We asked the BuzzFeed community to share their favorite stories of a time they received an act of kindness from a stranger. The results were overwhelmingly heartfelt and moving.
1. A nurse that went above and beyond:
"One time I had an ovarian cyst and had to go to the hospital. I had no one to watch my 1-year-old son so I had to bring him with me. I was crying really hard because I couldn’t get my son to sit still with me and he kept trying to pull on my tubes. I just broke down. My phone was dead so I couldn’t call anyone. One of the nurses came up to me in my room and asked me if it was alright if she tried to calm my son down and give me a break. She brought some toys and a blanket back for him, and she held him in her arms and played with him so that I could calm down until my mother-in-law showed up. I didn’t even get her name, but it was so meaningful that she would show enough compassion to help us. Angels are REAL."
2. A guardian angel at the gas station:
"I was 40 miles from home in a high-crime area for a work obligation and I had driven with my empty gas tank light on for the entire trip there. I had $1.67 on my debit card and as I asked the clerk at the sketchy gas station I stopped at to put $1.00 on my pump, a man walked in. My card was declined so I sat in my car trying to find any change or singles I might have stashed. The man came up to my car and told me he put $5.00 on my pump. I don't know if this man has any idea how much he helped me but it got me home safe even though I cried tears of appreciation for most of my drive."
3. A good samaritan on a bicycle:
"I had just moved to a new country with my husband and 6-month-old baby. I had nothing to do and knew no one, so I went for a walk with the baby in the stroller and was about three miles from our apartment when the stroller tire got a puncture and went flat. I knew my son was going to start crying if we took too long and I was getting anxious about embarrassing myself in a foreign country. A very nice man was riding his bike and hopped off and said he had a tire repair kit and patched up my tire, inflated it, and even topped up the air in the rest of the tires. It only took him about five minutes and then he just hopped back on his bike and left, but it saved me so much time and stress and I am so grateful still."
4. Generosity at the grocery store:
"I was grocery shopping when I received a call that my grandpa had died. My grandpa and I were close my whole life, everybody called me his little shadow. We knew it was coming, but to hear it over the phone put me into a shock. I just stood there and went white and numb. An older couple happened to be standing near me and sensed something was wrong. They asked but I couldn’t make words come out. They sat with me for a while, got ahold of my best friend to come pick me up, AND bought the groceries in my cart. Then, not too long after, they sent flowers to my house! Apparently they had my friend’s phone number from when they called her and they paid her to send a bouquet to me. That was one of the worst days of my life and I miss my grandpa every single day, but that kindness and humanity makes me cry in a good way."
5. A gentlemanly gesture:
"It was raining really hard one afternoon and I was walking back to my car with my groceries for the week and an old man offered to share his umbrella with me and walked me all the way to my car."
6. A quiet gesture of comfort and care:
"I'm a burn survivor. I was injured when someone neglectfully tossed chemicals on a bonfire. I spent a month in the hospital, had to have surgery, etc. When I got home I was severely depressed and struggled with PTSD. My mom decided to get me out of the house and took me to get my nails done and a pedicure. My usual nail girl was aware of the incident and was quietly asking me questions while I got my pedicure. When it was time to pay, they told me the woman seated next to me paid for my entire treatment and tip. It was a small gesture, but it made me burst into tears. I was so grateful. I never got to thank her."
7. A grateful tribute for a veteran:
"We went to have all-you-can-eat steamed crabs at a local seafood joint here in Maryland. It was a nice break from our grandchildren that we raise. A friendly gent next to us asked my husband if he was in the Marines — he was wearing a T-shirt with USMC — and he said that he was. They chatted on and off while I enjoyed my steamed crab. He and his family got up and thanked my hubby for his service. After they left, the waitress came over and said that the man and his family paid for our meal. I will forever remain grateful and humbled by this experience. We have paid uniformed military tabs a time or two, paid for the car behind us in toll booths or a fast food joint but have never had it happen to us. Amazing feeling. We should all do things like this when we can."
8. A kind word in the middle of a toddler meltdown:
"One time while I was out shopping, my toddler was in the cart having an absolute meltdown over a toy. I was mortified. My kid was literally screaming like she was being stabbed and people were giving me all sorts of disapproving looks. I felt like a total failure as a mom and I am sure that my face was as red as a tomato. A random man was walking by me with his cart and put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Been there, done that. It happens to the best of us,' and walked away. His tiny little comment made me feel so much better about myself. Thank you sir for calming me in my time of need. I appreciated it."
9. A server who went beyond the call of duty:
"I was a kid on vacation in France. Being a teenager, I was starving and asked the waitress for a French classic, a croque monsieur. Sadly, the kitchen at that place had been closed for the day. However this wonderful waitress ran all the way to the restaurant across the street to find me a sandwich. It was such a big deal to me because I was starving and this woman who didn’t even speak much English, went out of her way to do something kind for a random tourist."
10. A warm meal for a tired worker:
"When I was working at Hobby Lobby during the Christmas season, I was sick and had almost lost my voice, but kept my attitude very upbeat. It was almost at the end of the night when this elderly couple came through my line. We started joking about them going to Cracker Barrel and the man asked me what I wanted. I joked about meatloaf and green beans with a sweet tea. About 20 minutes later, the elderly couple came back into the store with a bag from Cracker Barrel with my exact order, down to the sweet tea. The lady whispered, 'Merry Christmas' to me and I literally cried right there in the store."
11. A Bubbie to the rescue:
"I took my then 3-year-old to Florida to see my grandma. While waiting to board the plane my son fell asleep. I had him in my arms, his stroller, my diaper bag, and our carry-on luggage. Out of nowhere a little old lady came up to me and said, 'My darling there you are! Let Bubbie help you with the baby!' There I was with my blue hair, tattoos and piercings, and a sleeping child and this Jewish grandma came to save the day. I hugged her and thanked her and handed her my sleeping son so we could board together. When we finally got to my seat, she asked the man next to me if she could sit next to us and he very quickly gave up his seat. I looked at her and said, 'This was Bashert,' which means 'meant to be' in Yiddish. She smiled and said, 'Yes it was.' And there we sat on our flight to the motherland, Florida. Two very different Jewish mothers and a little boy who slept through the whole thing. I'd love to find my mystery Bubbie and thank her again but I'm sure she knows."
12. A Christmas miracle:
"My parents got divorced when I was 10. My mom and I struggled financially after that and our first few holidays were hard. My first Christmas after the divorce was difficult and emotional for both of us. On our first Christmas Eve without my dad our doorbell rang, and when I opened the door no one was there, but someone had left an envelope. In the envelope was a card from 'Santa' with a few hundred dollar bills. Someone had anonymously tried to give us a great Christmas, and to this day we still have no idea who it was! I’ll remember that forever."
13. A celebration of life:
"When I was 23, I was going through chemo and the day I found out it was working and I would survive, my friend and I went to lunch and an anonymous person covered the bill. That was the most important day of my life and the person who covered the bill will never know just how much it meant to me. I wish I could say thank you but since I cannot I try and pay it forward."
14. A single mom's new hero:
"I was a single mom, working at a well-known Italian restaurant, pulling doubles whilst putting myself through school. After picking my son up from my dad's house, I took him for an ice cream. I left my server book, with all my cash, at the ice cream shop downtown. About $180 in all. By the time I realized it and went back it was gone. I got to work the next day, and found out that a gentleman had brought my server book back to the restaurant, every dollar accounted for. He guessed which location to bring it to and they knew it was mine because I had a picture of my son taped inside. It still makes me tear up."
15. Two habitual do-gooders:
"My husband and I went to the San Diego Zoo on our honeymoon. Before we could pay the $50 per person entry fee, two older ladies approached us and offered to take us in on their membership passes. Turns out they had both purchased memberships that allow you a guest entry every visit, and went walking at the zoo often. Every time they went, they take a couple of strangers in for free with them. Not necessarily life changing, but wonderful for a couple of newlyweds on a budget."
16. A life-saving love story:
17. A generous lift:
"A woman drove me 30 miles to work when my car broke down at the gas station." —courtiepaigee
18. A hug and a braid to remember:
"When I was in high school, I struggled really badly with depression and anxiety. One day I left class because I started having a panic attack. I was crying in the bathroom alone when a girl came in. I didn't know her, but she hugged me hard and let me cry, and then she re-braided my hair for me, which had come undone while I was crying. It was such an act of kindness when I was at a low point, and even though this was six years ago now, I still remember it."
19. A life-saving donation:
"A young man passed away and donated his kidney to me. I don't know anything more about him, not even his name, but he saved my life and the lives of many other people. Thanks to his generosity and the kindness of his family during an impossible time I wake up healthy everyday." —damnitno
20. A concerned stranger:
"After my family and I lost our home in the Tubbs fire last year, I found myself sobbing in a McDonald's parking lot a day or two later. I didn't think anybody could hear or see me but a woman came over to my car, gave me a huge hug, and pulled out her wallet to give me a fifty dollar bill. I kept trying to give it back to her, but she insisted. I felt like I could do nothing but cry more and tell her thank you, while the only thing she told me was, to keep it and help my family. I never even got her name." —lionesserin91
21. A hand-picked bridal bouquet:
"On my wedding day, my husband and I were taking pictures after our courthouse wedding, and a woman from afar saw us taking pictures by the river walk. She noticed that I didn't have a bouquet of flowers so she cut some flowers from her garden and brought them over to us. She said it was just what I needed to be a perfect bride. To this day, I'm always grateful that this wonderful and kind woman exits." —i487aca532
22. Some much-needed shelter during a house fire:
"My house had caught on fire from the backyard, resulting in the whole house up in flames. I had been running around outside barefoot panicking, and had an asthma attack from the smoke in the air while people filmed me and my home. A woman living on the same street quickly opened her home to me and my three younger siblings, lending me a pair of shoes when we found out a firefighter had rescued one of our cats so I could take her to a vet. I am still so shocked and thankful for her kindness and generosity to people who were sobbing on the street, knowing nothing about us, giving my family a safe space in a moment of despair." —calliam
23. An unexpected pizza delivery:
"I used to work the front desk at the YMCA. There was a dad who used to come in pretty regularly with his little girl, who I always made sure to greet with a big smile and ask how she was. One night, as they were leaving he was talking to her about getting pizza, and I jokingly said that I could really go for a pizza too. He asked me what kind, and I told him, thinking he was just playing along. Twenty minutes later, he comes back in and hands me an entire pizza. Easily my favorite memory from working there." —ljvincent
24. An impressive display of respect from some young kids:
"I live in South Carolina, so our southern roots tend to melt like butter on a hot day when we witness or receive kindness. My Grandma had died and as we were driving from the church to the cemetery, three little boys, roughly aged 6-9, who had been riding their bicycles got off of their bikes, took their tiny little baseball caps off, and put them over their hearts and stayed in that position until I could no longer see them. That’s the only thing from that day 20 years ago that I remember. Even my black, nasty teenage heart melted over that small gesture." —tracyp10
25. An angel who opened her home to a complete stranger:
"I was in grad school and 70 miles from home when my car blew a gasket in a snowstorm. On a Sunday. No mechanic shops open, and no one would tow my car back to my place until the snowstorm lifted because of the dangerous roads. I was crying in a coffee shop on the phone, and a woman approached me and offered me a place to stay for the night. She did not know me at all, and she took me back to her house where I ate dinner with her, her mom, and her kids and slept in borrowed pajamas in her office. The next day she drove me back to my car and I got towed home. I will never forget what extreme kindness it must have taken to bring a stranger into your home with your kids like that." —raphaelahops
26. Ladies helping ladies:
"I was at a football game tailgating and unexpectedly got my period. I have a wallet-style phone case so all I had with me was my phone, ID, and credit card. The game was starting in about an hour so everyone was trickling into the stands. I found the closest bathroom, ran in, and it was packed. There was a line of about 25 girls waiting for stalls. I screamed, 'Ladies!! Please help me! It’s an emergency, does anyone have a tampon??' And I kid you not almost every damn one of them held one up and there were hands with tampons coming out from under stalls and if that’s not enough to make a girl on her period cry, they then all let me skip the line to take care of business. I love girls' girls."
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.