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11 Inspirational Stories That'll Make You Wanna Pay It Forward

Let's hope that altruism is contagious.

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1. A hairstylist who gives free haircuts to the homeless.

Mark Bustos is a professional hairstylist at Three Square Studio, but he spends a lot of his time wandering around downtown Manhattan giving free haircuts to the homeless. He gives up to 10 haircuts a day!

4. A pilot who rescues puppies from high-kill shelters.

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Pilot Dan Drennan from West Virginia flies puppies from high-kill shelters around the country to help them find homes in Western New York. He's helped save about 500 dogs!

5. Or a man who drives for days to save stray pups.

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Greg Mahle drives every other week from Ohio to Texas to New York (about 3,800 miles/week) to save stray dogs with what he calls Rescue Road Trips. Mahle has saved roughly 30,000 dogs.

6. An elderly Australian man who saved many from taking their own lives.

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For 50 years, Don Ritchie lived next to a place in Australia known as "The Gap" where many people have taken their lives. Ritchie has saved over 160 people from suicide simply by looking out his window to see if someone was near the ledge, approaching them with a smile or conversation, and inviting them in for tea.

7. Vietnam vet saves his best friend's life.

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John Middaugh and Henry "Bill" Warner became friends when they served in Vietnam. Warner's kidneys recently failed, but his best friend Middaugh is saving his life by giving him one of his kidneys. Middaugh explains it simply: "He had my back many times, so this is payback time."

8. Prisoners who train dogs awaiting adoption.

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Canine CellMates matches inmates in Atlanta with shelter dogs that need to be trained. Once the dogs are trained, they have a better chance of finding a family to adopt them! More info here!

9. An elderly woman who hugs departing or returning soldiers.

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82-year-old Elizabeth Laird has hugged soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, since the start of the Iraq War in 2003. It is estimated that she has given out more than 500,000 hugs. Laird was recently hospitalized for a rapid heartbeat, but is currently improving. Soldiers poured into her hospital room to embrace her in her time of need.

10. A man who buys special bikes for disabled children.

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Andrew McLindon donates adapted bikes to children with special needs who cannot ride regular bicycles. Adapted bikes typically run for thousands of dollars — so McLindon provides these kids with a simple yet powerful opportunity that they formerly could never have experienced.

Newman’s Own gives all its profits to charity, helping people in need around the world.

*Photos 2–10 are not photos of the people or dogs described.

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