There's nothing like experiencing a heartwarming encounter with a random stranger to restore your faith in humanity.
Reddit user u/EpicesPotato asked, "What's the most wholesome experience you've had with a stranger?" and the answers definitely delivered. Here are some of the best ones.
1. "When I was a kid, my family didn't have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for $1, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which ones I wanted to get."
"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 said that I would. She smiled and walked away, and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.
It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was probably 23 years ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book."
2. "I was going to a Starbucks to eat with a friend. Suddenly a stranger about my age asked me how to go to that exact same place, so I told him that I was going there, too, and we started a conversation while walking. When we got to the Starbucks, we sat at different tables, and I waited for my friend."
3. "I once took my son to a local science center for a day of fun. I also have cerebral palsy. Sometimes I use a wooden cane, but I'm alright unsupported. I rock a mean limp and have terrible balance, but if you were to see me walking around, most would just assume I had been injured at some point."
"While walking around, I spotted this woman with a young daughter who looked about 8 years old. She was using a walker and sporting a pair of leg braces. The mother and I locked eyes a few times throughout our free-roaming day, until eventually our kids started interacting with the same exhibit. We were standing there watching them, and I turned to the mother, and before I could even speak, she said: 'Cerebral palsy. You too, huh?'"
"We ended up spending the rest of our day together chatting about our lives and experiences and going over the many advancements and therapies that have been developed since my childhood."
"She ended up telling me at the end of the day that seeing me being a single dad to my son and being so independent in spite of my disability gave her a lot of peace of mind. She said she worried a lot about what her daughter's future might hold, in terms of her independence. It was just an all-around really nice experience."
4. "My card declined at a fast-food place a couple years ago. The manager saw it happening and came up and gave me the food anyway. It may have come from a 'fuck this establishment' mood rather than the unrelenting kindness of his heart, but either way, it really made my day."
5. "I went once to a supermarket to buy some groceries for my last week in college. I was about to pay when I realized I had forgotten my wallet, so I told the cashier I would leave everything and come back in about an hour. A man in a nice suit who was behind me in the line heard the conversation and said he would pay for me."
6. "I was in a bookstore and heard a young girl ask her mother for a book. The mother answered, 'I think that's a movie you can see on TV. You can watch that; you don't need to READ it.' (It was the book Chocolat.) Being a voracious reader who also never had support for my book addiction, I was enraged, so I bought the book, found the girl in the stacks, handed it to her, and whispered, 'Keep reading.' Her eyes lit up. I don't know who enjoyed that moment more, but it might have been me."
7. "This happened when I was around 9 or 10 years old. I was out riding my bike with my mum, and halfway through the trail, my bike broke down. We couldn't carry the bike back home since it would take hours, so we were just stranded in that field. There were a few people on the trail who saw our inconvenience, but either they didn't have any bike knowledge to know how to fix it, or they couldn't be bothered to care."
8. "I had a knock on my door, and when I opened it, there was a stranger with a gift card to a local garden store for me. Apparently her kid had been pinching tulips from my garden every day to give to his mom, and they wanted to pay for them once they figured out whose garden they were coming from. I had thought squirrels were doing it and had regretted planting them the year before, not being able to enjoy them! I spent the gift card on more bulbs!"
9. "At the time, I was using crutches after an ankle injury. Got off the train to go to university — and hobbled straight into a surprise storm. A guy with very limited English walked me from the train stop to my class, holding an umbrella over me the entire walk (about 10 minutes). One of those lovely, warm, fuzzy memories."
10. "This reminds me of a random girl who gave me her socks in a club. I had taken off my heels because they hurt and then got glass in my foot. She took off her shoes and socks and gave me the socks to wear to protect my feet."
11. "I had just lost my job, and my dad had his card stolen. He was waiting on the bank but was completely out of food and living in an old, run-down RV. I would have figured something out. I’d die before I let him starve."
12. "My last job was working for the TSA. It was a pretty miserable job, and most people didn't like you. I was just having a horrible day — filled with personal issues and work issues — and this nice older lady asked if I was OK. I gave the standard, 'Yeah, I'm doing fine.' And she asked if I could use a hug. I had a blank stare for a second, and then just hugged her. Probably the nicest thing anyone ever did for me when I worked there. The world needs more people like her."
13. "There was one year where I was in Spain on holiday with my family. We were staying in an apartment complex that had crane machines to win soft toys and prizes. So one day my sister and I were downstairs playing on the machines, but we didn't manage to win anything and ran out of money. A man who was sweeping and mopping the floors came over and unlocked the machine to hand us both a Winnie the Pooh toy. It was one of the nicest things someone's done — and I still remember it 20 years later."
14. "I was in an abusive relationship, and it ended with him beating me up very badly. Broken ribs, bruises, and cuts all over me. He was arrested, but the process and aftermath were hell. It was spring and the weather was warming, but for weeks I wore long sleeves and high collars to hide the cuts and bruises."
"Eventually everything healed and faded except one very deep bruise on my upper arm. I had had enough of hiding them in shame, so one day I said, "Fuck it," and wore short sleeves. I was standing in line in Walmart and noticed this rough biker-looking dude staring at me. I thought he was checking me out or whatever. Then he asked me how I got that bruise on my arm. I stumbled answering, and he outright asked, 'Did somebody hurt you?'"
For some reason, I decided to be honest and not lie in shame, so I said out loud, 'Yes, somebody hurt me.' He looked at me me and in the kindest voice said, 'You did not deserve that. Whoever it was will get what's due to them one day.' For some reason, that was a turning point for me. I knew then that I was going to be OK. I knew that no matter how things turned out legally, that I was going to be OK. I never saw that man again, but I honestly think he was an angel sent to give me a message."
15. "I was about 15 and crying on a step outside because social anxiety was really a struggle for me. After a while, a girl who was around 20 stopped just to ask me what was the matter. It took a lot, but I just opened up to her as she gently held me on her shoulder and wiped my tears away."
16. "This happened just last week, but I was out at the store (with a mask on, of course), and I smiled at this old man who passed by in front of me. Obviously it’s hard to tell if people are smiling with a face mask on, but it’s a force of habit. Anyway, he stopped and said, 'I don’t know how, but even with a mask on your smile is contagious.' It was such a sweet compliment. It made my day."
17. "On our one-year anniversary, my husband and I went to a restaurant and were sitting at the bar. A couple celebrating their 15th anniversary was right next to us. We got to talking, and we ended up having a great conversation for two hours."
"The wife got up to go the bathroom, and while she was gone, the waiter came to collect our checks. He immediately returned our card to us and told us that the couple had paid our bill. (The wife didn’t actually go to the bathroom and was instead paying our bill.) She also wrote us a lovely note that we still have five years later!"
18. "I used to be terrified of flying. I had to be drunk and on Valium. I flew when I was six days sober. I had no clue how I was going to make it through the flight. I was seated next to an off-duty pilot. He spent the entire flight explaining to me what the noises were. I love flying now because of this."
19. "A few years ago, I was experiencing deep depression. My life was a mess; my apartment was a mess; I was a mess. For a moment, I decided to just go to the park and sit for a while, as I was really at the end of my rope and had zero idea on what to do."
Have you ever experienced a sweet moment with a complete stranger? Tell us your story in the comments below!
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.