Relationships

11 Reader Comments on Kindness

Lately we’ve been blown away by all the kindness we’ve seen in the reader comments section. In fact, we’ve been smiling and tearing up all week. “Kindness, as it turns out, expands to include…well, everything,” said George Saunders in a 2013 commencement speech. Here are 11 comments that show the good of humankind…

On family traditions:

“My mother came up with a sweet way to ease the ‘at-school homesickness’ I experienced when I was little. When the car pulled up to school in the morning, she’d pull back my sleeve and give me a kiss on my wrist. Mum always wore bright red lipstick to work, which meant that whenever I felt lonely during the school day, all I had to do was roll up my sleeve just a little, and I would see a red lipstick reminder that she loved me and that I was not alone.” — Sarah

“One of the dark arts of being Chinese is to secretly pretend to go to the bathroom at dim sums and pick up the tab for the table. My mum once trumped everyone by putting money down before any other guests arrived, so she paid the bill without even getting up. Everyone was floored. The incident is now described as folklore by family and friends.” — Annie

“When I was in my early 20s and working a low-paying job, my mom and her best friend came to visit. The day they left, I came home after work to find my fridge and cupboards full of food, and several vases of fresh flowers around my apartment. It was like a fairy tale. It’s still one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.” — Emma

On hard times:

“My dad would go to the local bakery almost every morning. Part of his routine was to check in with all the workers, asking them about their families, harassing them in a funny way, or telling them funny jokes. He was *that* guy. When he passed away and it was time to plan the funeral, I set off to the bakery to order a tray of his favorite desserts. When I arrived, I was greeted by a very nice woman. I mentioned my dad’s name, word spread, and soon every one of the women was crying! Each told me stories about my dad — how he would remember their stories, how’d he wear a certain hat every time one of the ladies was working because he knew it was her favorite color, how my dad put new tires on someone’s car when she couldn’t afford to buy them. (My dad was a tire salesman.) When it came time to complete the order, the women said, ‘This is on all of us. We loved your dad.’ I was speechless.” — Julia

“We were taking our toddler daughters on a long flight. Shuttling the kids through baggage check and security, I forgot to buy milk. The airline didn’t serve milk on board, and my husband wondered if we could get by with coffee creamers (gotta love that fatherly ingenuity!). Finally, as we were sitting down (and my oldest was biting my arm for no obvious reason besides toddlerhood), the flight attendant came back with a pint of milk. ‘The captain got it for you,’ she said. Reader, I squeaked out a ‘thank you’ and immediately started crying. It was a small reminder when I needed it that we’re not islands, that the world is kind, that parenting is for all of us.” — Anna

On being a good neighbor:

“At the end of my maternity leave with my first child, I ran into a neighbor in our building’s lobby. We weren’t close but I found myself awkwardly gushing about my anxiety about returning to work the following morning. The next day, as I came down the stairs, I found a note taped to our building door with my name on it. My neighbor had left me a ‘back to work’ pep talk that made me laugh and smile. To this day, I keep it in the console of my car and whenever I feel sad about leaving my kids to go to work, I take it out and think of her and her kind gesture.” — Rebekah

On traveling around the world:

“When I was studying abroad, two of my female friends and I were eating at a restaurant in Rome. A couple in the restaurant noticed us enjoying our meal and that we were young and choosing the cheapest drinks/food, and decided to send a bottle of wine we probably wouldn’t have bought ourselves over for us to enjoy. We ended up combining tables with them and sharing a second bottle while walking together to the Trevi Fountain. To this day my girlfriends and I still talk about that night, and it all started with such a sweet gesture from strangers!” — Allison

“I was working in Europe as a humanitarian aid and was traveling to Switzerland. I was exhausted, dirty and running a high fever. I was running through the train station in Zurich when my sleeping bag unhooked from my bag and dropped onto the floor. I scrambled around trying to roll it back up, but I wound up missing the train. I immediately broke down and just wrapped myself in my sleeping bag. All of a sudden, a young Swiss guy appeared with two cups of tea. He sat down with me and offered a cup. I was stunned! We chatted, shared some tea, and he helped me find another train. I will be forever grateful to him for making me feel so welcomed when I felt so alone.” — Caitlyn

On gifts from afar:

“My sister tipped me off to this modern day practice: the random Venmo. I’ve sent my sister-in-law coffee money when she started a new residency rotation, my little sister beer money when she was going out at night, and my big sister ‘kid-free breakfast’ money when her twins started preschool.” — Kate

“I got mugged a few years ago. It was scary and my purse and phone were taken at a time when money was tight. My best friend from the other side of the country ordered flowers to my office and in the florist’s neat, cursive handwriting she had written out the note, ‘Sorry that shithead stole your phone.’ Still makes me laugh. — A.

“I went to Maui for my 50th birthday, but it was during a tough time. The trip was supposed to be with my boyfriend, but we had broken up right beforehand. Luckily, a dear friend came with me, which was wonderful in and of itself. And when we went out for my birthday dinner, the server came over with a bottle of Champagne and a sweet note from a group of my closest friends. They had sent the Champagne and taken care of dinner. I burst into tears! It was a loving and beyond thoughtful gesture. Even though they couldn’t make it to Hawaii, I knew they were with me.” — Ela

How has someone shown kindness to you lately?

P.S. More amazing reader comments and a small kindness I’ll never forget.

(Photo from Insecure.)

  1. Kelly says...

    My family has been fortunate to become good friends with a neighborhood couple who are in their 90’s – Ford and Mary. We have heard many stories of their marriage years, including the elaborate surprise anniversary parties that Ford has given Mary. One of them included flying family members in for a weekend at a resort. Ford planned everything, even packing his wife’s best clothes for a formal dinner. When I recently visited Mary in the hospital, she was confused as to where she was and when the nurse came in to take her order for dinner she thought that Ford was throwing yet another surprise dinner party for her. “Honey, did you plan something?, ” she said to him. It was the sweetest confusion, born of her husband’s loving kindness.

    • Lara says...

      My heart my heart …..

  2. Gabrielle says...

    I loved reading these comments. Reminded me of an encounter from when I was a sleep-deprived new mom. It was fall and the old maple tree in our backyard had lost all its leaves. I strapped my one-month old to my chest, handed my toddler a mini-rake and set out to conquer the leaf pile. I started to slow down about halfway through when I saw our neighbor’s elderly mother on their back porch. I didn’t know her well; she was visiting from India and didn’t speak much English. She walked over slowly and offered to finish raking the leaves, pointing to my sleeping baby in the carrier. I initially refused, but she insisted, saying “We are different, but we are the same.” She finished raking the leaves that day and I still tear up when I think of the kindness of her act and the truth of her words.

  3. Anne says...

    4 years ago my husband and I had just left my hometown in the US where I’d lived my whole life, and all of my friends and family lived, and moved to Switzerland where we knew no one. A few months in, we were traveling to Austria to go skiing with his family. We went to our local station a few days before to get the train tickets, as it took a few connections to get to the remote town we were traveling to. Whenever you buy the tickets in this way, you always end up with a stack of ticket-looking things (seat reservations for each person per train, itineraries…etc) plus the actual tickets themselves. On the day of our trip, at 6:30 AM on a Saturday, we were at the main station, finding our seats on the train, trying to find a place to store our bulky skis and luggage, and an older man walked up to us and asked if we had bought our tickets a few days before at a different station. Very skeptically we said, yes we did, and he went on to explain that he was the manager of that station’s ticket office, and his employee had given us everything but our ACTUAL train tickets, and he didn’t have our names to contact us, but he knew our itinerary and reserved seats, so he came to deliver the tickets to us in person. He even gave us a box of the Swiss version of macarons (Luxembourgerli) for “our inconvenience”!
    After a lonely first few months in Switzerland, where locals are notoriously cold at first with strangers (they warm up eventually!), this act of kindness just absolutely blew me away. To this day, this moment feels like a turning point, where I started to feel like it could be a place where I could spend my life.

  4. Kiersten says...

    A couple of NYC specific acts of kindness that I’ve experienced include the time I got stuck at a turnstile going into the subway after swiping my Metro card. I was starting to panic at possibly getting cussed out as a clueless tourist when a man exiting the same station spotted my predicament and casually leaned over to swipe his card to let me through, then left without a word. It was such a spontaneous act and a little enough thing but to me it was such a kindness and really helped me feel seen and less alone in the huge city that is New York. And really dispelled the misconception I’d had before that most New Yorkers are brash and unfeeling!

    Another time I was in town again for work and asking the clerk at the hotel about the procedure for changing rooms once the sponsored part of the trip was over, as I was extending my trip and had booked a much cheaper room at the same hotel (my company had of course booked me into a better room, not a suite but several grades better than i could afford on my own). He just shrugged and said no worries, we’ll just keep you in the same (much more expensive) room so you don’t have to change rooms. I was floored. Maybe he did this comping/upgrading of guests on the regular at the hotel, or the hotel just had a generous policy, but it was a huge deal for me as it saved me a not-insignificant chunk of $$ and made my stay that much more pleasant. I wish I’d gotten his name so I could leave him a glowing review on Yelp or TripAdvisor or something!

    Another time on a separate work trip, I made friends with another reporter and we hung out for breakfast, etc. One day I noticed she hadn’t come down for the hotel breakfast and we had a packed schedule for the day, and lunch wouldn’t be for another few hours later, so I grabbed her some fruit and a chocolate milk from the buffet for her to scarf down on the bus. It cost me nothing, just a little bit of time and effort, but she was so pleasantly surprised and happy. It’s really just the thought that counts! Then one morning I woke up to find an envelope she’d slipped under my hotel room door with her Metro card that still had some $$$ left inside, along with a sweet note that said it was for me to use in my adventuring around town, as she was leaving NYC before me. I was so touched! We’re still friends on Facebook now :)

  5. Urs says...

    I love this xx

  6. NH says...

    When I was in high school my family moved overseas. I was largely responsible for a majority of packing and my parents were distracted and overwhelmed. The morning that we were leaving in the middle of mass chaos and more to do than humanly possible some friends stopped by to say goodbye and brought breakfast tacos. We were all starved and feeling the hard realities of leaving to live in a hard place. Their gesture of kindness was incredible to me and kept me going through many lonely times!

  7. Rachel says...

    I love all of these beautiful stories in the post and the comments. So here’s mine: When I was in college I studied abroad in France. On spring break a few American friends and I went to Marseilles (and Later Nice) to visit. We were all feeling overwhelmed by the number of children asking for money on the streets—not something we had experienced before. I even remember praying to Mary at a Catholic Church we visited for God to help me understand what I was supposed to do because I was on a tight budget and couldn’t help everyone. (PS I’m not Catholic or particularly religious so this was significant).

    That night my friends and I were walking around trying to find somewhere to eat but couldn’t find anywhere affordable that was open. We kept walking and searching but came up short and were starting to get hungry and a bit stressed out. Just then, an older French lady approached us. I thought she was asking for money since so many other people did that day. We chatted with her a bit, and at the end she didn’t ask for money—she gave US $30! We were completely blown away. We hadn’t even mentioned anything about money/dinner. We tried to give the money back, but were also so relieved! We went to the Italian place we had just passed. Later I paid it forward to some of those kids. :)

    In that moment of kindness my prayer was also answered: just do what you can.

  8. Urs says...

    A couple of years ago I lived in Scotland with my boyfriend; a good, kind Irish man who just wasn’t the one for me. We dated for nearly six years and making the decision to leave him was terrifying, because as an Australian I was so, so far from home. Things with the boy came to a head one Boxing Day and I walked out onto the cold, empty, snowy street with a shattered heart and no idea where to go. I instinctively called a friend who was at home in Northern Ireland spending Christmas with her family. I told her we had just broken up and she was silent for a beat then said, “Ok. I need you to pack two suitcases. One small bag with enough clothing for four days. One bigger bag with enough for a couple of weeks. You’ll drop the big one off to my flat on the way to the airport, where I’ve just booked you a flight to Belfast for later this evening. My dad and I will be at the airport waiting to pick you up and then we’ll curl up in front of the fire and eat Christmas cake and make things ok.”. I spent the next four days laughing and crying and eating homemade pie and drinking tea around the fire with this kind girl and her sweet, sweet family. We all deserve a friend like my friend Ness.

    • Emily says...

      what a grand and wonderful way to care for a friend!

  9. Diane McMinds says...

    I was going through a very painful divorce- 2 young kids, he left me for a “friend”, I called a very dear friend to say I couldn’t go on a week-long, out of town class I had signed up for because I didn’t know anyone and asked if she wanted to take my spot. She said she would call me back. When she did, she told me I was going- and she had talked the instructor into letting her enroll in the sold-out class. Then she called the lodge where I had a reservation and added herself to be my roommate. I will NEVER forget this generous gesture of kindness and love when my world felt empty of both.

    And- I randomly Venmo my college-aged nephew “beer money.” It’s the best feeling.

  10. Moriah says...

    Last year I got the worst phone call I’ve ever received-My younger sister had attempted suicide. She was living with my Dad at the time, and he called 911 and followed the ambulance to the hospital. I was 1,000 miles away and I felt terrified and hopeless as my Dad sat in that waiting room alone in the middle of the night. Then, to my Dad’s surprise, his neighbor showed up and sat with him in the hospital. It was the middle of the night on a week night, but he still showed up. My other sister had called this neighbor and told him what was going on and we were so touched that he chose to sit with my Dad on such a lonely, sad night where none of us could be there with him. My sister is doing much better now but I’ll never forget that act of kindness. I’m so grateful for people that help take care of the ones we love.

  11. Kristen M says...

    When I was in high school, I was a passenger in a car accident. Our car flipped and landed in a ditch. I was stuck in the car and hanging by my seatbelt. We waited for the EMTs to come and someone came and held my fingers through the slightly-opened window until they came. I was hurt and in shock and never even saw her face, but o think of her all of the time and wish I could thank her for easing a very scared 17-year-old.

    • Ryann says...

      Thank you for reminding me of a similar thing that happened to me. I was trapped in the car after an accident, waiting for the ambulance to show up. A kind stranger came up to the car and put his coat over me so I wouldn’t be cold, and then disappeared. I’ve always wished I could’ve thanked him – it was such a comfort when I was totally disoriented and scared. And I’m sure he never got his coat back!

  12. Christina says...

    The day after I learned that my cousin—who I thought of as more of a brother than a cousin—had received a terminal diagnosis for his cancer, I went into work in a haze of grief and disbelief. One of my coworkers noticed that I was out of it and asked me if I was ok, but I just said I was tired, as I’m not really one to share my feelings or personal life with people at work. After I came back from lunch, I found a can of Coke on my desk with a little note that wished me well. Getting a can of soda didn’t magically make me happy, but knowing that my coworker had seen through my lie and recognized that I was in some sort of distress was really moving. Just a reminder that you don’t have to move mountains to make someone feel seen. ❤️

  13. Drea says...

    A few years ago, after many years living abroad, I moved to SF a few weeks before my birthday. Everything about the city and the country felt foreign to me. I didn’t have the courage to ask my new co-workers to help me celebrate my birthday, so I wound up spending the day hiking alone (which actually wasn’t bad at all since I’ve done lots of solo travel and quite enjoy it). That evening though, I sunk into a deep pity party as I faced the reality of eating dinner alone on my birthday. I’d spoken to my best friend, who lives on the other side of the country and has two young children, during the afternoon and mentioned that I’d be staying in for the evening. Just as I was starting dinner, my phone rang and it was by dear friend calling to have a dinner date with me. It was late in her time zone and she should have been exhausted after chasing little ones all day, but she still took time to make sure I wasn’t truly alone on my birthday. That’s love.

  14. Robin says...

    Three hankies later, at the end of the comment section. People can be shitty but they can also be just wonderful. Thank you everyone for taking the time to share your stories and for taking care of each other. I am so grateful. Hugs to you all. You’re good humans.

  15. Jenn says...

    Oh these are all so lovely. My father and I got to run only 1 race together before he got terminally ill, a Run Disney half marathon. We were coming up on Magic Kingdom, and he was struggling a bit and resorted to the USMC boot calls he was used to to get through a hump. So there is my dad, doing boot camp calls and me cringing/laughing at his heels. I noticed two gals give each other side eye, like who is this weirdo. I turned and said, yep that’s my dad! And they immediately burst into laughter and shouting, Yeah Go Dad, Go Dad! Loved the support, it was his favorite place on earth and still makes me smile years later. Thankful we at least did 1 race together, miss you Sarge.

  16. Cheryl says...

    After a long day out of town: caring for my dying dad and blowing out a tire on the way home, I picked up my kids at my sitter’s house. She took one look at me and sat us all down to share their supper of Jiffy pizza (from the box) and water.
    Her kindness made it one of the most memorable and delicious meals of my life.

  17. Anna says...

    I was about 7 or 8 weeks pregnant when I started to have bleeding. My doctor sent me to get bloodwork done. I was holding myself together until I sat in the chair to get blood taken. The woman taking my blood saw my eyes filling with tears, gave me a box of kleenexes, and asked me if she could get me an apple juice, which I drank. That was 8 years ago and I still remember how she made me feel taken care of.

  18. L says...

    Ten years ago, at age 25, I was traveling from the east coast to the west after learning about my then-husband’s years-long pattern of infidelity with strangers he ‘met’ on Craigslist. My life had completely fallen apart, and I was traveling as a single mother (cross country! on cheap flights with multiple layovers in places like O’Hare and Houston) with my 20 month old. I had to carry my child, the ginormous carseat, all our stuff for the forseeable future crammed into a heavy duffel bag just small enough to carry on, a stroller, and my violin. There was no way I could make it across all those airports with all that stuff, and I had no money so couldn’t rent a luggage cart. EVERY TIME I got on or off a plane, someone was there to walk with me to the next place I could sit down. It happened SEVEN TIMES on that journey, and I still am filled with unspeakable gratitude for those loving strangers who saw my need and stepped up. Thank you, wherever you are.

    • Lara says...

      They are kind and you are loyal .. good people recognise each other

  19. Kate says...

    When I was working as a substitute teacher I worked a week on a difficult class (I’m talking students throwing furniture at each other , physical fights and evacuating the classroom to keep the other students safe kind of difficult) and on the last day I got to school in the morning and the principal asked me to see her in her office. My heart sank and I started going through everything that happened during the week and if I’d done something wrong but when I got into her office she simply gave me a bunch flowers and a hug to say thanks for turning up with a smile and positive attitude all week! In a job where I normally felt invisible the gesture of this little, simple bunch of flowers from a supermarket meant more to me than any other fancier bunch of flowers I’d ever received!

  20. Em says...

    I was making the 16-hour journey home after receiving shocking, traumatic news about a death in the family, where the world’s sweetest flight attendant, Alma, brought me a sandwich, a blanket, a cookie, and a big bottle of water. She silently walked me to my connecting flight’s gate, holding my hand while I shock-sobbed. It was the kindest, most meaningful gesture, and her name translates to “Soul.” Her soul held mine so gently that day.

  21. Erin says...

    A few years ago we moved to a new state and during the holiday madness I shipped a package to our old address by mistake (and didn’t catch it). A few days later I received a priority overnight package from the family that bought our old home, the wife had braved the post office at Christmas time and paid to overnight the package to me. So very kind!

  22. Mary says...

    My mom passed away this July.
    She was an accomplished physician, graduating as one of eight women in her medical school class back in the late 60s.
    My closest friends surprised me at her Celebration of Life with an envelope containing the details of a memorial scholarship they set up in her name, at her alma mater. Her scholarship fund will support a female Pathology student, just like her, every year, while funds are available.
    In setting up the scholarship fund, they were even able to track down her original medical school application (!!).
    At this very moment words are failing me and I cannot tell you how moved I was (and continue to be) by this gesture. They honored her so perfectly and I feel so, so humbled.

  23. Andrea says...

    This summer I was on my way home from Paris, headed to the airport. I was cutting it a little tight for my flight, but hopped onto the train to the airport. Except as soon as the doors closed, I realized this wasn’t the right train. I speak zero French, but a kind lady motioned that I needed to get off at next stop.

    A man standing nearby saw my distress and gestured that he himself was getting off at the next stop. Doors open, and I’m still completely disoriented, can’t find the signs, etc.

    This man then proceeds to ride with me back to the original station, help carry my heavy bag, and show me the correct train. He understood no English, so we made do with gestures. As I go to thank him, however, the train doors shut, and he accidentally jumped onto the correct train with me! Then, we realized this was a direct train (35min) to the airport. He brought me right up to security. This guy took out probably 2hrs of his day to help me, and wouldn’t accept any money. I gave him my biz card and he emailed the next day hoping I made it safely home! Such generosity and kindness (and I likely would’ve missed my flight otherwise).

  24. SJ says...

    My grandfather was one of the most important people in my life, and he passed away over winter break during my second year of university – I was completely devastated, and had to return to school (in a different city) a few weeks later. At the time I was in art school, taking these long studio classes where we were allowed to listen to music, and it was such a helpful distraction to plug into my old discman and escape for a few hours. So imagine my sadness when, after a couple of weeks back at school, it completely stopped working, and I couldn’t afford to replace it. Low and behold, a few days later a package arrived from my best friend in my hometown, and in it was his old ipod filled with all of my favourite music.

    This was in 2009 and the ipod no longer really works, but I still have it in a box of keepsakes, and reader, I married him

    • Melinda says...

      All the heart eyes 😍😍😍

  25. xo says...

    I just heard today that a divorce that has broken my heart will be finalized in 21 days. I’ve spent all day trying to handle some very sad implications from this. I am so thankful for everyone’s comments here. I needed to cry but this let it be for beautiful reasons. Thank you CoJ readers for being here with me today by sharing your stories.

    • Susan says...

      I’m so sorry for your heartbreak. :(

  26. Beth says...

    I woke up the day our second son was born to find that I was heavily bleeding bright red blood. My placenta had just torn and I remember standing in our room staring at the pool of blood on the bed with blood running down my legs. My husband jumped into action and got our older son to the neighbors and me to the hospital in minutes. One of my clearest memories of that morning was looking back up the steps of our house as we were leaving and seeing bloody red footprints all the way down our white carpeted stairs. It was a wonderful blessing that our son was born healthy that day. But the kindness that I will always remember came later that day. After the new baby and I were settled for the night my husband picked up our older son and went home for the night. When I called to say goodnight, I said “What are you doing to clean up all the blood?” My husband sounded kind of shocked and said “I forgot all about it. It’s gone. There’s no blood anywhere.” A couple of women from our church had heard about our emergency birth and had gone to the house and scrubbed carpets, sheets and the mattress and left the house completely clean like it had never happened. It’s been 18 years and it still makes me cry to write this thinking of those women on their knees scrubbing my carpets. It was such a generous act of love.

    • kd says...

      This is beautiful. So glad you were all okay that day. Thank you for sharing. xx

    • Susan says...

      I had a similar situation. In 2013, I was 12 weeks pregnant with my son and woke to pools of blood (it was a hemorrhage and he was fine), we spent hours in the doctor getting ultrasounds. Later that day, my best friend showed up with new sheets, bleach and new undies. So unspeakably kind.

  27. Kay says...

    I love the CupofJo community so much.

    • Arielle says...

      This.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3 <3 <3

  28. Marian Schembari says...

    My best mom friends and I met in a childbirth class almost 3 years ago. We live spread across the Bay Area so don’t see each other that often, but all 7 of us communicate every day on Slack. We have channels for everything — feeding and potty training and education and #mombod. But my favorite are the private channels. Because anytime one of us hits a rough patch, the other 6 set up a locked channel and plan something nice for her. One woman was broke after moving and frustrated that her toddler wasn’t eating, so we all chipped in to buy her a fancy blender. Another mom had a scary near-miscarriage so we arranged to buy her flowers. After 3 years we’ve all been fired or homesick or hit a marital rough patch, which means we’ve all benefit from the locked Slack channel! It’s the nicest surprise to feel pampered by the women who know you at your most vulnerable.

  29. Kim says...

    I love these posts so much. I have had many, many acts of kindness big and small delivered to me.

    One thing I can add that’s useful to this big conversation is to pay attention to who ever you’re dating. One of the things that made me swan dive head over heels for my husband was him arriving late to a date in winter. He was also completely soaked. I was slightly annoyed. On his way to meet me for dinner, he saw an older lady had driven off the road into a snowbank. He tried to push her out and couldn’t. He jogged down the street to a house with lights on, borrowed a shovel and wrangled a teenager to help dig her out and get her on her way. I absolutely swooned.

    I am also constantly floored by nearly every person I meet who’s known him for a period of time. Everyone has these great stories of him helping them get a job, helping them move, etc. He’s truly made me become better person and think of and do more for others.

    Watch how people treat others and grab the good ones!

  30. Vanessa says...

    Written earlier this week, a little bit about me being kind to someone else, but it was all for the good of me, as I need relief from my feelings.

    “Done, Divorced. On the way out of the courthouse I ran into an angel from the heavens. An old wizened man, missing teeth, a bag of quarters, two-day-old beard. The casting department sent him my way, honestly. He was staring at the parking meter trying to decipher the whys and wherefores when I was coming back to my car, and what a great excuse to have a positive interaction with someone. We noodled it out together and I paid for his parking for him, handed him the receipt and patted his arm. “You are a good woman,” he said. “thanks,” I said. Back in my car, no tears.

    Today I am grateful for:
    Somehow I kept my shit together.”

  31. Hazel says...

    Yesterday my kindergarten-er son came home with his first ever homework. I’ve been sick all week and had a splitting headache. We sat down at the dining table to do the work and he was completely baffled by one part of it. No matter how hard I tried to explain and demonstrate, he just could not get it. I got so frustrated and said some things in impatience that you should never say to a child who is trying so hard to get things right.

    At my irritated tone, my three year old daughter started to cry and said, “Mommy, are you kind?”

    I deflated. “No. Mommy is not being very kind right now, is she. I’m sorry.”

    My son said, “Mommy needs a hug.”

    I knelt on the floor of my living room and my children both hugged me.

    • Molly says...

      Crying now ….

  32. Jenna says...

    I love this! Kindness matters!!

    Today I started my first job as an occupational therapist and it took me FOREVER to do my first patient evaluation. The therapist who is training me was so patient and kind even though I know I was super clunky and inefficient and forgot a million things. By the end of the eval (4 hours later!) I was surprised when she was still answering my questions and giving little bits of advice with kindness and empathy. She said, “It’s okay, you’re learning! You’ll get better once your more familiar with everything.” I wanted to give her a big hug. I definitely don’t think I would be as nice if I were in her position.

    And another little story, just because I can’t help it!
    A few weeks ago I was at Target buying a friend’s birthday gift (plus a bag of peanut butter M&M’s for me!). I used a gift card to buy my friend’s gift, but realized that I had left my wallet in the car and there wasn’t enough on the gift card to cover the M&M’s. I told the cashier to forget about the M&M’s, but then an older lady in line behind me stepped up and said to the cashier, “No–this girl needs her M&Ms! I’ll take care of it.” I tried to argue but she just said, “When you need your M&Ms you need your M&Ms! It’s one of those days!”
    How sweet is that? I was smiling the rest of the day.

  33. SLP says...

    These wonderful stories gave me the opportunity to have a deep cry that I was really needing. (In a good way :’)

    What a wonderful community you’ve got here.

  34. Lindsay says...

    I agree with so many commenters that I wish I could find you wonderful ladies out in the wild :) Has anyone ever tried to organize a CupofJo reader meetup in their city kind of like Tea with Strangers? Or would that be just bonkers? (insert why not, who knows! hands up emoji)

    • Veronika says...

      Hi Lindsay, a couple of COJ-readers met in Munich about a year ago, it was fun :) Should you – or any other readers ;-) – be in Munich, just write to dasisteineschoeneidee@gmail.com and we can set up a new date (for a walk along the Isar or a restaurant) for November.

    • alle says...

      I would love an onsite tab with contacts for each state/country.

  35. Thank you for such a moving blog post- reminding us the influence acts of kindness has on one another! Four years ago, my mom came to stay with me for two weeks after the birth of our daughter. Every morning, I could smell the remnants of her perfume she sprayed on to get her day started. I fell in love with it; going on and on about how great it smelled. The morning of her departure, I remember feeling sad; hugging her tightly; wishing we lived closer; and taking in the smell of her perfume- one last time. We said our goodbyes. I went inside to the bathroom to grab a tissue. As I turned around, to walk out of the door, there was the bottle of the perfume; sitting on a note she had written. Thank you again for a beautiful blog post!

  36. Libby says...

    My husband and I have an extended work project in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s there for the next three years, and I travel there from Houston, Texas when I can take time off work. On my first trip there, I fell in love with Minnesota. It wasn’t the wildlife, myriad lakes, or the beautiful snow (all of which are reason enough to fall in love with a place). No, I love Minnesota because of the absolute kindness of strangers. Case in point, on my first day there, I was standing in line at the grocery store, unloading a huge cart full of groceries onto the conveyor belt. I was so intent on my task that it took me awhile to notice that the conveyor belt was filling up with items at a greatly expedited pace. The man behind me in line looked up from unloading my cart for me, and said “it’s good to help each other.” Since then, I too unload groceries for others, and am always reminded of how just a small little kindness can make a big difference.

    • Christy says...

      MINNESOTA NICE, BABY. <3 So happy you had a wonderful first impression of my home state! I try to take Minnesota Nice with me every day to thaw the Seattle Freeze. ;)

    • JC says...

      My husband and I were on a trip to CT from NYC in search of the perfect little country town to move to. He was getting gas at a the Shell Station while I took our 3 year old son to use the restroom. A lady came running across the parking lot, yelling something at me. She explained that she had used that same restroom the day before and she knew the door didn’t lock. She insisted on standing outside the door so no one would walk in on me. We have experienced countless gestures like this since. We bought a house in the same town on that very trip! :)

    • Alice says...

      What a sweet thing to do! However, this has just made me realise that I’m clearly more particular than I thought I was, as I was thinking “But that might ruin The System!”- yes, I am one of those people who has a system for putting groceries on the conveyer belt. In my defence, I learned it from my mum…!

  37. Shirley says...

    Over 20 years ago, I spent the summer before my 4th year of college in Berkeley CA, taking a class, working part time and generally just exploring and pursuing a dream to try living in CA. I lived and went to school in VA. This was the summer that I turned 21, and a few days before my birthday, I suddenly realized that I had lost my wallet. I was so upset and worried that I was all the way across the country without any access to money or even an ID. I was also upset that I couldn’t even go out to celebrate my birthday with a drink! (I looked extremely young for my age and definitely would have been carded). I thought I would never see my wallet again, but as I was calling my credit card to cancel it, they told me that someone left a message that they had found my wallet and had left a number. I called, and a student arrived the next day with my wallet, with everything in it, including what little cash I had. I was so touched and it restored my faith in humanity. He told me, “I could see from your driver’s license that you were really far from home.” I thanked him profusely, but to this day, I wish I had given him some money or had taken him to coffee or something to reward him for his honesty and extra effort.

    • Anne says...

      Yes! I have lost my wallet twice – once at a bar, once at the airport (after landing, luckily). BOTH TIMES, anonymous people have mailed (at their own expense) my wallet back to me based on my license address with every last penny in it. I could cry just thinking about it.

    • alle says...

      Twice for me as well and both times people went out of their way to return very expensive bags to me, intact. Once in Golden Gate park and once in downtown Tokyo. Amazing.

    • Mikaela says...

      Oh my gosh you just made me remember! Once I dropped my ID in the parking lot of a grocery store- but I didn’t realize it until a man knocked on my door later that day. He held up my ID, comparing the photo to my face and, smiling, said “yeah, this looks like you.” He’d found it and swung by the address on the card! Incredible!

  38. Claire says...

    East! Not easy

  39. Claire says...

    Once, I flew alone down the easy coast with my 15 month old daughter (and I was newly pregnant with my second) and in my anxiety, definitely brought too much stuff. And it was all hard to handle and I’m sure it was obvious. But in the course of this single trip: an older woman put my suitcase on the security belt, a young mother deftly collapsed my stroller at the jetway and my seat mate (also a woman) carried my car seat off the flight. I love to pay these gestures forward. And love to read all these in the comments.

  40. alice says...

    What an incredible post! The comments, wow,

    My kindness offering to the universe came via COJ (I have no idea from which post but definitely this year!). Every day as my boys leave for school and nursery I say “Be kind, be curious”. Then at dinner we discuss what kind or curious actions they did or someone did for them in their day (it often leads into a whole lot more of a discussion!). They really love hearing mine and my husband’s, and it gets us thinking about our actions in detail. It’s a beautiful thing. It resonates. One morning a neighbour overheard it and she started doing it too.

    You’re spreading the kindness COJ. What an awesome thing :)

    • Madi says...

      Yes! It was a post about social anxiety. The author was reminding herself that she didn’t need to be perfect- the smartest or more accomplished- but that she just needed to be curious and kind. At least, that’s what I remember from the post. I think about that all the time.

    • CEW says...

      Yes!! That’s on my white board – “You need only be curious and kind. No one can fault you for that.” One of the best things I’ve ever read on this blog. And I’ve read a lot of really really good things here.

  41. Sara says...

    Oh thank you for this. As tears stream down my face our dog comes over to make sure I’m okay – yet another act of kindness … and reason to get a dog!

  42. Laura says...

    A few years ago, I was in NYC. I was having an emotional day, having argued with my sister over something silly, then when trying to buy lunch (in a rush in the subway that has an entire food court) I then got disoriented and couldn’t find my sister. I was standing in Pret, crying, when this man approached me to say ‘you are really beautiful, and I think you needed to hear that today’. At first I couldn’t make him out, so when I said pardon me, he repeated what he had said. I love this memory, it was such a sincere and sweet thing to say as I stood with tears tripping me, and I think about it every now and then. I definitely wasn’t feeling beautiful inside that day, and that man’s kindness meant so much.

  43. Judy says...

    My beloved younger sister died of a traumatic brain injury at 47. She had struggled mightily against alcohol addiction through much of her adult life. And she had a beautiful heart, one of the most giving ever. She loved the book JESUS CALLING, a daily devotional and would even rip out pages to give to people she thought needed a special message. After Kathy died, a dear friend bought a dozen of the JESUS CALLING books and gave them in Kathy’s honor to a local women’s shelter. Makes me cry to think of my friend’s particular kindness.

    • Tara S says...

      Every time I go home, my mother cleans my glasses for me after I go to bed (how? When?) Shes probably been doing it for decades and it still warms my heart so much to put on a pair of sparkling clean glasses and see just a little bit better than I have in a while.

  44. Rezia says...

    A couple years ago I had a terrible stomach bug and after a day of throwing up nonstop, I became severely dehydrated and my husband ended up taking me to urgent care. The staff put in an IV and, because the saline was cold, I started shivering. One of the nurses, a young man, left and came back with a pile of warm(!) blankets. He tucked them over me and ended by wrapping one around my head.

    “Now you look like Mother Teresa!” he proclaimed, and that made me smile for the first time that day.

  45. K says...

    Ok I can barely get through the comments because my eyes keep welling up with tears and I can’t see the screen! But they are happy tears, so thank you.

    When I was going through IVF, I befriended another patient who was further along the process than I was. She had just had an embryo transfer and was worried about being able to pay the expensive bill on time. She told me she mentioned it to the doctor, and he said, “don’t worry about it. Just pay it when you can.” In the world of IVF when bills are extremely high during an already stressful time, and usually the doctor’s office makes you pay upfront (in my experience), this is unheard of. Another patient said she was devastated when she didn’t have any embryos left after waiting for them to grow, and the doctor paid for her next round of meds and did the next retrieval procedure for free. So encouraging to hear of such compassionate people in the world.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I’m going through IVF right now and there are so many moments of unexpected kindness in this process, mostly from the other women who have gone through it or are currently going through it.

      Hopefully everything worked out for the best for you and those other women <3.

  46. Sonia says...

    This is so special! I love reading all the comments. Many years ago, I was a freshman in college driving to see my family in Wisconsin for Spring Break. Of course it was snowing and I was nervously following a snowplow on the turnpike. In a second, my car slid and I ended up on the side of the highway, facing traffic. I was terrified and sat there stunned for a few minutes. Then a car pulled over who had seen me spin out (he must have gotten off at the next exit and come back around). He watched the cars and let me know when I could join traffic again. It happened so quickly and I think of him often. I don’t know what possessed him to swing around to help, but I’m so grateful!

  47. S. says...

    I recently brought my 68-year-old mother to live with us in the US, and while she’s gotten used to taking the buses back and forth in the Boston suburbs when she’s alone during the day, occasionally she’ll get lost and end up somewhere completely different. One such time, she stopped to ask a young woman for directions, and instead of telling her which bus to take, this woman called her an Uber and got her where she needed to go. As an immigrant, this act made me feel more welcome than any other in this country.

  48. Riley says...

    I was traveling in Cairo 10 years ago, and bought a brand new Nikon for the trip. It was my BABY. I was sitting at a restaurant eating lunch with a friend when it dawned on me… I didn’t have my camera. I realized I’d left it in a cab an hour prior, and ran out to the curb and sobbed. My friend who lived there tried to break it to me gently that I’d never see it again (Cairo is huge and hectic and we had zero info about our cab driver), but I insisted on waiting there, looking out at the sea of cars. I KID YOU NOT, the cab driver came back!! With my camera!! I was so excited that I gave him a hug (very inappropriate) and all of the cash in my wallet. I still can’t believe he came back.

  49. Caitlin says...

    I went to college in NYC and would frequently take the oh-so-treacherous Chinatown bus home to the DC area to visit family. (only $20 one-way? sounds great to my college wallet!) One day I was rushing from the subway to get to the bus stop on 34th Street near Penn Station – my classes ran late and as I got out of the subway station it started raining and guess what? I didn’t have an umbrella. I got to the bus stop soaking wet and cold (I think it was either autumn or spring, it was chilly but not full-on winter yet) and visibly shaken up. I was so cold that I took the risk of leaving my duffel bag on the sidewalk to hold my spot in line while I ran across the street to H&M to buy a cheap sweatshirt. When I got back to my spot in line shivering and trying to warm up in my new hoodie, another bus passenger walked up to me with a delicious, HOT caramel mocha latte (or something like that) from the nearby McDonald’s. I definitely thought twice about drinking something a complete stranger offered to me, but it was so kind and warmed me up from the inside out. It truly made my day!

  50. MG says...

    One of my kids was born with a cleft. After his first surgery, when he was 3 months old, he had all kinds of tape and protective equipment on his face, plus restraints on his arms so he couldn’t touch the incision. It was such a vulnerable moment. As strange as it might sound, we really missed our baby’s cleft and the face we fell in love with when he was born. On our way to a follow-up appointment at the hospital, we stopped at a cafe. Most people looked away from us, but one woman made googly eyes at him and told us how beautiful he was, the way you would with any other baby. She was genuine and natural—there was nothing forced or saccharine about the exchange. Something about a stranger treating our baby as normal when it was clear that something was going on medically, and as we were just getting used to his new face, has stuck with me, over a decade later, and it still makes me cry.

    • Cait says...

      MaCaide me tear up too. What a special moment and special lady.

    • Liz says...

      My daughter was also born with a cleft and this one really hit me hard. I know exactly how grateful you must’ve felt.

  51. Heather says...

    Twenty years ago I was a scared 21-year-old alone in London. I had just landed from my first international flight and had to take the tube from Gatwick airport to my hotel in North London. I was dragging my suitcase up a flight of stairs in a station when I felt it lift up from my hands. A man came up behind me and carried my suitcase. My first thought was “he’s stealing my bag!” until I saw him wait at the top of the stairs and look back at me. He just carried my bag up the stairs because he saw me struggling. It happened again on another staircase at the next station. It was such a little gesture, but it made me feel so much less alone in a big strange city.

    • Shan says...

      The exact same thing happened to me too, in London nearly 15years ago! And yes, I thought he was trying to steal my luggage as well 😂 I still tell that story these days as an example of unexpected acts of kindness.

    • Lucy says...

      This happened to me too! Men and even young girls simply swooped in to help me lift my luggage bag up/down the stairs at their Underground stations, off the train on to the platform, basically whenever they saw me struggling with it. And when I’d thank them I would always get a cheery “You’re welcome, love!” or a shrug/dismissive wave, like it was really not a big deal to them and to think nothing of it. Well I still insist on thinking the world of your casual kindness, Londoners, so there 😆

  52. Megan says...

    I recently miscarried my second pregnancy. A friend who heard, immediately texted me lighthearted banter and asked if she could come over after she got out of work. when she arrived she had a bouquet of flowers. we never actually talked about *it* – I suspect she didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to say the wrong thing so instead she was just there, with a kind gesture of flowers. It meant so much to me. The next day I pulled up my to house to find a bouquet of flowers a friend who had recently moved away sent me. I was floored. Flowers are such a simple act of kindness, but are so damn effective. Sometimes we just need to know we are being considered.

    • Emily says...

      A friend sent me a bouquet of flowers on the one year anniversary of my Dad’s death. That someone would mark the date, and show such love a year later was astounding! I’ll never forget those flowers.

    • anna says...

      This is so sweet. Love and prayers to you during this time.

  53. Joanna B says...

    Several years ago, my boyfriend of over six years broke up with me. We were living together in an apartment in a city in between where both of us worked (we were trying to make both of our commutes “fair”). Anyway, we still had some time on the lease, but I knew I didn’t want to live alone in the apartment in a city where I didn’t know anyone. When my sister and brother-in-law found out about the breakup, my brother-in-law immediately told my sister, “She should come live with us.” They had an extra bedroom, and I lived with them for five months. I’ll never forget how they provided a home for me when I was sure that my broken heart would never feel at home again.

  54. M says...

    When I was newly sober I travelled to Sweden on a work trip. I went to an English-speaking AA meeting only to discover that it was a “Swenglish” meeting, so people could speak in either English or Swedish. A kind man next to me translated all the Swedish for me in a whisper so I could hear what I needed to hear. It’s lovely to be reminded of this small but very meaningful kindness as I celebrate nine years of sobriety today 🥳

    Also, when I had spinal surgery, a retired man I vaguely knew from the dog park offered to walk my dog for a few days while I was in hospital. I ended up giving him a key to my house and he came and picked up my dog every day for months (!!) and often bought me a coffee. I will never forget him. People are so kind when we let them be.

    • Anne Elliot says...

      Congrats on your nine years! Such an amazing accomplishment. You should be so proud of yourself. We are what we do, every day.

    • Caroline says...

      “when we let them be”. Yes. It’s hard to see goodness and kindness when you have a hardened heart. (Speaking from experience).

      Congratulations!!

  55. j says...

    One of the kindest gestures I received was from an agent at Northwest Airlines. I was in my late 20s, working at my job on the East Coast when I got the call I had been dreading for years – it was from my mother’s hospice care nurse. Her condition had rapidly deteriorated, and I needed to go home to the Midwest immediately. I left the office, stopped by home to grab a bag and raced to the airport, sobbing the entire time. I was still sobbing when I begged the Northwest agent to get me on the next flight out to go home. It seemed to take forever, but he made it happen. When I got to the gate, I heard the gate agent announce that they were looking for volunteers to be moved to a later flight because this flight was overbooked. I realized then that he had put my husband and me on the flight even though there weren’t any available seats. Were we home by evening, when my mother was able to open her eyes just long enough to see me one last time. She passed later the next day. I am forever grateful for for those extra precious moments I had with her. It has been 10 years, and I’m still tearing up, remembering. Gah.

    • Haylee says...

      Oh my goodness, this made me sob! How lovely and heart-warming that is.

  56. Clare says...

    Needed this today. Thank you.

  57. Ashley says...

    These were great. It never gets old reading about kindness. Kindness rarely takes much effort and always bears fruit. On Fridays the teachers at my kids’ school will often all wear shirts that read “have courage and be kind.” If they learned no other lesson in elementary school, I think I’d be ok with that. ❤️

    • Isadora says...

      As a teacher I want to know more about this!

  58. Elizabeth L Michiels says...

    A friend from college (Dr Kelli Harding – Professor at Columbia) actually recently published a book on this very topic “The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness”.

    She is speaking in NYC tonight (Oct. 10th) – closing out her US book tour.
    https://www.bookculture.com/event/112th-kelli-harding

    She is inspiring; could be a great interview for Cup Of Jo readers? (I have no financial ties to this – just a friend of Kelli’s and a new fan of the book.)

  59. Alison says...

    My father passed away during finals week of my Freshman year of college. I had made some great friends in my dorm, but we’d only known each other for 8 months. I left school in a daze and hurry to travel the 4 hours home. Imagine my shock and feeling of love when the moment I returned back to my childhood home with my mom and brother after my father’s wake, there was a giant bouquet of spring flowers waiting at the door. I thought certainly it was a family member or a friend of my mom’s. When I opened the card and read “Love your friends at BC” I immediately teared up. Twenty years later, we’re all still friends.

  60. Penny says...

    Almost 30 years ago, I was an exchange student in the U.K.. About 3 weeks after I got there, my dearly loved boyfriend and then best friend decided to embrace cliche and get together. I was devastated. Also, there was a shift in the exchange rate that meant I went from “struggling student” to “actually not having money for adequate food.” Anyway, one night in all this, one of my U.K. friends and her family invited me out to dinner and a show in London. The bus fare was a struggle, but I figured it was worth it for one really nice evening.

    Well, this nice family had a family emergency and had to bail at the last minute. No one’s fault. But I’m in London for the evening, with nothing to do and no one to be with. I was as lonely and miserable as it’s possible to be.

    I took myself to a coffeehouse and with my last pence got a beverage. (This was pre-Starbucks coffee inflation!) They had larger communal tables, so I sat at the end of one. Nearby was an elderly man who struck up a conversation. He was in London for his RAF reunion. I told him I was basically spending the evening exploring on foot. He said, “you young people, you’re so intrepid. You don’t let little things stop you.” And just because this man thought I was brave…I felt a little braver. A little less beat up. It got my feet back under me on the roughest night during a rough time.

    This man—who must’ve displayed the kind of bravery I can only dream of while he was in the WWII RAF—looked at a rain-damp, sullen, moody girl and found something kind to say. It was such a small thing and yet it made such a difference to me, then and for all the years since. I try to emulate that example. I don’t always succeed, but having that man’s example has made me a better person. And his memory has come to mean much more to me than that crappy college boyfriend.

    • Lia says...

      I love this.

    • D. says...

      Goodness, this is so lovely. Both what the man said to you, how he gave you that little push to be brave when you needed it and how you still try to follow it.

    • Nicole says...

      Penny, if you’re not a writer already, you must become one.

    • Clare says...

      I love this story. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • patricia blaettler says...

      Of all these nice posts, this one made me tear up.

  61. Sally says...

    I read this post (and all the comments) a little while ago…

    Then I hopped over to Facebook, only to read that one of my dearest friends lost their beloved family cat today. :( I responded with the typical “I’m so sorry” comment, then logged off.
    Then I thought… This post helped remind me that kindness is so important, and so easy. So I wrote my friend a card, with a little message inside. And I’ll pop it in the post in the morning.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so lovely, sally xo

    • April White says...

      a kind and thoughtful gesture. :)

  62. Lisa says...

    Some of the greatest kindness I ever experienced was from the staff when my baby girl was in neonatal care (shout out to UCLH hospital in London!). The midwives in the antenatal unit didn’t discharge me and let me stay for days longer than I should have so I could stay by her. They encouraged me to try breastfeed her when pumping just wasn’t working and I was distraught. The guy doing the paper work on cord blood donation stayed and chatted with me for ages and made me feel close to normal. When she got discharged to less intensive care, she nearly had to be moved to a new hospital but her nurse that day did everything she could to keep her in the same hospital, and that afternoon delivered my baby girl to me (after sending me to go and have a nap). They made the darkest and scariest time in my life manageable, in one of the busiest maternity wards in the country with insanely stretched resources. I’m forever grateful

    • Anna says...

      I had a very similar experience with my youngest daughter, god bless the NHS. I experienced so much kindness from the consultants down to the people bringing a cup of tea, for the month we were in hospital, and will be forever grateful.

  63. Emily says...

    I love these stories. And so many amazing ones in the comments. I feel like re-committing myself to be the kind of person who does the kind thing and sees the person who needs it. Thank you for the inspiration everyone!

  64. t says...

    Also crying at work and it made me think; why are these wonderful acts of kindness making us weep? This should be the norm and should not elicit tears.

    I hope I am wrong but I am concerned our fast paced and isolating world is making decent human interaction a reason to cry.

    • S says...

      Yes!! I want to help make the world a place where kindnesses don’t make me cry. Thank you for saying this!!

  65. Julia says...

    Last Christmas I was traveling alone with my 3-year-old. The security line at the airport was crazy long – like media outlets started doing stories on the insane wait times – and I was 100% sure we were going to miss our flight. I was in a panicked sweat the whole way through security, all the while trying to corral my busy toddler and our bags. As we cross through security, I hear them make the final boarding call for our flight, which is of course at the very far end of the terminal. So I take off running, holding my kid and all of our stuff, and suddenly one of the bags flies off and our stuff just goes everywhere. I’m standing there in complete defeat and an older woman comes up to me and asks what flight I’m trying to board. She then proceeds to SPRINT the ENTIRE length of the terminal and asks the agents to hold the doors. Then she doubled back and helped me carry our bags the rest of the way. I gave her a huge hug and it honestly felt like Christmas magic. Still brings tears to my eyes recalling her kindness!

    • Lindsey says...

      This one actually just made me break out in a sob. People can be so, so good.

    • Kimberley says...

      Goosebumps reading this! The panicked feels, the relief she made them wait…all of it :) So lovely, Julia x

  66. Cindy says...

    all.the.feels. You’ve restored my faith in humanity. Such love and kindness is simply amazing.

  67. Luci says...

    Welp, now I’m crying at my desk! What beautiful, kind, little stories…thank you for sharing!

  68. Chantsy says...

    These were so lovely. And totally brought me to tears. I have had many a friendly stranger help me out over the years and I am always looking for ways to pay forward their kindness. Just recently a lady I was standing next to at the kiosk area of a Cirque du Soleil show gave me the remaining drops of her treasured essential oil when I inquired about the beautiful scent she was wearing. Another time when I was in my late teens a lady paid for my lunch as I desperately scrounged for change in an empty wallet and came up dry. I’ve had strangers comment on how lovely I looked when I felt as big as a house while pregnant and others give up their place in line when they saw me struggle with three small children. There is a lot of bad in the world but we’d be remised if we didn’t take note of all the beautiful souls who sincerely want to help others.

  69. Two years ago, we lost my dad to cancer. He was always learning and one of the most scholarly people I’ve ever known. I remember him sitting through chemo treatments or in waiting rooms on his phone doing equations and watching math videos on YouTube. We experienced an outpouring of love and kindnesses during that time, but one I most cherished was from a family friend who on the anniversary of his passing, donated to Khan Academy (an online educational non-profit) in my dad’s memory. It was beyond thoughtful and the perfect gesture for a man who never valued worldly possessions.

    • NK says...

      This is so sweet! My dad had lung cancer and had to get tons and tons of blood transfusions. On the first anniversary of his passing, my best friend donated blood in his memory.

  70. Marie says...

    A few years ago on Christmas Eve, we found out that our first pregnancy was not viable. I had to have a D&C on Christmas Day. The staff at the hospital were so kind to us. While waiting to be rolled into the operating room, I was sobbing uncontrollably and shivering. A nice nurse brought me a heated blanket. The doctor and the staff were sweet and understanding, letting me take my time and not rushing me when it was time to go. My husband stayed at the hospital during the procedure, and the nurses got him a Christmas meal from the cafeteria. We got parking for free. It was all little things, but together they made such a big difference in how we experienced and remember this difficult time.

  71. Janell says...

    A month ago, I attended a conference for work. It was a new group of people to me but the first night at dinner I made a new acquaintance/ friend. I enjoyed getting to know her a little better the next day but it was a busy day full of conference activities. That night, a stomach bug got me (and got me good). I was completely unable to leave the bed/bathroom much less leave the hotel to get Sprite and saltine crackers the next morning. So, with nothing else to do, I emailed my new conference friend and asked her to pick up some necessities for me before the sessions started that day. She was incredibly kind and made the time to pick up everything on my list and checked on me throughout the day. It’s miserable being sick, especially sick away from home, but she definitely made the experience better. She’s stuck with me for a friend now – not everyone would buy Immodium for you.

  72. Charlotte says...

    You guys, I just finished my (half empty) last! kleenex box in the house and thought, that I really like the whole sobbing-out-of-sheer-deep-happy-gratitude with you all, because of all this kindness that makes life so precious.
    PS: May or may not have just took a piece of loo roll to guide me along the rest of all your comments ;)

  73. MR says...

    After my undergrad, I had moved to the big city to pursue my career dreams and while other job opportunities would arise, my dad always encouraged me to go after that ‘glamourous’ ad agency job, even if it meant I earned a meager salary. One weekend I was telling him how my roommate and I had discovered a Thai Boxing studio and how much fun we were having with these crazy workouts. He asked me about the equipment and membership and I explained it cost $40 to purchase gloves and hand wraps. He thought it sounded like a fun and we moved on with our conversation. A few days later, I received a envelope in the mail. In it was a stick man drawing of two people boxing (he was no artist) and $40. My dad passed away a number of years ago and he was beyond generous to me my whole life, but this small gesture still fills me with love and warmth. I love picturing him at his desk, smiling to himself and he drew the picture and mailed this surprise.

    • Sally says...

      My dad was just the same. :)

      I remember one time when the wing mirror was knocked off my car, while it was parked at the side of the road, while I was in work. No note was left, so it was down to me to foot the bill. It was over 300 pounds, and I was really quite upset about it.
      I told my parents about it on the phone one night and they made the usual parental consolatory noises. The next time I spoke to them, dad said, “don’t worry about that wing mirror. It wasn’t your fault. I’ll pay for it.” And he did.

      Like yours, he died a few years ago, and I really miss that generosity he had. One of my love languages is “gifts”, and he always made me feel so special with that.
      Mum is still around, and is wonderful and fantastic. But she doesn’t speak that same love language, which sometimes just makes me miss dad more.

  74. RB says...

    Around 10 years back, my husband and I had just moved to New York and decided to go see a Broadway show on a wintry Saturday afternoon. We were still new to the city and took a cab which dropped us off a few blocks from where the show was. We were running late so I ran in with my credit card to get the tickets which were held at the box office and after getting them, I reached for my wallet in my handbag to put the credit card back in, only to find it was not there. After ransacking my handbag and not finding said wallet, I assumed I must have dropped it on the street while getting out my card and would never see it again. Since we had already got the tickets, we went into the show to see it with much a sombre mood. At intermission, I noticed 7 missed calls and a voicemail. It was the cab driver! His next rider had handed over the wallet and he had found my business card in it. He had called to let me know that his shift was getting over and he was heading home to Queens but was going to drop my wallet with a friend who worked at a diner near the place he dropped us off! Unbelievably we actually sat through the second half of the show, headed to the diner and picked up my wallet. This was the kindest thing to happen to me in my new city which gets such a bad rap for being unfriendly.

    • t says...

      I find new yorkers to be the nicest people in the world. IMO I think the bad rap comes from new yorkers telling people like it is (AKA being real).

    • K says...

      I agree about New Yorkers. Once you get past the initial tough exterior (sometimes), they are genuinely so nice. And telling it like it is is so much nicer than people talking behind people’s back (like I experience a lot with LA natives where I live now. I can never tell when a lot of people here are telling the truth!!).

    • Lena says...

      One of the kindest and touching gestures I ever received was from an off-duty NYPD officer, who helped a pregnant me, my sleeping 2 year old in stroller and my best friend in a wheelchair (stricken with cancer but determined to get out of her flat for a change) get into a busy subway station with a broken elevator. It was over 100 degrees that day, we were tired and defeated. But this hulking man was willing to put his back on the line to get us down two flights of stairs.
      At the time, the willingness of one busy stranger to stop, inquire about our needs and offer assistance made me feel like the most fortunate woman on the planet.
      My friend has since passed from cancer and the memory is even sweeter.

    • LT says...

      I couldn’t agree more. My mom and I were visiting NYC two years ago and while in a synagogue I started getting random calls from a number I didn’t know. I picked it up to hear a NYPD officer on the phone saying that my mom had lost her cell phone. It was fate that she called my number and waited until after her shift to give my mom her phone back. When she found out that my parents were living in Charleston, she was delighted, as she had family there. She and my mom exchanged numbers and still text sometimes.

  75. Eva says...

    Reading through the comments seriously made my day! Thank you, everybody, for sharing!

  76. Love this post, just made my whole day reading the comments. I totally agree with the comment about feeling like we are all friends. Sometimes I wish there was a COJ secret handshake or pin we could wear so we could recognize each other out in the wild! <3

    • Ellie says...

      OMG yes! I actually think about this pretty often… the COJ community seems like such a wonderful group a cool, thoughtful people. Always need more of those in my life! :)

    • Amy says...

      Yes to the pin!!

    • Joanna C. says...

      At this point I just assume every person I see wearing Dior Nail Glow simply must be a CoJ reader. I’m 4/4 on that theory so far! :)

    • Brooke says...

      Ohhh I love the pin idea!! Would buy, would wear. Maybe it could be a little shopping cart with CoJ on it for that wonderful post about putting away shopping carts for Larry. 💕

  77. Julienne says...

    After hearing about a friend’s cancer diagnosis, I took my toddler son shopping for pajamas to take my mind off things, but I was struggling. My son chose the most expensive pj’s in the store—super soft yellow excavator jammies—and I didn’t have the heart to tell him we needed to get the budget version. I was standing in line to pay and the woman behind me stepped forward with a half-price coupon. She said she had two and it wasn’t a big deal, but it was to me. She probably couldn’t understand why the simple gesture left me visibly fighting off tears. But I will always remember that act of generosity right at a moment when I really needed a sign from the universe that there will still be bright moments even when everything else seems really dark.

  78. Anon says...

    Count me as one of the many surreptitiously wiping tears at work while reading all these comments…

    On my way to my grad school graduation ceremony years ago, I was somewhat decked out in a dress and heels on the subway, and this woman came up to me and said in a low voice, “I want you to know that that man over there has been staring at you. But don’t you worry, he’s not going to come anywhere near you, not while I’m here.” WOMEN OF THE WORLD, LET’S ALL BE EACH OTHER’S BAD ASS FRIEND!

    Genuine question. Often times, it feels easier for me to show kindness to strangers, I think because in my mind I fully understand it to be an in-the-moment act with no strings and no expectations. Perhaps counter-intuitively, I tend to find it harder to perform random acts of kindness to family and friends. I think it is because there is history, and I’m scared that somewhere down the road, they will do or say something that hurts me and any kind thing I’ve done for them will fuel my hurt and anger. Does that make sense? I know that we should be kind to others without expecting reciprocity, but I don’t know if my mind and heart have evolved to that selfless level yet, and I find myself often holding back in giving my love and affection to others because I’m afraid of something. Does anyone else feel this way? Does someone who perhaps doesn’t feel this way, but understands, and has any words of wisdom to share? I WANT to want to be kind, and be that person that so many have described her in the comments.

    • Anon says...

      *described here

    • Lizzie C. says...

      I agree that it seems easier to do random acts of kindness for strangers! But for me, that’s because I get all caught up in exactly what to do for friends and family; since I know them well I should be able to perform the perfect gesture, I tell myself. And then I get analysis paralysis and bail on the whole effort. It’s a weird form of self-consciousness, and probably related to the pressure of emotional labor that so many women are socialized to do.

    • Brooke says...

      Anon, This is profound what you’ve shared! It does make sense to me. It makes me think of Brené Brown’s profound statement the joy and tenderness are the most vulnerable state. Her YouTube talk on “Those Who Count” really helps me have courage. So does also writing by Pema Chodron, such as:

      When we were digging the foundation for the retreat center at Gampo Abbey, we hit bedrock, and a small crack appeared. A minute later water was dripping out. An hour later, the flow was stronger and the crack was wider.

      Finding the basic goodness of tenderness is like that – tapping into a spring of living water that has been temporarily encased in solid rock. When we touch the center of sorrow, when we sit with discomfort without trying to fix it, when we stay present to the pain of grief and let it soften us, these are the times we connect with aliveness, tenderness, peace.

      Tapping into that shaky and tender place has a transformative effect. Being in that place may feel uncertain and edgy but its also a big relief. Just to stay there, even for a moment, feels like a genuine act of kindness to ourselves. Being compassionate to accommodate our own fears takes courage of course and it definitely feels counterintuitive. But its what we need to do. “

    • Jean says...

      Strangers are uncomplicated. Like dogs and little kids. The rest of us, not so much.

    • Yulia says...

      I’ve experienced this. Maybe you want to have genuine relationships with your family but find it difficult because there’s so much pain in your muscle memory that you’re just too knotted up to release into kindness and gentleness around them. I don’t often recommend self-help books, but something about your words reminded me of myself from a few years ago. I think I would have appreciated someone pressing this book into my hands and telling me it would make a world of difference. (It has.)

      https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Anger-Changing-Patterns-Relationships/dp/0062319043

  79. Oh my, what a feel good read! There really is so much kindness in the world! I’m a florist so that one about the friend sending flowers and the florist writing out the message made me burst out laughing…I would gladly write that message out for someone!! LOL

  80. K says...

    I found a wallet on the street, and mailed it to the address on the ID. Months later, I received a mysterious package. Inside was a big bag of lifesavers candy, a huge mason jar, a $25 gift card, and a thank you note. Made my day!!

  81. Sarz says...

    Winter is always a beast here in Ottawa, Canada, but the last one was particularly brutal. Record amounts of treacherous freezing rain fell, and it was that very thing which caused me to fall in a most ungraceful manner on a crowded street one evening. I might have been tempted to lie there for a moment in self-pity, had a couple of women not come to my rescue. They didn’t appear to know each other, but in an instant, fluid motion, each lifted me up by an arm. They brushed off my coat, gave me a knowing nod, and disappeared into the crowd. My back was a bit sore, but my dignity? Good as new.

    • Ashley says...

      😭

    • Jill says...

      I had a patient in the ER yesterday who had fallen and broken his hip. He was very unkempt with long, cigarette stained fingernails and a mangy beard with old food in it. His clothing was tattered, unwashed and smelled of urine. But he was kind and had a certain twinkle in his eye. He had no one to call or come and visit him. He worried who would take care of his cat at home. He would be easy to care for at arms length only doing what was necessary for my job. I decided to lean in a bit and connect with him, spending more time getting to know him than I really even had with my patient load. We joked and laughed as I started his IV and got him ready for surgery. He told me to dig through his bag of clothes and get something in his pocket. Opening up the bag, the smell was repulsive, but I did what he asked. He had a small stash of peppermints and Werther’s candies and told me to have one. I took one in my gloved hand and thanked him. I did not eat it of course, but he didn’t need to know that. He thanked me for being his nurse and told me he couldn’t remember the last time anyone was kind to him. That thought made me sob on my drive home last night. It shouldn’t be that way. We could all be a little more kind and I think I’ll try even harder from now on. The sight of that little gold-foiled candy in the trash will stay with me as a reminder to choose kindness.

    • Al says...

      I’m from Ottawa, Canada as well and I know all about the freezing rain situation you are talking about! I crawled down a side walk last year because I couldn’t figure out how else to get where I was going… but that is an aside. There is nothing like extreme winter weather to bring out the kindness in folks. I have seen people help push stranger’s cars out of snowbanks, shovel other people’s steps, drive coworkers home. No one can get through an Ottawa winter alone!

  82. Claire says...

    Just over five years ago, my 4 year old, previously healthy, son was in the middle of being worked up for a terrifying medical condition, when we got our first piece of bad news. The first piece of many, many pieces of bad news. I was in a very sad and lonely place in my mind processing this new discovery, when I went grocery shopping with my three kiddos. As I was paying I realized I had forgotten that I wrote the babysitter a check and didn’t refill my debit card—card rejected. We had the money, I just didn’t have it available in aldi, so as I was deciding what to do next, a young mom behind me leaned over, paid for the entire thing and said “I’ve been there”.

    I started crying and I know she, and everyone thought we were grateful for the money… reality is, 18 months later my sweet son had died from said condition that we had just begun to discover that day in the grocery store.

    Five years later and I still think of that lady on.the.regular. Her kindness when I felt so scared and so alone, tenderly needed.

    In case you’re reading, young mom with a brown curly haired toddler, near Pittsburgh—you made a bigger impact that you’ll ever know. Thanks for being kind <3

    It’s dark out there, friends, be kind to one another.

    • Emily says...

      I am so deeply, deeply sorry.

    • LK says...

      There are angels everywhere. Thinking of you xo

    • Connor says...

      Hi Claire –

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet son. Sending you peace , love and kindness.

    • Erin says...

      This is so beautiful Claire, and I am so, so deeply sorry you lost your son.

      Lots of love from a stranger.

    • Jamie says...

      Claire, what a beautifully articulated story. Thank you for sharing a piece of your broken heart with us, and maybe more importantly thank you for sharing with someone reading who needed to hear that she’s not as alone as she feels. Bless you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Chantsy says...

      This is the kindest thing. There are good people out there. I am so so sorry for your loss. No words for losing a child. Big Hugs to you.

    • Marlena says...

      Oh, Claire. My heart hurts reading this. Thank you for sharing this beautiful exchange with us.

    • ATD says...

      Sending love to you, Claire.

    • EJ says...

      I am so sorry for your loss and cannot fathom what you must have gone through.

      This story, and so many others here in the comments, really reiterate the saying “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

      Wishing you and your family love and light.

    • Cynthia says...

      I am so sorry about your son. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Jill Sasser says...

      Thinking of your beautiful son Claire. Thank you for sharing your story.

  83. bethany says...

    Right before my husband and I got married (in our very young 20’s) the job he had been interviewing for fell through, and we wound up living with his parents for several months of our first year of marriage. It was a really tough time — we were in love but completely broke and underemployed, and I wasn’t exactly getting along with my generous but overbearing in-laws. But every couple months, I would get an anonymous card with a VISA giftcard for $50, $100, $200. Inside the card would be a typed and scotch-taped note from the sender, “A little something to keep you going. XO.” The return address was Wrigley Field in Chicago, a little joke from the sender who knew we were Cubs fans, but the post stamp was from Michigan, where I grew up. I told my Mom about it over the phone and she giggled and was like, “oh that’s so wonderful, honey!” and whenever I asked if she had ideas of who it might be, and she always said no. It could have been another family member or family friend, but I honestly wonder if it was my Mom sending those cards all along. Things were always financially tight for her and my Dad, and I think sending it anonymously was a way for her to do it without allowing me to give it back, because I would have. She passed away seven years ago from cancer, so I’ll never know for sure.

    If that was you, Mom, thank you.

    • Meghan says...

      Ok. That’s beautiful. I’ m crying! <3 Sending you love!

    • kd says...

      This one got me. It’s your story, friend. Let it be her if it gives you comfort. Parents can be so good at that invisible kindness. Sending you a hug. Xx

  84. Laura Greenwood says...

    Thank you for this post, I welled up at the story of “*that* guy.” So sweet.

    On my favorite ever TV show Anne with an ‘E’, Anne Shirley-Cuthbert (or Anne of Green Gables) says to Gilbert, “caring deeply will always be the right thing” reminding me of that eternal truth!

    XOXO

  85. Lucia says...

    This is one of my favorite posts! 💕💞

  86. Meg says...

    I was visiting a friend in Boston and had just gone through a terrible breakup. I cried my way through most of the weekend. We went to dinner at a nice restaurant but I had no appetite; I told the waitress I just went through a breakup so only wanted tea. During dinner, my friend got up to go to the bathroom and the waitress, noticing that I was alone, came over and chatted with me. She said she knew just how I felt and didn’t want me to be alone while my friend was in the bathroom. She chatted with me about life in Boston until my friend came back. Something so small, and that man and breakup are a distant memory, but I am still so moved by that waitress ignoring her other tables to comfort me.

  87. Sadie says...

    I love the idea of calling a restaurant to pay for something or sending flowers but I’m a Venmo-er. I just sent my friend donut money because her shithead boyfriend stopped talking to her. With long distance friendships, it can be a nice real-time gesture.

  88. SuzieQ says...

    Crying so hard – this is beautiful.

    Years ago, I was a newly divorced mom with an infant. The world’s kindness opened up and poured out on me. A hotel clerk upgraded us from the cheapest room to an ocean view suite; the preschool teachers bent rules to lighten my load; friends sent flowers on court dates; coworkers hosted us for weeknight dinners, strangers carried my bags through airports; a contractor worked for free under the guise of a billing error.

    Years of emotional abuse had drained my optimism, transforming me into an unrecognizably hardened cynic. These thousand little kindnesses helped me see again that the world as a beautiful and loving place.

    • L says...

      YES… I experienced this exact pattern as a single mother. Thank you so much for articulating: “years of emotional abuse had drained my optimism” I know exactly how this feels, and am so glad that I, too, see the world as a beautiful and loving place again. Big hugs, Suzie.

  89. Ivy says...

    I’ve been a LONG time reader of your blog, starting 7 years ago when I was living alone in a small Canadian city and needed some company and inspiration while living away from familiar comforts. Reading Cup of Jo everyday was a small bout of kindness into my day and I’ve since been a regular reader and share posts often to friends and family :)
    This is the first time I’ve posted because, while there have been moments when what I’ve been thinking about/noticing gets replicated on what you post on the blog, today’s post was UNCANNY. I could not get over the kindness I witnessed today. A few examples: I received some compliments from my local pilates studio and a shout out by name when I did not think they knew me personally at all (felt good to be seen and known when you feel anonymous at times); two little kids talking and playing with each other on the bus and their mothers and nearby passengers laughing and smiling on at these two new “friends”; myself helping a mother out of the bus when she was struggling with her stroller. Kindness, I’m sure of it, is CONTAGIOUS.

    A few other memorable moments in my life of kindness, most often by strangers (I think it stands out more when it’s from people who don’t know you or owe you anything):
    – when I lost my purse (incl. phone and keys): a stranger walked me to the local police station to make a claim and lent me $150 to have a key smith break into my lock (my roommates were both of out of town!), not knowing if I were going to pay her back (I did!); another friend lent me money and his phone
    – when I fell off my bike and got a concussion in the street during the middle of the workday, a pedestrian got me water and got me to the curb, another called 911 and waited with me
    – when my movers were working overtime late into the evening but saw that I needed a ride into downtown and was carrying a large load, they offered to drive me and drop me off even though they were going the opposite way and were trying to get home to their families …..

    SO much GRATITUDE for the kindness! Happy to pay it forward when I can…
    Happy early Canadian Thanksgiving to everyone !
    xoxo

    • Meghan says...

      Happy Thanksgiving, Ivy!! I agree that kindness is contagious and so often visible. We just have to keep our eyes open for it.

    • Anon says...

      Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from another Canadian xox

  90. kristen says...

    This was wonderful to read!! I also have a wonderful plane traveling with kids. A few weeks ago I was on a flight with a couple who had two young children who cried the entire 3 hour flight. Not screaming, just clearly not having a good time. The parents were clearly embarrassed and stressed and were trying to soothe them. As we all exited the plane an older couple probably in their 60s stopped and said ‘you guys are doing a great job! hang in there!’ It was so sweet!

  91. Hailey says...

    One of my neighbors in our apartment complex has set out a small table outside of their door with a couple pots of plants, a photo quote about kindness, and a small bowl they regularly fill with candy or other snacks! It is so sweet and I have been meaning to leave a kind note of gratitude for brightening my day. I recently saw a coloring book page from a local kid colored and wrote a nice thank you message for them! It’s such a simple act, but truly means a lot and really makes the hallway look nice too!

  92. Elizabeth says...

    I’m going through an IVF stim cycle and my cat came home with fleas yesterday which means two to three weeks of de-fleaing our house and my emotional bandwidth is shot. I needed stories like this to let me know that somewhere, in some pockets of time and place, things are all right.

    • Kathryn says...

      I found two fleas on my dog last week, just at a time I could not handle adding one more thing to my to do list. Know there is another harried person out there vacuuming up fleas everyday as well!

      Also, many positive thoughts with your IVF. Regardless of how it happens, I know you will make the family you long for, and it will be intentional and beautiful.

    • Katelyn says...

      Thank you. Your comment makes me feel less alone. I also needed stories like this. Just got done with my second stim cycle on Tuesday, hoping for this one to be a success! Best of luck to you <3

    • Heather says...

      Elizabeth,

      “…somewhere, in some pockets of time and place, things are all right.” Oh my word, this is so lovely & so well-said. I keep one of those “daily-blank-spots-book” of quotes that I love (well, it’s two books now) and this is being jotted down right now!! Thank you!

      Another goodie, .. its something like “when things look like they’re falling apart, in hindsight you may see that they were falling into place.”

      Keep your head up and heart tender towards yourself during your IVF journey.

      Have A Great Day, On Purpose,
      Heather

    • Brianna Glenn says...

      I’m sorry things are so hard right now, Elizabeth! Will say a prayer for you and your family that the IVF results in joyous news and a new, extraordinary path!

    • E says...

      Hand in there Elizabeth! I know all too well the struggles of IVF and having something awful happen on top of it feels like you are being crushed with the weight. Sending you hope for a successful cycle and all my good vibes. xoxoxo.

    • K says...

      So sorry Elizabeth… Going through a stim cycle is overwhelming as it is with all the appointments and medications! I can’t imagine. Will be thinking of you…wishing you strength and encouragement.

  93. Emily says...

    I was recovering from a difficult surgery and I was so bummed about having to miss a family wedding (I seriously LOVE weddings!). The day of, I received an invitation – homemade and from my husband – cordially inviting me to a 2 person wedding in our home. He got cheese squares and spicy mustard; he made salmon and fingerling potatoes; he prepared a playlist – he even gave a fake toast.. “and thank you to the bride’s parents, you throw a helluva party, and your daughter has never looked lovelier”… etc.

    As with all these wonderful acts of kindness – it was everything I didn’t even know I needed to lift me out of the pits.

    • Annie says...

      OMG, husband of the year!!

    • Elizabeth says...

      This is such a lovely story – what a keeper!

    • agnes says...

      that’s quite amazing! your husband seriously loves you!

    • Fay says...

      This is the best.

    • Kat says...

      ADORABLE! Ah, so sweet.

  94. Christie says...

    This still gives me the warm and fuzzies when I think about it: When I broke up with a live-in boyfriend of six years, I decided to go to my parents’ for a week. I didn’t want to be there while he was packing, and DEFINITELY didn’t want to be there when he left for the last time.

    Sometime during that week, my best friend got into the apartment, replaced all of the bedding with brand new, just-for-me sheets and blankets (!), stocked the cabinets with my favorite snacks, and put vases of flowers all over the place. It was such a sweet, thoughtful surprise when I walked into the apartment after a traumatic week AND traumatic flight home (someone threw up on me and it was delayed four hours!). I didn’t even think about buying new bedding for myself, but it was honestly a game changer, and made it feel like the bed was mine, allllll mine.

    • Rezia says...

      Changing the bedding! What an incredible, sweet gesture!

  95. Dakota says...

    I’m reminded of this poem that I stumbled upon recently, which gives me goosebumps every time I read it:

    Small Kindnesses
    By Danusha Laméris

    I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
    down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
    to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
    when someone sneezes, a leftover
    from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
    And sometimes, when you spill lemons
    from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
    pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
    We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
    and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
    at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
    to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
    and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
    We have so little of each other, now. So far
    from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
    What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
    fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
    have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

    I’m in complete agreement that these kindnesses between strangers are “the true dwelling of the holy”.

    • Millie says...

      What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Stephanie says...

      What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kat says...

      Wow, that poem made me tear up.

  96. Sandra says...

    I love reading all of these. I have so many of those moments when someone reached out, wrote a note, etc. I think it is especially comforting when it isn’t from someone close and it’s kind of unexpected. But my most recent one came from my sister, who lives out of state. I had called her in tears to let her know that we had found out our 9 y.o. son is autistic (and has ADHD and OCD). She sent us a box of cupcakes and a note that said something along the lines of “you are a tough cookie…you’ve got this.” It was exactly what I needed. I didn’t want to hear “I’m sorry” because we aren’t…we love who our son is. But I was really scared because trying to educate myself and advocate for my son at school seems so overwhelming at times. I worry that functioning in a world that isn’t set up for him will be so hard, and my husband and I won’t be here for him forever. At that moment I really needed some words of encouragement (and maybe some cupcakes), and it was such a sweet gesture that really touched me.

  97. Midwest mom says...

    I was so overwhelmed at the end of maternity leave by the thought of returning to work and leaving my baby. I’ve never felt so irrational in my whole life, my heart would race and I would hyperventilate and imagine all the things that could go wrong. Everyone acknowledged that yes, it would be hard, but both of us would be fine. So I just stopped saying anything when people asked me about returning to work. I just thought everyone was equipped to handle being away frommtheir baby except for me.

    Then my aunt, who has never really told me any personal stories, casually mentioned when she had to bring her son to daycare the first time she was so distressed she bought a pack of cigarettes and chain-smoked them before going into work. This woman is pretty straightedge! It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. I felt totally heard and comforted.

    • Momma here too says...

      Oh, I totally relate! I was completely BROKEN UP when I had to return to work too, and felt like I was the only one here who couldn’t handle it, in comparison to a lot of other moms who seem to have seamless transitions. It feels good to hear solidarity with peers.

    • alexis says...

      One of my good friends, on her first day back at work, came into my office and shut the door and cried because it was so hard. She’s a pretty level-headed person, so that stayed with me and when I was getting ready to come back to work after my first baby, I felt less alone because she’d been there and would be there for me too.

  98. Elspeth says...

    I did long distance for three years with my now husband (we got to live in the same place at long last as of August this year yay!).
    After one great visit we were saying goodbye at the airport. We had no idea when the next visit would be. I had managed to keep it together until the very last minute before going through security. The tears were flooding down my face as I handed the security officer my passport (very ugly sniffly crying, from someone who rarely cries in front of others!). He waved me through and as I was walking through the line, came up to me with some tissues. Without a word he handed them to me. He probably thought nothing of it but at that moment it was the sweetest thing. He was there when I kissed my man goodbye and saw my face erupt. And without making a big deal of it just thrilled my heart with some much needed Kleenex. To me that is kindness!

  99. Jessie says...

    Same!!

  100. Alex says...

    Okay now I’m crying at my desk!!

  101. Riley says...

    When I was 41+ weeks pregnant, my good friend who had JUST (I’m talking 5 weeks postpartum) had a baby wanted to pass along everything she’d learned in her difficult recovery. She sent me everything needed for a sitz bath, and gathered a box of ice packs and those mesh undies. I remember staring at the box feeling a little daunted! I was so grateful for all of it, and didn’t realize until I had my own 5 week old how extraordinary it was that she was thinking of me at all.

  102. Joaquina says...

    Sarah’s ‘at school home-sickness’ story gave me goose bumps. I would have loved this as a kid with such anxiety on first days of school!

    Thank you for focusing on kindness, we need so much of it especially during a time of divisiveness in many political climates.

  103. Anneka says...

    I was on the subway in NYC the other morning, standing because it was rush hour, and not happy about it because I was feeling incredibly nauseous from morning sickness. As I stood there I must have looked as sick as I felt, because this incredibly sweet young guy got up and gave me his seat and a couple of peppermint candies. It is so easy to feel anonymous in NYC, and also so easy to feel isolated in your first trimester suffering, so his gesture felt like such a small but meaningful act of connection and kindness when I really needed it.

    • Julie says...

      This is so sweet! I can relate as I am in the same boat only taking a bus every day into San Fran. Feeling so nauseous from morning sickness and suffering in secret! You are not alone :)

    • Lauren E. says...

      New Yorkers are a strange and generous bunch. I tripped and fell up the stairs once running for the train, and no less than 3 people stopped to ask if I was okay, meaning they also missed the train.

      One time I saw a young girl pass out on the subway, and strangers rallied around to catch her, sit her down, give her hard candy when she came to, and then escort her off the train at the next station. This city can surprise you sometimes.

  104. Winter Blue says...

    I saw a sweet sign in front of a church yesterday that reminds me of this “Be kind if possible. And it’s always possible.”

    It’s so true!

    • kd says...

      Always. Love this. Xx

  105. We are moving this weekend. A woman I know from school, but not particularly well (her son and mine are in the same class) – we’re not close friends or anything – casually mentioned, “Oh! Maybe we can take your boys when you move. It would be fun to have a playdate.” I agreed that yes, that would be fun, but honestly didn’t think about it again. So many people had offered help with one thing or another, but in a very casual way. That night, this woman followed up and offered to take our boys for the entire day, to pick them up in the morning, drop them off at night, and to even bring my younger son to his soccer game. They asked about my son’s food allergies and were just all around thoughtful and lovely. I couldn’t believe their generosity and our luck! From this I learned that it is always nice and kind to offer help, but it is not always easy for someone else to take you up on the offer. I would have never called her up and asked her if she could take our kids while we move apartments! But she made it happen. Moving forward, I will make sure to make it happen when I offer my help.

  106. Mary J. says...

    I am a teacher in Seattle, WA and our high school just suffered the loss of a student because of a fentanyl overdose caused by a counterfeit drug. Unfortunately, we are not the only school in our region to experience this tragedy. Yesterday, one of the schools (who also lost a child last week) sent our school flowers. As a teacher in mourning, the kindness shown with this simple gesture is beyond measure.

    • Kathleen says...

      I’m from Seattle too, and friends with the mother of the student who died. This story was a kindness to me today. Thank you, Mary.

    • Emily says...

      Heartbreaking. I am thinking of your community and of this child’s family and parents. xo

    • jules says...

      What is bizarre as that I’m reading this in Minneapolis and know who you are talking about. Chilling. RIP N.

  107. Wink says...

    I have a kindness story to share as well. When I was in my 20s, living in NYC away from the rest of my family, holidays in particular could feel really lonesome. Though I am not practicing anymore, I decided to go to church on Easter to hear the music and make the day feel a little more special and familiar. Well, stupidly, I left my purse on my chair at communion and my wallet got stolen! (In St. John the Divine, ya’ll! Have they no shame?) I was supposed to be meeting friends for a brunch downtown later and I suddenly realized I had no money, no card, no key even. It was in my wallet. Thankfully, a roommate let me back in at my apartment and kindly spotted me some money to get downtown to meet my friends. But! As I ran down the steps of the subway at 59th street, I fell. I was going at a real clip so I tumbled down the stairs like a Hollywood stunt woman–all in my Easter dress. When I got to the bottom of the staircase, I was pretty busted up, my stockings were torn and my knees were bleeding. In typical NYC fashion, a bunch of people just went, “WHOA! WTF!” and kind of laughed. And at that, I just crumpled up on the step and started to cry because it hurt and because I was embarrassed, and after the wallet-snatch in church, it felt like insult to injury. Then I heard a woman’s voice say, “I’m just going to sit right here with you for a minute,” and she handed me a tissue. After I’d gotten ahold of myself, this kind woman asked me what train I needed to get home and she said she was on that one, too. She rode with me the whole way back uptown and got off at my stop and walked me right to my door. And before I left, she dug into her purse and handed me a chocolate egg! Again, not really religious anymore, but I do think that day I had an Earth Angel. If by some random chance, she is reading this: Kind lady, it’s been twenty-five years and I have forgotten your name, but I have never forgotten your kindness!!

    • Marie says...

      I don’t think I could make it NYC, yikes! In Iowa, this kind of kindness is expected, and totally the norm!

  108. H. says...

    Last year, I had to get my wisdom teeth out (at 31 years old). I’d been at my job for about nine months and wasn’t super close with any coworkers, but the afternoon after the surgery, a delivery man showed up with two pints of fancy Jeni’s ice cream that my department had arranged for. Totally unexpected and so thoughtful.

    • celeste says...

      My new boss recently thanked me and gave me a $25 gift card after my review. Being a married mother of two, you don’t really get stuff often.

  109. Nykayla Green says...

    I’m not crying 😭, you’re crying!

  110. Becca says...

    After my first daughter was born I was totally overwhelmed. She wouldn’t nurse or sleep and I couldn’t do anything but cry and stare. A friend asked if she could stop by with food and magazines for us and I just never texted her back. And then I felt guilty for that, cue more crying and staring. At some point that evening my husband opened our apartment door to find dinner, magazines, tea, glitter nail polish (!) and a note from my friend saying that she loved me and would see me when I was ready, but would be there even when I wasn’t. I mean – what a friend!! Esp. considering she took the metro from the city to the suburbs to drop it all off!

  111. Nicole says...

    Five years ago my Grandfather, who was my father-figure growing up, passed away leaving me in that deep mourning that you experience when you know that your world has changed forever. It wasn’t that it was a shock- he was old and had lived a great life- it was mourning his end as well as mourning of the specific comfort and security that you’ve always known.
    That spring, I made my annual trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. I knew I wanted to hear Irma Thomas’ Gospel set- I’m not even a Christian, but her Gospel set is always powerful and truly soul nourishing. It’s a can not miss. So I got to the tent that houses the Gospel stage early during the preceding set so that I could get a seat before Irma started. During the set break, the sweet late-middle aged women sitting in the seats next to my right got to chatting with me. The tent was filling up fast and it was pretty hot out that day, so I think we all felt grateful to have found our seats as well as pleasant company. One of the women got up to get lemonades before Irma’s set started and when she returned with a drink carrier she began handing them to her friends and then said “and one for Nicole”, handing me an icy cold fresh lemonade. Then Irma Thomas began her gospel set and she sang “how Great Thou Art”, the song that my Pop used to sing and I was overcome with comfort. I had been feeling a bit alone in the world and simple kindness and beautiful music really restored me when I needed it the most.

  112. Emiley says...

    Tearing up reading these and thinking of all the kindnesses I’ve been given. I can’t help think of my sister, who is my dearest friend, cheerleader, support and truly one of my life’s great loves. For Mother’s Day this year, we pooled our siblings to get our mother an arrangement from a favorite florist. When I went to pick up the beautiful bouquet, the florist handed me a second one meant for me and I immediately burst into tears and said: this is from my sister, isn’t it? (I love my husband but there was no doubt who had done this ha ha). She had a tough breakup around the new year and at a loss, I made her a photo book for valentines of photos of her throughout the years of her and my children who think of her as their “other one mother.” I wanted her to see the profound impact of her love beyond the romantic relationship that had ended. I also sent a gift card to her favorite takeout spot so she wouldn’t be buying her own valentines dinner! She is more affluent than we are, but I try to reciprocate with little things and sometimes send Venmo’s as mentioned in this post! Anyway. She is the best and is beyond generous with both her gifts and time. She is literally flying to our rural town for thanksgiving so we can see Frozen II together with my two daughters, because sisters are forever and so important. I love her more than I can say and she has literally showered me with love and kindness from birth.

    • Pearl says...

      This is so sweet! I am moved to tears by your wonderful, caring relationship.

    • Anna says...

      Emiley, as someone who has a sister that I cherish as the most unconditionally and unselfishly loving person in my life (growing up not feeling close to my parents, she was — and is — the fundamental support of my world), this was lovely to read.

    • Genna says...

      What a sweet tribute to your sister and a testament to your relationship.

    • joana says...

      i feel exactly the same about my baby sister, we’re each other’s soulmates, each other’s person, we always come first. neither of us has children (yet) and we wonder sometimes if what we have will change when that happens… but your comment made me sure it won’t. thank you for sharing :)

  113. When backpacking in Europe a while ago, my friends and I ran onto a train in Vienna under the mistaken impression that the tickets we had were good for another ride. Well, they weren’t, and when the ticket collector came around and we had no tickets and not enough cash, he just muttered something angrily in German and told us to follow him. He began to escort us off the train at the next stop, while we panicked, trying to explain we had a flight to catch and wouldn’t make it if we got off, and could we please just pay for our tickets when we got to our stop? He ignored us. Then an elderly gentleman got up, began speaking to the ticket collector in German. We didn’t understand much, except I think I caught the word ‘touristen’. Finally, he pulled out some money, and the ticket collector took it. He paid for our tickets! The ticket collector left us alone then, and the elderly man sat down and chatted to us (in English) about our travels as we thanked him profusely. I will never forget it.

  114. Hayley says...

    I love this post. So many of these acts of kindness made me tear up!

    A few years ago my husband (then fiancé) and I were spending a long weekend in NYC. We woke up on Monday to a phone call from his doctor confirming that a lump he has found was cancer. In our shock and rush to get home we left the car keys in the hotel room. When we got to Grand Central my husband got back on the subway to get the keys while I waited for him at the station. It was sitting alone in the station that everything hit me and I started crying and crying. I assumed I would be pretty much invisible in the middle of Grand Central, but instead a man came up, handed me a bottle of water and sat next to me quietly, letting me cry until my husband returned. I think of him ALL the time.

    • Hayley says...

      And my husband is completely healthy now! And he is such a fan of the surprise Venmo. He sends them to friends and family- always labeled as payment for “kale salad.”

    • kaela says...

      Love this. Sending good thoughts to that stranger. Presence makes all the difference. SO glad your husband is doing well. The world needs his sense of humor! Xx

  115. Emily says...

    We just lost our sweet dog of 14.5 years. To say he was the heart of our family is an understatement. I don’t think my husband and I were prepared for the gravity of the loss. I was also unprepared for the outpouring of kindness our family received. We realized on a Saturday morning we needed to put him to sleep. The vet couldn’t come to our home until 4 pm that day. We let a few neighbors who were close with him know they could come say goodbye and shortly, a small parade of children came by the home-most had grown up with our dog. I watched 13 year old boys lie down with him on a blanket in our front yard in the sunshine and thank him. Smaller children who once were afraid of dogs came to say goodbye and with them, their grateful mothers. It was so beautiful and sad. In the days following our loss, we have received cards, letters, photos, and even a painting of him commissioned by my best friend. People have sent little toys to our other dog, who is missing him very much. In knowing how very loved he was, our family has felt such love and kindness and deep gratitude.

    • Colleen says...

      Oh my heart! He must’ve been the greatest of good boys to receive so many warm farewells from your community. Sorry for your loss, Emily.

    • Emma says...

      People can be so thoughtful! It reminds me of when our family dog died when I was in college. I was across the country and didn’t have a chance to see her one last time before my parents had to put her to sleep. My mom knew how upset that made me and a few days later I got the children’s book Dog Heaven from her in the mail. It was such a simple thing but made me feel so much less alone.

    • Katie N says...

      Oh my heart. This is so beautiful to picture. My young son adores our neighborhood dogs as we don’t have our own. Dogs can bring so much joy to a community and it’s clear your boy did just that. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Sarah says...

      Oh my goodness, this is the comment that sent me over the edge into tears. A conversation on kindness would be remiss not to mention dogs and their daily small kindnesses: tail wags, playful pounces, and patience as we cry into their fur through all sorts of heartbreak and change. Sending you lots of love.

  116. Christie says...

    I love these stories. I try to read the comments section on here because everyone has such thoughtful comments on here (so unique I must say).

    To add my own story, I was in my first months of my first job, and got mugged. I decided to report it, and I must say, the kindness of everyone I barely knew was overwhelming to this day. The sweet very young detective on my case checked up on me to make sure things were well every few months, offered to drive me to work whenever I felt unsafe. The hardware store owner on the corner of my block gave me a verbal checklist of things to switch out (keys etc). My building super heard the news and without asking came to change my locks and checked up on me periodically. The cell phone sales rep I had bought a new phone from the day before gave me an upgrade with no charge. My new coworkers offered to drive me home from work (I took the train). And on and on. In NYC.

    • Sonja says...

      This is beyond lovely! It warms my heart that you had such wonderful people surrounding you.

  117. Beth says...

    My husband and I were backpacking in Sequoia National Park with another couple. On the second night at sunset, five miles into the backcountry, my friend misstepped and broke three bones in her foot. It was so scary. Here is was dark, five miles from the trailhead, no cell service, and we had a medical emergency. It was one of the hardest nights of my life- I carried my friend’s backpack and mine (weighing a total of 80 pounds or roughly half my body weight). My husband carried his pack and her husband’s (probably about 100 pounds). My friend’s husband carried her in a piggy back for five miles- that’s love! But the best part of this story, is that as we came down the trailhead, some people staying at the cabin saw our headlamps. They had heard from other hikers about our situation and they met us on the trail with sandwiches, beer, and ibuprofen. It was a one lane, dark road and a 40 minute drive to the nearest town and we were so exhausted. They offered to let us stay in their cabin with them and drive to the hospital in the morning. Even though it felt a little scary at first, it was the right decision. I’ve never forgotten their generosity. I often question if I would do the same if the situation were reversed. People are amazing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wow that’s so beautiful.

  118. Jillian says...

    Just sitting at my desk crying overe here…`

    • Olivia says...

      Samesies. Gotta love a good COJ lunch cry!

  119. Lily says...

    These are the loveliest and most endorphin-producing posts to read! Also, it is one of my lifetime aspirations to become a local bakery regular. What a lovely man he sounds like.

  120. Lizzie C. says...

    When my dad died, one of my closest friends was living on another continent but still wanted to comfort me. So she asked her parents (who live nearby) to bake cookies and mail them to me. The cookies arrived in a padded envelope, a little crushed but still delicious and totally out of the blue. Thinking about it reminds me that when it comes to kindness, anything is better than nothing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and sometimes it turns out perfectly anyway.

  121. Cece says...

    Oh gosh. I’m having a rough day, living on fumes instead of sleep while my 13-week-old baby goes through some kind of huge regression (babies be babies!) and trying to keep on top of family life and plan my daughter’s birthday party this weekend. Just generally feeling fragile and emotional and like the world is this huge bustling mean place I’m out of sync with, but this has just reminded me of all the kindness out there and now I’m flooded with good tears rather than sad.

    • Steph says...

      The newborn days are dark! Reminding you that things will get better and that you aren’t alone! xo

    • Olivia says...

      Sleep regressions are HARD! Hang in there, mama. This, too, shall pass. xo

    • M says...

      Hang in there. Mine are 12 and 10 now, and I remember that running-on-fumes feeling well. My go-to escape was a hot shower. Hope you find what works for you — and it’ll pass soon! Big hugs from a stranger.

    • Lindsay says...

      You can do it! We just got past a sleep regression over here, and it’s hard to be a good mom on three hours of sleep! But you got this. Keep some chocolate in your nightstand drawer.

    • Charlotte says...

      Hang in there Cece, hours are long but time goes by no matter what and you are going to get some sleep soon. I remember those days when I would finally come out of the house at 5pm to walk down the street with my tiny baby in a babycarrier, un-showered, super anxious about the baby needing a feed, to the organic store and find friendly faces and “normal” life. Times are tough now but you come out of the tunnel and then you forget about those dark days, promised !

    • Nora B says...

      Hang in there, Cece! It will get better. I’m planning my daughter’s bday this weekend too….she’ll be three on Sunday. It’s okay to feel fragile–know you are not alone. Deep breaths, a bath, and tea always help me. Big hugs, friend.

  122. Katie says...

    My dad committed suicide last year. The day it happened, some of our close friends left pizza on the porch. They didn’t call, they didn’t stop by to hang out(which I’m forever thankful for). They just left the pizza. We have two small children and so do they, so it really helped us out that night, and it was sweet for them to take a moment from their busy school evening to do that for us.

    • Fiona says...

      I’m so sorry this happened, and I’m so glad you have friends who love and understand you so well to give you what you needed at just the worst time. Sending hugs!

    • kathy says...

      to katie …

      i am so sorry about your father’s death, the losses and feelings …
      yet gladdened by your friends’ kindness.

      i wish you all peace and will pray for that, too.

      kathy

    • Emily says...

      I am so sorry, Katie.

    • Margaret says...

      That is so terrible, I am so sorry for your tragic loss

  123. Katherine says...

    I have an 8-month-old baby and work remotely from home in New Mexico for a company on the east coast (just started this job in July). A couple months ago, my husband, baby and I were in a serious car accident that totaled my car. I’m so grateful we were all OK health-wise, but we were incredibly sore, exhausted and struggling to manage our routine with one car. My husband works downtown (20 minute commute) and I do daycare drop-off/pick-up. Two days after the accident, I cried in my daily team meeting (couldn’t help it!) because I was feeling so sore and overwhelmed. After the meeting, my team sent me chocolate-covered strawberries, and a coworker who lives locally but was traveling offered to let me use her car for the weeks she was gone. This was SUCH a game-changer for us. I am SO grateful for the kind hearts of new coworkers!!

  124. Kari says...

    When I was in college, I was preparing to move abroad for a semester. My then-boyfriend dumped me unexpectedly the night before I was meant to leave. I was devastated, to say the least, when I needed to be packing for the semester as well as packing up the rest of the house for a move when I returned. I sent a text to a friend that night relaying the news, and I woke up to my whole group of girlfriends at my house. They brought cupcakes and Baileys and coffee, and they stayed all day to help me finish packing before I left on a red-eye. I mostly cried on my bed while they worked around me and took turns comforting me. At the airport, I found they had packed my carry-on with treats and an encouraging card. It was such a show of kindness and the power of close girlfriends.

    • Audrey says...

      omg I love this! Nothing better than great friends.

  125. Lorna says...

    Oh my gosh getting teary at my desk over here! Needed this today. People are so so so good. Thank you for gathering up all of these gems for sharing.

    • Katie says...

      SAME LORNA. SAME.

    • Abby says...

      ME too! This is so overwhelming. I hope to give and receive some of this kindness one day. xo

  126. Pam says...

    This was just what I needed today. Thank you Cup of Jo!
    I have a story to keep the kindness and hope going.
    Years ago, I moved in with a boyfriend who after a month, woke me up one morning and said he wanted to break up. As if that wasn’t shocking enough to be woken up with, he also said he wanted me out by the time he’d be back from work.
    I sobbingly called a friend who in turn called our other 2 dear friends and they each took a sick day from work. They headed straight over to help me pack up all my stuff and move me into a friend’s spare room till I got back on my feet. The completely random and hilarious thing a friend did before we left was reposition the clothes of the stuffed bear so it looked like it would be mooning the now ex boyfriend as he came in through door.

    • Calla says...

      That is truly horrifying. I’m glad you had such good friends to help you out!

  127. Sarah says...

    I feel better that I’m not the only one crying at my desk. I need to hear more stories like these. Thank you for sharing them.

  128. Sarah says...

    Thank you CoJ XXxxxx

  129. KP says...

    I experienced just a fraction of Julia’s comment about her dad and the bakery. When my grandfather passed, the little local newspaper posted his obituary on their Facebook page. I saw two teenagers post and tag each other in the comments referencing to him as a regular at the restaurant they worked at. The sweet things they said about him in those comments that weren’t really meant for anyone but each other warmed my heart like nothing else in those tough days.

    • Charlotte says...

      so sweet !

    • M says...

      KP, that is so touching. When my dad retired, his school made a Facebook post about him on his last day. So many current and former students commented with stories about him, jokes, and well-wishes, and I cried at my desk watching them come in. Watching strangers bear witness to the wonderfulness that is our loved ones is one of the most beautiful and heartwarming things.

  130. Katie says...

    I really enjoyed reading these this morning, but I also bawled my eyes out. Off to redo my make-up…

  131. Lynn says...

    Much like everyone else, these got my eyes going. Just what I needed. Also good for those needing a dose of kindness… https://www.wbur.org/kindworld

  132. Rebecca says...

    In May we moved our family from DC to Ann Arbor for a promotion that my husband received. I left a wonderful job and many dear friends. I was also 8 months pregnant. It was hard leaving friends, a job a I loved and adjusting to life in a new city…all while very pregnant and chasing around a rambunctious toddler. However, everywhere I went, I was greeted with kindness and kind acts: when grocery shopping people offered (and did!) to push my cart to the car and unload it, people in stores bought me flowers to congratulate the new baby, they stopped to entertain my toddler while I calmed the baby and some even worked their magic and got the baby to sleep while I finished checking out. I was blown away by these selfless acts of kindness and it made adjusting to a new city a little easier.

    • Sandy Avis says...

      Gotta love A2! GO BLUE!

  133. A few years ago I had a new baby and a toddler and I had ordered groceries. As I let the delivery man in I cringed realizing my house and I looked disgusting. Maybe noticing I was embarrassed, or perhaps intuiting I hadn’t talked to a grown up all day, he was SO kind and thoughtful and funny. It was only a few minutes, but I burst into tears as soon as he left. I was so grateful for the unexpected soft space he created that was so needed.

  134. MG says...

    While in the deli line at the grocery store last week, a woman commented on my headband. I told her I had made it myself. Completely (!!) out of character for me, I asked her if she wanted me to make one for her. She said sure…and looked at me like I was nuts. She texted her address to me and I sent her 3 headbands I made that very afternoon. Not blowing my own horn here…just saying how nice it feels to do a random nicey once in awhile! Hopefully she will pass it along to someone else :)

    • Rezia says...

      I love this story of spontaneous kindness! I bet she was over the moon!

    • Kari B says...

      I love this comment! And as much as I’ve loved reading all the comments about people who’ve had kindness showed to them, it’s nice to hear a story from the other side. I find myself wanting to do kind things for other people all the time but then get absolutely gripped by insecurity and self-doubt before I actually do anything (what if they don’t like what I give them, what if they just want to be left alone, will they think I’m weird?). I really like how you made yourself vulnerable to this woman and just went for it! I’d love to hear more stories of people doing kind things and the way they overcame their self-doubt in order to do them.

    • Diane McMinds says...

      Kari B- do what is in your heart! I did something kind for a set of strangers and my friends asked my kids what was going on… they said, “it’s what Mom does”. Maybe it isn’t perfect, but maybe you will open the eyes of someone who will follow your lead. How amazing would that be?

  135. Allyson says...

    The CoJ comment section is a breath of fresh air. I’m tearing up at my desk and thinking about my favorite kind gestures given and received. I can’t ignore all the harsh, scary, uncertain things happening but I can protect the good, kind, lovely things. Happy Thursday, CoJ friends!

  136. jdp says...

    these are like the antidote to all the other comments and commenters everywhere, not to mention the general mood of current events. i don’t know how you coax the best out of people, but i wish your methods would spread.

  137. Ruth says...

    THIS post is an act of kindness in and of itself. So great to be reminded that there is light and goodness in the world. Really needed this this week. Thank you! ::HUGS::

  138. AhoyV says...

    I loved reading each of these . . . grabbing a hanky now.

    • Emily says...

      I was having a very hard time two years ago (job ended, school ended, relationship ended, I had to move from the place we shared, parents sold our childhood home after finalizing their divorce etc.) The straw that broke the camel’s back was that my school wasn’t going to let me graduate on a technicality which meant I couldn’t do my registration exams which are offered once a year. Long story short, I was 110% overwhelmed, pacing around with house with no idea where to pick up the pieces of my broken life when I called my best friend crying. She said “I’m coming over”, came over, chatted with me for a while and then washed the dishes on the counter and in the sink for me before giving me a hug and going home.

      To date it was one of the kindest, most impactful moments of my life. She just found one small part of my life she could help with to make me feel less overwhelmed and it made all the difference.

      Also, my other kindest moment was when I had debilitating cramps in the middle of the night and my boyfriend at the time went to the convenience store at 3am to get me painkillers. It was the most thoughtful thing!

  139. Meg says...

    I love the idea of a random Venmo, I’ve never heard of it before, but what a simple way to show somebody you’re thinking about them! I’m definitely going to do this soon.

    • Meredith says...

      I hadn’t really thought about it before either! My sister commented on our family group chat that she isn’t feeling well, so I just sent her chicken soup $$$. So simple and so fun!!!!!

  140. M says...

    I very much needed to read this today and am sitting at my desk crying now.

    I am struggling so much with parenting and working. I enjoy working and want to work, but i feel like I just can’t keep up with parenting little ones at the same time. I want them to get home-cooked meals and get to do crafts and have family activities, but I can’t find the time. And I worry that when they compare themselves to other kids they will realize that they are getting less of me than the other kids are getting of their moms.

    It is so hard to love someone so much and to be responsible for so much of their life.

    • Dear M, you probably won’t see this but just in case: you are not alone. This time is SO hard. If you can, let go of the things you don’t really need to do. (for me, a foodie, this was home cooked meals. I swear they do not care.) Someday when they are older, you will find you can probably swing back around to cooking and crafting or whatever idyllic activity you have in mind. And it will be fun! Life will change and expand, and you will grow into parenting more. (I think this actually takes years, not months.) For now, just let yourself get through this time. It is okay to do this. Give yourself some grace. You are doing awesome. ~fellow struggling working mama

    • Celeste says...

      I see you. I hear you. I don’t have parents. When it became clear I couldn’t get my husband’s nod to hire cleaners or ramp my career back, I found part time work. Everything is only a stage. I hope things get better for you.

    • C says...

      In my brief (14 yrs) foray into parenting I have come to understand that it is more about quality of time then quantity. There are many gifts we can give our children and being fully present (as much as possible) is one of the greatest.
      I would like to say too that we all worry about whether we are doing enough. I promise! Just that you are thinking about this shows how deeply you care. ❤️

    • Kelli says...

      Aw sweet friend, I hear you. I also work full time with a young daughter, and often curse myself for missing the opportunities to do mommy-daughter yoga at 10 am on Thursday, or mommy-daughter story time at 3 pm on Tuesday at the library. But I tell myself this constantly, and am telling you now with the UTMOST conviction- it’s quality not quantity that matters to your kids. I grew up with two working parents who had an hour long commute each direction, and on top of it my dad traveled a lot for business! But I swear, I NEVER felt short-changed, I NEVER felt unloved or lonely or jealous of my friends who had stay-at-home parents. Because when my parents were there, they were THERE. And they always made it so clear to my sister and me that we were their number one priority, no matter what. Although our family wasn’t together 24-7, we were NOT short on love. So tell yourself that next time you feel guilty. Plus, I believe you’re setting a good example for your kids by going to work every day, tough mama!

    • Jessica says...

      Kids don’t think like that. It’s obvious from your post that you adore them, and that’s enough–in fact it’s everything. That’s what they will remember and hold with them as they grow.

      Also, crafts are highly overrated. Chin up. : )

    • Jill says...

      M – You are giving them something else by being a model for them; showing them they can have a career they enjoy AND be a good mom! I like to think that all good moms have struggled with the same (I certainly do!!). My now five year old helped me to see the bigger picture. At her preschool graduation, the kids had to walk across the stage, accept their little diploma and say what they wanted to be when they grew up. My daughter confidently said that she wanted to be a doctor and a mom. At that moment I felt a small sense of pride that she not only recognized that she could do both, but wanted to do both. Then, in typical toddler fashion, all the little girls after said they wanted to be a doctor and a mom when they grew up too.

    • Leanne says...

      Oh, M. I’m also a working mom (with two fairly littles). Sometimes, I stress about saying “no” while running around trying to make dinner at the end of the day. I worry about them being the first and last at daycare every day. But you know how I know you’re an amazing mom? Because you have these worries.

      Because I’m “too busy” I’ve seen the kindness grow between our kiddos – my son reading stories to his little sister when I said I needed a minute, the imaginative play that they create and I’d get in the way of. I’m trying to take time to draw with them on weekend mornings (I’m just not a “craft mom” as much as I want to be). We have Friday night pizza parties with a movie when we’re all exhausted, and more “picnic” dinners than we probably should. The things they’ll remember about childhood are the moments that happen when my husband and I are just too tired to deal.

      Your kids will grow up knowing they’re loved. And they’ll also be independent. They’ll have the same fears someday, and you’ll be able to hold them tight and say that you worried too and they turned out just fine. (At least, that’s what I’m hoping for with mine.)

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      I’m right there with you. My kindergartner cries every morning because she is the only one taken to school by a nanny and not a parent. She doesn’t realize that about half her class stays until 5 because those parents also work but she gets to go home because of said nanny.

      Most of the time I’m not bothered by the guilt. I firmly believe that these are not the ways we will mess up our children (that will be done by the things we are not aware of). Plus, I had a mom that did ALL the crafts and was there ALL the time and cooked ALL the food and it was great but it wasn’t everything. It came with its share of crap.

      If you love your work then you must do it for yourself. You deserve to be fulfilled.

    • Daisy says...

      Just wonderful to read all these comments. Also I find it amazing, that we remember the kindness someone else showered us, but we tend to forget our own kind acts. I have had acquaintances tell me how thankful they were that I offered to drop them off them after work at their home with or some random stuff that I don’t remember at all. One random act of kindness I remember is I boarded a train to meet my then BF (we were in a long distance relationship) and realized that I had booked the ticket with the correct date but incorrect month and I barely had any money on me to rebook the ticket. One kind passenger paid the fare for me and it is something that I would never forget.

    • Heather says...

      Speaking as both a working mom myself and someone whose mom worked, I echo all these same thoughts that its quality over quantity and also just want to emphasize to go easy on yourself!

      My mom worked (super awesome programmer) and it never occurred to me that I was somehow getting a worse deal than kids with a stay at home mom. I ever felt anything, but proud of her, inspired by her, and loved by her.

      So much so that when I’ve struggled with spending extra time at work, my parents had to remind me there were plenty of times they worked late or even travelled. I just don’t really even remember it – somehow that all faded into the background and her love and support is what’s left.

      The whole idea of stay at home moms being better wasn’t on my radar until my in-laws put it there – which goes to show its society that creeps in and puts pressure on us.

      Also about all those things like making homemade fancy dinners – you can create traditions (even with quick ‘not real’ meals!) without spending all that time. It’s the traditions and meaningful time together that will stay with the kids. At least it’s all I tell myself!

    • heather says...

      M – you are exactly perfect for your children. You don’t need to ‘keep up with’ or ‘compare’ yourself to anyone. You aren’t ‘less than’ anyone. As a mother, you are enough.

    • C says...

      M – you’re a great mamma, I can tell!

      I’m a new mom that works full time and I feel the same way many days. But, my overwhelming sense that my husband and I both deserve a career if we want one helps to keep me on track. I want to inspire my son that work is challenging and fulfilling and rewarding. And, I do it for me; if my feelings towards work change, the way I find balance can change, too. I’m not crossing any bridges until I reach the river. Not every situation and career path can allow for that, but I hope you feel you have balance options. Sometimes the first step is giving ourselves permission to not try to do it all (hint: no one is doing it all).

      I grew up with two working parents, and had several nannies. My parents are five star. And, an added pro is that the nannies were also wonderful influences on me and my sisters. Having them taught me that I can have other adults to trust and how to have relationships with adults besides my parents and how to respect different perspectives. One of my favorite memories is our one nanny would let us have “orange lunch” as a treat – Mac & cheese, carrots, and clementine. Not gourmet, not my parents, but still radiated love. I felt I was lucky because I had more “parents” who showered us with love.

      I do a lot of training at work, and something I always encourage people to do is to shadow lots of people, because we all have our tricks. Over my life, I’ve learned so much from babysitters and nannies, teachers and coaches, peers and friends, etc. Think as these other caregivers as resources that get to open your kids’ eyes in fresh and unique ways. And remember, you’ll always be the momma.

    • M says...

      Thank you all so much for these incredibly kind replies. I feel buoyed just knowing I’m not alone in feeling these hard feelings.

      Sometimes it feels like everyone else has gotten a cheat code to life that I’m still looking for, but I think that’s a lie I let myself believe. I have to remind myself, and this post and all of you help so much, that everyone has hard times, regardless of the strong front we put on.

  141. Calla says...

    I recently got dumped very unexpectedly. A friend in my cohort at school was trying to offer to take me out for a night on the town or for a manicure but finally could tell I was too sad to really engage. The next day I came home and there was a gift basket of candy waiting for me. It was so unexpected and so touching, especially because we are not particularly close.

    Multiple friends also brought me edibles even though it’s not something I usually do. I never would have thought to get them for myself but it was exactly what I needed to calm down when the situation felt overwhelming. This is now the gift I will bring everyone for a broken heart.

  142. Amy says...

    I’m not crying, you’re crying

    • Kari says...

      Is someone cutting onions? (Here in my office cubicle…?)

  143. Taylor says...

    *furiously does work because I know this comment section is going to lead to some crying at my desk*

  144. jill d. says...

    oh i love all of these! they all brought tears to my eyes….really all so lovely. thank you for sharing these with us!

  145. Alex says...

    Annnnnd I’m crying

  146. Leah A Klein says...

    My best friend and I do “virtual coffee dates” on tough days at work. We both go grab coffee at the same time, take photos and text while doing so, and just getting out of the office for 15 minutes does us a world of good – and it’s so helpful to know you’re doing it together.

    xo

  147. Annie says...

    This. This is why I love Cup of Jo. We’re all just human beings. I feel like you’re all my friends.

  148. Cait says...

    One thing that STILL makes me cry when I think about it: When my dad had a heart attack last June, one of my best friends parents, who had only met my dad once at Dad’s weekend when we were in college, heard about the heart attack from their daughter who just happened to be visiting me when it happened. They sent my family a letter expressing their hopes and wishes for a quick recovery. Knowing that one of my friends parents went out of their way to do that for my family was amazing. And it makes me love my friend even more knowing that she was raised by such amazing people.

  149. Ellie says...

    It’s been a tough week, but more like few months. This has all coincided with the time me and my newish boyfriend have been dating, so he’s been with me through it all. Mostly tough family times, but this week alone I found out my older brother got re-diagnosed with cancer (after being cancer-free for 7 years) and a random spider infestation in my apartment (just one more thing I didn’t need!).
    Anyway, the BF told me he’s bringing all of the dinner provisions for when we hang out tomorrow night and baking cookies for dessert. This is in addition to providing a lot of emotional support and listening to teary phone calls from yours truly.

    It’s just nice to feel supported by a partner for a change… something I’m not super used to, but man it feels good.

    • Claire says...

      Ellie, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s re-diagnosis (and about those pesky spiders). That’s so awful. Your boyfriend sounds lovely and I’m so happy to know that you have a kind, supportive person by your side. Your comment felt familiar to me because as I began to date my current boyfriend, I, too, was routinely taken aback by his thoughtfulness and compassion. This was an unfamiliar feeling to me, too, particularly after in my previous relationship (with my first ever boyfriend) abruptly ended and it came to light that my feelings had never been reciprocated; he’d still had feelings for another person and was just going with the motions. All this to say, I’m so sorry for this difficult news and wish you the best with your new partner: we all deserve to be loved and supported.

    • Ellie says...

      Thank you for the kind words, Claire. I am so happy to hear you were able to move on from a difficult relationship where your feelings weren’t reciprocated. That is such a tough situation and can be so devastating at the time, but it speaks volumes that you were able to move past that and find a partner who truly appreciates you (he sounds like a great guy!). You are so right that we all deserve this!

    • Frances says...

      A close friend went though a sudden marriage break up. So one night another friend and I surprised her with a whole new Manchester set for her bed and takeaway dinner. As she was still in their family home and had all the same furniture this gave her a fresh and happy place to sleep. She was so touched, we all set up the new bed and had a cry and a good laugh.

  150. Laura says...

    My heart wasn’t prepared for this. Tearing up. People can be so good to each other.