralyzed with fear. Yet, he plugged my address into his GPS, and soon enough, I was outside my house. Before I got out of the car, he told me, 'This world is an ugly place for a woman. I understand why you are scared. I hope that you find better friends.' I continued to cry and tell him both sorry and thank you profusely for helping me. I woke up the next day half embarrassed and half thankful. I’m convinced that I met an angel that night."
12. "I have heart failure, but I've been fine since they put in a pacemaker. Then something changed, and I had trouble breathing unless I was sitting. I made an appointment with the heart clinic at the hospital. I could barely breathe trying to walk in, so I was leaning on a sign outside. This random man asked me if I was OK. I told him I needed to sit down. He went and got a wheelchair."
"Then he wheeled me up to the clinic on the fifth floor. I must have thanked him five or six times. I was in the hospital for three days, and they fixed me. If I had to guess, I would say that man was a medical professional and he was in great health himself. Thank you, thank you, sir."
13. "I was in a pretty bad relationship with an addict when I was in high school. He was a fair bit older than me and took me to parties but never let me drink or talk to anyone. One night I could tell he was more out of control than usual, and he handed me a drink with my name on it, which I thought was weird because, again, he never let me drink. After I finished whatever was in the cup, I started getting really sick and feeling super weird. I thought maybe I just needed to lay down, so I went into the nearest room where this guy was just smoking by himself."
"He tried to talk to me and could tell I had been drugged with something pretty strong. He did all the right things: asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, asked if I wanted to call my mom, got me water, asked if I wanted my boyfriend. I was pretty nonverbal but clearly freaked out enough when he mentioned my boyfriend to understand what had happened. So when my boyfriend came to the door and demanded to see me, he wouldn’t let him. He didn’t let anyone in and waited with me until my friend came to pick me up. I refused to see my ex ever again after that. I don’t remember the guy's name who was in the room with me, but I’ve always wanted to thank him so much. Who knows what would have happened without him?"
14. "I was studying abroad before cellphones. After the school portion of the trip, I was to travel alone — a flight to Spain from Belgium. I was a 19-year-old girl."
"When I arrived at the airport, I found it was closed for a strike. I had to get a train to France and a plane from there. It was crowded and confusing, and I had a lot of luggage. A Portuguese businessman saw me struggling and asked me in English what was going on. He then paid for me to call and update my family so they would know where to meet me in Spain and when. He carried my bags, accompanied me on the train, and ensured I got on a plane. He was my hero."
15. And finally, "I was on a solo training run for an upcoming half marathon, and was running in the downtown area of town. I was about a mile away from my car, and from finishing my run, when I tripped over a pothole in the road and landed face-first on the pavement. I scratched and bruised both of my knees, my palms, my chin, and my nose, and broke my arm from the impact of my fall. I was in shock, and crawled to the sidewalk, crying from pain. A kind stranger saw my fall as he was driving by, and pulled over. He ran to me, with a bottle of water and napkins to wash out my scratches."
"He asked me how far I was from my home and kindly offered to drive me where I needed to go. I looked horrible — covered in blood and in throbbing pain. I accepted his offer to take me to my car, one mile away, and while he was driving, I called my fiancé to come pick me up. Once we got to my car, the kind stranger waited the 10 minutes it took for my fiancé to arrive. I’ll never forget this man’s kindness, and plan to pay it forward someday when the moment presents itself."