Relationships

What’s One Nice Thing Someone Has Done For You Recently?

Random Acts of Kindness

The other day, I was walking down the sidewalk minding my own business…

When a gust of wind blew my beloved cheetah-print baseball cap right off my head. It flew into the street, where it landed in the path of oncoming traffic. I stood on the curb, watching the scene play out, ultimately expecting to watch my hat get run over.

Instead, the approaching car rolled to a stop, as did the car behind it, and the car behind that one. A woman darted into the street where she retrieved my cap and handed it to me with a smile.

Honestly, the whole thing felt like a scene from a movie musical. I half expected someone to break into a spirited soft-shoe. Instead, I thanked her profusely and went on with my day, my faith in all things feeling somewhat restored.

In my neighborhood coffee shop, there is a tiny sign perched on the countertop alongside the wooden stir sticks and assorted pitchers of milk. “Remember kindness. It only takes a moment to make someone else’s day a little brighter.”

I often wondered what inspired someone to put it there. Did they witness a particularly sweet moment? Or rather, did they grow tired of watching one too many patrons not hold the door for the person behind them? (Maybe a little of both.) Either way, its point is a good one. You never know what the people around you are secretly grappling with. Sometimes, all it takes is a tiny thoughtful act to turn someone’s entire day (or week or month) around.

To that end, what’s one nice thing someone has done for you recently? It doesn’t have to cost anything or even require planning. Let’s give each other ideas so we can spread some kindness!

P.S. The strangers you see everywhere and a surprise I’m still thinking of two decades later.

  1. Midge says...

    I was having a terrible mom week and another mom who I knew through PTA came up to me, handed me a little gift, and said, “I bought an extra one a while ago and I realized today that you were the person who should have it.” It was a tiny, hand-carved wooden music box that played the Harry Potter theme. It was so unexpected, so lovely, and just… well, magical.

  2. Brittany Pfister says...

    I was early-stage pregnant and nauseous a lot. I was walking downtown, during the heat of the summer, heading to a lunch meeting. I was suddenly overcome with nausea near a grassy area with some trees. I ran behind a tree and started throwing up. There were lots of professionals walking around who took pains to avoid and ignore me (probably what I would have done, honestly).

    There were also several people on the street who looked like they could be homeless. An older woman who had been sitting on the street hurried over to me and asked how she could help. I told her I was okay in-between heaves. Not dissuaded, she took it upon herself to collect a bottle of water, paper towels, and gum from other people hanging out on the street.

    I was really surprised and touched. It open my eyes to the humanity of people who I often pass by without acknowledging.

  3. Leah says...

    I live in Florida and several years ago we got hit with a pretty bad hurricane. We were without power for over a week. We had some newish friends who got their power back within 24 hours and they invited us to come stay with them. They let us stay with them for 5 days and were amazingly kind. They fed us, made sure we felt welcomed in every way and not at all a burden. The last morning of our stay their french press coffee carafe broke and I ordered a new one on Amazon and had it sent to them the next week with a fresh bag of coffee beans as thanks for their kindness :)

  4. Denise Sommer says...

    I truly hope that I can balance out the many acts of kindness I have received in my life, by my lifetime. As I look back I think I can write a book. Here is one. My older daughter died suddenly of an asthma attack when my younger was in middle school. A mother of my younger daughter’s friend came to my home a couple of days later. She walked straight to my kitchen and stuffed my refrigerator and freezer with homemade dinners. She didn’t ask what I needed, she was just there, as many others were, somehow knowing our needs without our even asking. And now I strive to live a life as such.

    • Jen says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss Denise.

    • xo says...

      Denise, I am so sorry you lost your daughter. xo

  5. silly lily says...

    Is it appropriate to thank a dog for an act of kindness?

    Four years ago, my five week old grandson was diagnosed with an unspecified genetic syndrome. He was being tested for the most dreadful conditions, many of which were not compatible with a happy and purposeful life. Oh, and the doctors suspected cancer, too. Without question this was the darkest and most hopeless period of my life. I did my best to avoid people — I was nearly mute with grief and worry and felt powerless to express my fears.

    I leashed up my dogs and headed to the park. I was wearing sunglasses because I was more or less crying all the time (how did I not dehydrate?).
    I hurried past the dogs and their owners at the entry gate to the dog run, and settled at the solitary far end of the enclosure. Almost immediately, a large black dog strutted directly to me, and settled himself at my side. PLANTED himself, really. I started stroking his sturdy neck, thanking him for coming to sit with me, cause I really needed a friend. This went on for several minutes — me talking, him listening — when I realized that of course, I didn’t know his name. I ran my fingers through that lovely mane, until I found his ID. I actually don’t remember his name, or if I even located it at all. Instead, I felt chills as I read the tag: THERAPY DOG.

    That dog’s entire purpose in life — was kindness. As well as comfort and calm, which he inspired in me. I regret not thanking his owner as I left; I honestly don’t think I could have done so without breaking down incoherently. But obviously he or she was also a very kind person. One doesn’t nurture a therapy dog by accident.

    I am happy to report that after seven months of testing, and being taken apart and put back together again, my grandson was given a clean bill of health. He is not just okay, he is FABULOUS. He loves to hear me tell him that when I see him, the sun rises in my heart. But it was my anonymous canine buddy who first allowed me to feel that just maybe, our story would have a happy ending. So thank you, to all those beautiful, noble creatures who work without the distraction of words, pulling so many of us back into life. And hugs to those wonderful people responsible for them.

    • Haylee says...

      This really, really touched me. Thank you for sharing :)

    • Yen says...

      I love this so much.

    • Alex says...

      you are an incredible storyteller, thank you so much for this!

    • Kelly says...

      Such a lovely story, beautifully told.

    • Michelle says...

      WOW! Thanks for this.

    • Christian l Drake says...

      What a beautiful story! I’m so glad your grandson is ok!

    • Divya says...

      Tearing up reading this and being thankful for all the dogs who have made my days better <3

  6. Emily Larsen says...

    Have you seen the instagram Tiny Kindnesses? It captures and shares these types of moments. Heartwarming to know there is so much good in the world amongst all the bad. https://www.instagram.com/tinykindnesses/?hl=en

  7. Lilly says...

    I was at a water park in Florida, and lost my water shoes when we were in one of those rides. I was talking with my kids about our next steps at the park, when a lady came up with her young child, and asked me if I needed flip flops. I told her I lost mine, and she took hers off and gave them to me. I moved to return them to her, but she said don’t worry, and left. I still had quite a bit of walking to do, and was so grateful for the gesture.

  8. Ceridwen B says...

    I got a text from my Dad recently. It read “If a guy shows up at your door from Piano World, let him in. He’ll have a really big box. He has Ramzy’s number xxx”
    I told my husband, Ramzy, of the text and we were both astounded. My Dad told ramzy when he called to say thanks that it was a gift as much for them (my parents) as for us because they enjoyed knowing the pleasure it would bring our family.

  9. AJ says...

    I was (secretly) pregnant and returned from a work trip to a massive snowstorm. My husband was on his own work trip so it was up to me to clear the driveway and sidewalk. I had only cleared a tiny bit when a Medicare van rolled by, then backed up and the driver gestured to me to move off the driveway. Then he used the weight of his van, rolling up and down, to pack down the snow. He had no way of knowing how much he’d helped me, when I’d been stressing about overdoing it.

  10. Meg says...

    When I was in graduate school, one of my best friends was having a big combined bachelor/bachelorette party down in North Carolina (I was in school in Indiana). I decided to drive there for the weekend, listen to some audio books, etc. Somewhere in the hills of Tennessee, the heavens opened up and rain hit my windshield with the force of a jackhammer. When the flash storm hit, I’d been in the process of passing a semi going interstate speeds and I immediately began to hydroplane. I lost control of the car and hydroplaned underneath the semi, hit an axel, bounced back out and hit the far guard rail, coming to rest facing the wrong way into traffic. Of course, my car was completely totaled. I had glass in my eyes and in my teeth, I was bleeding, soaking wet, and my telephone (which I had NOT been using, thankfully) got thrown from the vehicle. I waited, shivering and wet in my car, but no one stopped for what felt like hours. Car after car kept driving by (perhaps they couldn’t because it wasn’t safe?), until one car finally stopped. Inside was a family on their way to Disney World from Canada, and after calling 911, they let me call my mother on their cell phone. I’m still surprised that I remembered her phone number, in this digital age. Their poor kids–they were obviously terrified of this sobbing, totally soaked woman with scrapes and cuts sitting next to them in their car…
    I am very lucky to be alive, and I will never forget the kindness of that stranger and his family who stopped and made sure I was okay. Thanks, Rawl B <3

  11. Amy says...

    2017, London train, on the way home after a long day. At the time, I had some nasty coworkers. I must have been thinking about something they did to me, and without realizing it, I had tears rolling down my face. A lady sitting across me gave me a kind smile, silently reached over and placed tissues in my hands. Thank you.

    • Christina says...

      Love this. The same thing happened to me. I had a big fight with my housemate on the tube on my way to work. She got off and I stayed on and proceeded to quietly sob. A girl tapped my shoulder, gave me a packet of tissues and immediately got off the train.

  12. Elisa says...

    I just realised that I encounter kindness a lot, major and minor.
    Small kind gestures would include the Citroën 2CV driver (turquoise colored oldtimer) who pulled over when my husband, daughter, baby son and me waved a taxi, saying „where do you want to go, I‘ll bring you.“
    Or the woman who carried my son‘s push-bike while I was carrying the little prince who fell asleep on the bus – a 10 minutes walk, insisting she was in no hurry.
    I will never-ever forget the crazy nurse in intensive care, where I had to spend my 35th birthday,after having lost my firstborn son to placental abruption two weeks earlier.
    It was 6.30 a.m. and I was just about to think that this definately is the worst 35th birthday ever experienced in mankind when the door opened and a singing and DANCING nurse entered, placing a flower on my nightstand.
    Yes, flowers are strictly forbidden in IC and yes, she stole it from the hospital Garden on her way to work.
    Thank you, Mareike.

  13. LJ says...

    I was having a terribly morning. Sleep deprivation, childcare drama, work insanity. Two small children were taking up all the energy and frankly, kindness, my husband and I had and we had very little left for each other. It all built up into one of those epic arguments where neither of us feels appreciated, except we were having this conversation about it via text message as I was walking down a Manhattan street on my way to work. At some point I lost it and cried rage tears as I shot off text after text trying to explain how I was feeling. Out of no where a construction worker in a hard hat came over to me and handed me a bottle of water he just purchased at a cart and said “I hope your day gets better”. It did.

  14. Elizabeth says...

    Two weeks after I moved to San Francisco and started my first job, my car was towed…and I didn’t realize it for three days…which resulted in a $1,250 (!!!) ticket for the cost of the tow / multi-day impound. When I went to pick up my car (naively expecting a parking ticket), I was shocked by the fee and literally did not have the money in my bank account to cover it (as I still hadn’t yet earned my first paycheck). An older man waiting to pay his own ticket saw how upset I was, and asked how much I owed…I told him how much I appreciated the offer but that i couldn’t take his money, but he insisted. He told me it happens to the best of us, and that he trusted me to pay him back when I had the money. Then he stood in line with me, paid my (yes, $1,250) ticket, and wrote his name and address on a post-it. After earning my first few paychecks, I was able to pay him back, and to this day, I think about Joe Duffy :) and his remarkable generosity, kindness, and trust in me as a human – it was the best possible introduction to the loving, welcoming, and soulful community in San Francisco that I have come to call home. Cheers Joe! <3

    • Erin Butler says...

      My dear friend drove about 3 hours one way to hug me at my Aunt Maureen’s wake.

  15. Ilana says...

    I’m a teacher, and a colleague and I had a casual conversation at lunch a few weeks ago, basically saying it had been a stressful day and we both wished we had some chocolate. When I got back to my classroom after recess duty 45 minutes later, there was a chocolate bar on my desk. It was such a small thing, but it MADE MY DAY because it was totally unexpected (and happened to be a particular kind of chocolate that I love!). She’d gone to the grocery store across the street to get chocolate for herself, and picked up an extra for me. Since then we’ve been taking turns buying each other chocolate every week and it’s my favorite thing!

  16. Min says...

    It’s so lovely to read these stories :) Here’s mine I’d like to share. I’m about less than a week from giving birth to our son, and bending over has become pretty difficult! Because of this, I hadn’t bothered with my toenails for a while, but last night I really wanted to just trim them. Of course, I couldn’t reach my toes no matter how I tried, so my sweet husband trimmed my toenails for me. He was so careful and thorough and it was just a really sweet moment, one that I will always remember :)

  17. Cynthia says...

    A stranger in Bath and Body works said he liked my haircut, even though it was messy from the wind.

  18. Jess says...

    I frequently visit the drive-thru at the bank my company uses. I bank there too. The one time I had a personal deposit, the teller got my name from the deposit slip. She now greets me by name each time I go to the bank. It’s such a small thing, but she’s so warm and friendly and makes me feel seen on an otherwise dull errand.

  19. allyoo says...

    Two stories about my husband and unexpected car rides! :)

    About ten years ago when my now-husband was driving home from hanging out with me, he noticed a young woman holding a baby at a bus stop. It was around 11 pm and he knew the buses had stopped for the day. He stopped and told her he would take her where she needed to go. He drove half an hour to take her home and then drove an hour back to get to his home.

    Yesterday, my husband was getting out of his car at a golf course when a high school girl stopped him, asking for help to get an Uber (apparently minors can’t request Ubers) since she was going to be late to school. He instead drove her to her school five minutes away (and ironically says he lectured her on NEVER getting into cars with strangers).

  20. G says...

    I currently live in Liberia, West Africa. A few weeks ago there was a significant shortage of gasoline. People were waiting 6-8 hours and still couldn’t get gas for their cars and generators. People weren’t able to make it to work at times due to the shortage. Things were getting really bad. My husband was supposed to come that weekend and I couldn’t find a driver with enough gas to get to the airport since it’s out of town. I mentioned this in passing to a work colleague who without hesitation told me she’d share her gas with me so I could see my husband and be happy. I was nearly in tears from the offer. I eventually found a driver without having to use my colleague’s supply of gasoline, but I keep coming back to this moment during hard times here.

    • Alex says...

      G, thank you for sharing this. Most people in Europe and US have such comfortable lives and take it for granted. I wish you and your whole country all the happiness and peace.

  21. Nicole says...

    Yesterday, I attended a naturalization ceremony where 54 people from 28 countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens (one of them being my husband). The tenor the MC (not sure what his actual title is) set was one of kindness that I so appreciated: acknowledging the difficult process everyone had gone through to get to that day, setting a tone of welcoming and gratitude from the beginning, naming each candidate’s home country and having them stand and be recognized, taking care in pronouncing everyone’s names correctly when handing out the certificates, calling attention to veterans and active service members (two people were in uniform). He does this ceremony time after time for rooms full of people – but delivers it in a way that honors the milestone moment that it is for the individuals and their families. It was so moving to see kindness, dignity, and respect present in that context.

    • GJ says...

      This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing with us. Also – congratulations to your husband!!!

    • AS says...

      This sounds exactly like the wonderful judge, Timothy Black, who performed my husband’s naturalization ceremony. Hopefully they’re all like that!

  22. Lauren says...

    i started a new job and was happy to have an office of my own, and told my best friend (who lives across the country) how much i liked it but that it was a little dark because it was interior and had no windows. a few days later an LED light for plants arrived at the office – my first mail! The following day a giant low-light, perfect for interior spaces plant came for me. It was a total surprise and made me feel so good. My office feels so much homier and i think of her whenever i look at my happy plant.

  23. Sam says...

    Once I was freaking out in bus reading frantically in last hour for my exams same day ..one stranger sitting besides me saw that and put calming music on his phone and gave me to listen ..I often think about that and smile

  24. molly says...

    I’m currently about 7 months pregnant. Early in my pregnancy, I had to get some bloodwork done at a lab facility. I always try to take care of these first thing in the morning, so I can get in and out and get to work relatively on time. The lab I went to that morning had a new check-in kiosk. As I walked in, there was an elderly couple trying to check-in using the kiosk, clearly having trouble. My first, admittedly unkind, thought was, oh, seriously, this is going to take forever. The man then turned to me and asked for my help. I tried to put my foul mood aside and helped him with the machine – which involved scanning both his driver’s license and insurance card. We finished, and then he asked me if I could check his wife in, too! I wish I could say at this point that I’d softened, but I was just feeling grinchy (first trimester blues, perhaps?). I helped his wife check in, and then checked myself in. As I was about to head to the lobby to sit down, a man tapped me on the shoulder. He was closer to my age, but English was not his first language. He and his wife were having trouble with the kiosk, too, and asked if I could help. At this point, I was ready to just apply for a job at this place, since there didn’t seem to be any employees around anyways! I helped the couple check in, and then went to the reception desk to ask a question about my tests. Turns out, the lab did not have the proper equipment for the blood test I needed that day, and I needed to go to a different location. At this point, between early pregnancy hormones, hunger, and just general frustration (I hadn’t eaten breakfast because of the blood test), I felt like crying. Again, this was not my best day or kindest moment. As I turned to leave the facility, the elderly man I had helped earlier came up to me. He pulled out an origami paper crane he had made, and said he wanted to give it to me as a thank you for helping him and his wife. He said my smile and help brightened their day, and he wanted to brighten mine. Now I really was crying – at this man’s kindness, at the reminder of how easy it is to make someone else’s life easier, and at the shame of my own annoyance earlier. I’ve kept that crane in my car, where I see it every day. I like to think that little bird has been watching over me and my baby these past few months. Mr. Rogers told us to look for the helpers. The crane reminds me to be one, too.

    • Mindy says...

      This is so lovely. Amazing what such a small gesture can do to turn a mood around. He clearly knew you were a kind person.

  25. Maywyn says...

    A son answered my email in less than 24 hours.
    lol

    • Jackie says...

      I’m not there yet, but I can anticipate feeling happy about this

    • Cherie says...

      Haha! My 20 year old doesn’t do emails. Sometimes he will return a text and sometimes not.

  26. D says...

    A few years back I was in Charleston, SC with my husband and baby daughter. We were enjoying a stroll on the main drag when the heavens opened up and unleashed a torrential downpour. We were totally unprepared, and snuck under an awning to wait it out. A man ran up and handed us a big golf umbrella. “I have a little one too,” he said before running back across the street and soaking himself in the process. It was a small gesture, but I think about it often. Last month, it was pouring in Boston, but I snuck out on my lunch break to run some errands. On the way I encountered a couple with their baby who were trying to find some cover in the storm. I gladly handed over my umbrella, and walked back to my office smiling in the rain, glad for the opportunity to honor the man who showed my family the same kindness just a few years before.

    ALSO! I know Bostonians get a bad rap, but I can’t tell you how many times my subway pass has run out of funds (only while I’m late and rushing to catch a train of course) and a kind stranger has swiped me in. I’m stating here that were M&Ms, really (hard exterior, but warm melty insides).

  27. Lauren says...

    I was walking through the airport wearing my daughter in a baby carrier, carrying a diaper bag + dragging a rolling suitcase. A man stopped me to tell me my shoe was untied and bent down to tie it for me! That was about 10 years ago but it still stands out as such a wonderful act of kindness :)

  28. S Kay says...

    I’m a medical student in CA and was on a rough hospital rotation recently. It’s that time of year where I’m exhausted, overworked and losing site of why I chose this profession to begin with, but on the last day of my rotation (day before the final exam for the block) on of my patients – a typically grumpy but sweet man with very poorly controlled HIV/AID – said goodbye to me by saying “good luck mi hija! You’re going to do great!” And I told him I hope we see each other again, “out in the real world”.
    It was everything my heart needed to keep on keeping on.

  29. Shelly says...

    I took my 1yo baby, Oscar, to the mall to walk and have some lunch (I live in Canada and it was too cold that day to walk outside). As we began to eat I noticed my son smiling and looking over shyly at someone- and elderly man was sitting near us and enjoying Oscar’s cute smiles. I smiled at him and we continued eating. 20 minutes later- he presented Oscar with a butterscotch Sundae- all for him. He had never had ice cream and hasn’t mastered his spoon skills yet but you can bet I let him dig in. I was parenting solo that day and just looking to get out of the house- but that sweet gesture was one of the highlights of my parenting life so far.

  30. Jessica says...

    My father is a surgeon who was absent for my childhood, but has been an incredible grandfather to my children. My daughter was visiting him with her favorite stuffed animal, and he noticed it had a hole and was leaking “fluff.” Unprompted, he asked if he could take her stuffed animal to the “hospital” to fix it. He returned her stuffed animal the next day – he had sewn up the hole with surgical sutures and washed it, and he presented it to my 3-year-old daughter like it was the crown jewels. He was beaming and my daughter was over the moon.

    Not only the kindness, but being able to witness our loved ones change and grow over the years, is so special.

    • Neela says...

      That’s awfully sweet <3

  31. Alexis Carrasquel says...

    As soon as I finished reading this post and was mulling over my week for a small act of kindness, by office mate walked over with a box of Girl Scout cookies for me!

  32. In honour of my dad who died last year, I just started an Instagram account where I hope to collect and share kind stories and initiatives. He was a great champion for kind acts. I am also using it to mobilize people to craft for kindness (e.g., knitting comfort dolls for children in refugee camps, crocheting blankets for people undergoing chemo, sewing reusable menstrual pads fpr girls in the developing world). There is something about a collection of stories like this that is so affirming and inspiring. I hope you will consider a follow @kindregardsdesign (not monetized, not a business).

  33. Tiffani says...

    About a month ago, we had a storm with heavy snow and I had to go out in it to take my daughter to her father’s house. He lives on a very steep hill that hadn’t been plowed yet and my car just couldn’t make it, I got stuck in the middle. I was about to back down the street and hike it up the hill with my daughter when a man who was out jogging and a man who was plowing the parking lot at a nearby apartment building saw me struggling and came over to help. They pushed my car up that hill in the snow until we got to level ground that I could easily navigate. I had been driving around looking for an alternate route for an hour by the time they rescued me and I was so grateful I cried.

  34. K says...

    This month has been terrible. Someone into my yard and fence and my dog had two emergency surgeries. I happened to mention this to my yoga teacher before class, and that evening received an email that 20 classes had been loaded onto my account. The thoughtfulness (and saved expense) was just so touching.

  35. Sonia Sequeira says...

    About a year ago I quit my job because my boss would rebuke me over any small issue, especially regarding events and things outside of my control, often leaving me embarrassed and in tears. My team now is the opposite: supportive and understanding, while still doing incredible work. This morning I hosted a public event where more people showed up than expected, my introduction wasn’t perfect, I was flustered etc — I immediately felt the panic seeping in from my last experience. Instead, my boss helped me facilitate, was excited about the turnout and joked around with me during the event. It’s a small, normal thing – but treating people with kindness and dignity can mean so much.

  36. Genevieve Martin says...

    I left my phone charger at our clients office in a different town a couple of weeks ago and messaged someone who had sat near me asking them to keep it until I was back next month. This week we had both travelled to a different city to attend another meeting and he produced my charger at the start!
    It felt so kind as I hadnt thought to remind him and he’d remembered even despite logistics of an out of town meeting. :) Thanks Paul!

  37. Allyson says...

    My coworker was SO engaging and sweet when my toddler had to hang at the office for 15 minutes. I wrote about it in my gratitude journal because nothing makes my mama heart happier than someone being good to my child. Also- HUGE HUGE HUGE plug for gratitude journals. Mine is nothing fancy- a freebie promotional notebook I got from work and a pen tucked on my bedside table I spend 2 minutes with every night. It’s such a small, easy way to practice gratitude and reflection.

  38. KY says...

    What a beautiful post! Love it. I had just moved to a new city in a new country and was on my way to a client meeting in a rental car. I was late, traffic was bad and in the middle of a really huge roundabout, my car just stopped – I had run out of gas (I know, embarrassing). On top of it, it was in the middle of summer in a country where temperatures climb as high as 50 degrees Celsius. Of course, I’ve created a bit of a chaos in the roundabout, but before I could even think of how I should move my car off the road, a nice guy just helped me push it off the road all the way to a parking bay. He drove me to my client meeting in his car, picked me back up and drove me to my rental car which he had filled with gas in the meantime. And no – he didn’t want to hit on me or money or anything. I took down his number anyway and sent him (and his wife) cards for Cirque du Soleil (because it was the reason for my client meeting). I’ll never forget his kindness. So completely unselfish.

    • Alex says...

      Wow, that’s incredible! And the reward you gave them was also very nice ;D

  39. claire says...

    Last month I went out for lunch to a Panera near my office. It was a cold, rainy day, and the place was crowded. I took a seat at a table and noticed a young man- maybe 16 or 17 years old, slumped down low off in a corner booth, sleeping. There was nobody with him, and he didn’t seem to have a backpack or any possessions. There was a high school nearby, and I figured he could be a student. Whatever his story was beyond that I could not guess, but it can’t have been good, and many thoughts went through my head about why he was sound asleep in the middle of the day, in a busy restaurant – questions, judgements, concerns. When I was almost done with my lunch I happened to look over to see he had woken up, looked around, pulled out his phone, and then seemed to doze off again. And just in that moment when I saw his eyes, it seemed that he was very young, in spite of whatever, and I thought of my own son, and felt clearly that it didn’t matter what his story was, I didn’t need to know, but I wanted to offer some kindness to him. I could not fix somebody else’s problems, but I could at least help with lunch. So on my way out I stopped at the counter and asked if they had noticed the young man in the back who was asleep. They started to apologize, yes they had seen him, he really needed to leave, he wasn’t buying anything. And I said no, please don’t make him leave. I want to buy him some food. And immediately the young woman behind the counter said YES! that’s wonderful, let’s do this. So we did. It was just a grilled cheese sandwich, and I did not wait around, I don’t know if it was offensive to him, or welcomed. But all i could think was if it was my son I would want somebody to be kind to him. I hope it did not embarrass him, and I hope it made his day a bit easier.

    • Sara says...

      Claire, this made me cry. I’m sure your gesture made him feel cared for and loved.

  40. Alice says...

    Oh! and I just remembered this poem by Danusha Lameris, which seems perfect for this piece:

    “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.”

    • silly lily says...

      YES!!!!

      This appeared in the NY Times a couple of months ago and I was moved enough to tear it out. Just lovely and SO necessary these days.

    • Thank you for sharing this! So beautiful and really puts into words how I feel about what I call “acts of service” :)

    • Lais says...

      this is beautifull! thanks for sharing! <3

    • Mandy says...

      Love this. Thank you for sharing. It is truly in the little things. We just have to take time to notice them!

    • Roxana says...

      Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing it!

  41. H. says...

    This morning I decided to mix things up and added some waves to my hair and wore a new blazer with jeans and a tee (deviating from my normal jeans-and-sweater work uniform). It’s not even 9:30 am and already one coworker I passed in the hall said she loved my outfit and another separately said “Your hair looks AMAZING today!” Such TINY things but I’ve been having a cranky week and those two comments have lifted my spirits SO MUCH. Let’s all remember to compliment each other, ladies!

  42. Ari says...

    My best friend and I live in different countries, and it can be a bummer that we’re not able to support each other in person when life‘s just kicked one of us in the balls. I had a doozy of a breakup recently, and a couple days later while I was cranky at work, a gift certificate to a spa popped up in my email – from my friend and her husband (who I adore). It was such a sweet, caring way to acknowledge how I was feeling, and gave me something so nice to look forward to. Made even nicer when I realized she was inspired by a gift card for a manicure I sent her a few months ago, after she had just been laid off by her jerk boss. And all of THAT was inspired by a post on Cup of Jo, where hundreds of the kind, genius people in this community posted about ways they surprise people who need a little extra love. So, thanks, you guys. You me feel a whole lot better :)

  43. Olivia says...

    After a devastating divorce, I relocated to a new country with my two-year-old son. About a week after our move, my son came down with a high fever. His health card hadn’t arrived yet, and I hadn’t started my new job. I didn’t know what else to do, so I called my new office to ask for help. The woman who answered arranged for us to see a doctor at the clinic nearby. She met us there, and seeing how scared I was, told me she would wait and go in with me in case I needed a translator. After the appointment, she asked where we were living, then she looked me in the eye and said, “If you need anything, I can be there on my bike in ten minutes.” I will never forget that moment– in a country where we knew no one, suddenly I had a lifeline. That lovely woman is now the god-mother of my second son :) The funny thing is, she has no memory of making that offer. It just goes to show that a kind gesture doesn’t have to be life-changing to you to be life-changing for someone else.

    • C says...

      so lovely!

  44. J says...

    I’m 8 months pregnant and feeling really slow and exhausted (second pregnancy so I’m running around after my 3 year old all day which contributes to that a bit). I was coming out of the grocery store carrying things and just feeling sweaty and not at all “myself” and this older woman just simply and sincerely said “you look so beautiful!” It’s a small thing but it really made the rest of my afternoon that she would think to say something like that. Stuck with me for sure.

  45. K says...

    When I was about 13/14, I was flying back from Germany to London with a friend, without any grown ups! Our flight got cancelled and we nervously approached the ticket desk to find out what we should do. We didn’t have mobile phones, didn’t speak much German and obviously we were totally fine, but still felt a bit derailed by the change in plan.

    The lady on the counter was surprised we were travelling alone and asked if we would be ok. We said we thought we would be and just at that moment, a man behind us said: “I’ve been watching these two, they’re doing great.”

    It was just pure kindness. Someone was looking out for us but also told us exactly what we needed to hear at that moment – that we were doing great.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so so sweet.

  46. Jenny says...

    We currently live abroad in London and were making the long trip back to California for Christmas with our newly-3-year-old and 7-month-old. My older daughter didn’t sleep a wink of the 11 hour flight, and around hour 7, had the meltdown to end all meltdowns. I’m talking a kicking, screaming, exorcism-style meltdown. We tried everything possible- lollipops! Chocolate! Ipad! to calm her but nothing worked. I was feeling increasingly self-conscious when a woman appeared at the end of our row with a bottle of lotion and asked if she could massage my daughter’s feet! Of course my daughter screamed NO at her, many times over, but the offer was so sweet (if a bit odd, haha), it immediately sent me into tears. The tears may have also been due to the fact that I could no longer deny the severity of the meltdown given that a complete stranger was offering to rub my child’s grubby feet, but I’ll always remember her kindness in a tough moment.

  47. Vicki says...

    My colleague recently wrote the best email I may have ever received. In it she wrote one thing she was grateful for about myself and three other women I work with. It started a beautiful chain reaction where each of us then replied in the same manner. It was lovely to hear from that I was appreciated by my team, but even more so I felt so filled by taking a moment to write why I appreciated each of them. So simple, yet powerful. As one of my colleagues wrote “If this isn’t the best use of email, I dont know what is”

    • Laura says...

      I really love this and think I will implement in honor of International Women’s Day next month!

  48. Ssan says...

    This is like my third time coming back here to read the comments. Can this post section turned into a book please? I think we could get one (or more!) story per day kind of book already

    • kathy says...

      Ha ha, I second that idea! I’ve bookmarked this page so I can come back here every day to feel uplifted and inspired :)

  49. Norah says...

    Yesterday I pulled into a parking lot. The parking lot attendant followed me in and pointed out that my tire was flat. He asked if I had a spare wheel, and then without hesitating he said, “I’ll change it.” And he did. I was so bowled over and so appreciative. I gave him the bit of cash that I had and he looked like I absolutely made his day – which was nothing in comparison to how he had made my day!

  50. Ellie says...

    I’ve been feeling kind of down lately and just got a new haircut hoping that would help. Only a few people at work the next day noticed or commented on it, which was a bit surprising because I cut off several inches and dyed it so I wondered if maybe it didn’t look as good as I thought. I run an after school program for teens and in the middle of our activity as I was talking, one girl interrupted and said “I really love your new haircut! It looks so good! It’s all cute and bouncy and you look great!” Then the whole class started smiling and nodding and they clapped lol. There’s nothing like an ego boost from a room full of hard to impress high schoolers!

    • celeste says...

      I haven’t even seen it and I’m sure you’re gorgeous! xoxo

  51. Alice says...

    I think this is so timely. In the UK, there has been an awful lot of talk about kindness recently, after the tragic death of Caroline Flack (a well liked television presenter) to suicide. But I’ve not really seen people really BE MORE KIND, despite everyone sharing posts saying that on instagram and twitter and facebook. I think being kind is particularly about those small moments, where you pick up something that someone has dropped, smile at a stranger, compliment your coworker on a job well done, tell your friend how much you miss them. They’re the moments that make us feel more connected, and after all, those small moments add up to the big ones.

  52. Lauren says...

    I went through a life-changing break-up at the end of last year and it feels like every one of my friends has taken time to make sure I’m OK and show me that they care. They’ve sent letters, a parcel with cosy socks and chocolates, a ‘badass bitch’ trophy and recently on Valentines Day my friend surprised me with flowers and pink champagne. More so than receiving ‘things’ they check in via text, send me excellent memes and cat videos, call me for hilarious and meaningful long chats, feed me dinner and take me out for drinks. When I think about what everyone has done my heart feels full to bursting. It’s still been a tough time but I am grateful every day that I have friends who fill my life with love.

  53. Margaux says...

    6 years ago, pregnant with my second child, my tire broke. I stopped by the road, emptying my trunk to find the tools needed. It was gently starting to rain. The wheel was blocked, I couldn’t manage to take it away. I was wondering, It’s 8 am, people are going to work, one guy will stop ad help me… NOBODY! I was feeling tired, wet and angry.
    Then I saw a car I already saw driving back from its previous destination, stopping close to me and this guy, built like a carpenter, tried to help me! He told me that he told his fiance that if when he returns back home I was still there, he would stop to help me.
    He tried to unblock this wheel, but couldn’t. He left me with his phone number and a few minutes later, a car repairer came to change my wheel, free.
    I’m still thinking of these two kind persons… And wishing bad luck to all those stupid ones who left me alone by the side of the road that December day…

  54. Christina says...

    I was staying with some new-ish friends that I hadn’t known very long in an unfamiliar country after I had had to leave where I was staying suddenly for safety reasons. After dinner and a couple glasses of wine, I ended up falling asleep on the sofa and woke up a couple of hours later. There was a soft glow from the kitchen and I could hear chatting and laughing. I noticed that the lights in the living room had been turned off and someone had put a pillow under my head, a blanket on me and had put warm knitted socks on my bare feet. It felt like such a tender, intimate gesture from people I hardly knew. It meant so much to me and made me feel safe and taken care of in an unfamiliar place.

  55. Kiera says...

    I initially read that as ‘it only takes a moment to make someone else’s day a little lighter’, which is how I think of it. Just for a moment making someone’s load lighter versus contributing to making it heavier. :) Nice little piece Caroline!

  56. Nina says...

    I have definitely had rough times where my day was turned around for the better because a cashier / bus driver / random person said hi cheerily or was just nicer to me than they had to be. Sometimes you just need a reminder that not the whole world is against you (it never is but it can occasionally feel that way).

  57. Robyn S says...

    I was in a thrift store the other day and spied the sweetest little toddler-sized suit that my kids and I decided would be perfect for their little cousin. But it was cash only and when I return after searching, to no avail, for the 5 dollars in my car, I announced my sad tale to the cashier: I would not be able to purchase the cute-suit (which I was obviously desperate for at that point). To my surprise, the random-stranger-patron at the till jumped into action and said “how much”?, then paid for the suit, LIKE A BOSS, and walked out. It was amazing.

  58. Gigi says...

    We are from a Chinese city named Macau and we travelled to Okinawa, Japan one Christmas holiday. We met an American family in a park and I casually chatted with the mother and soon they left the park, and then only a minute later the mother walked back and asked if me and my family would like to come over to their home for dinner that night. and they cooked a very heart-warming meal for us, my favorite Mexican food which i feel nostalgic about since my college years in Texas. her son and adopted daughter played with my little girl. I would never forget their hospitality and kindness for us strangers, it’s life impactful and inspiring in terms of how much more I can too go beyond to serve others, and we travelled and visited them again the next Christmas.

  59. Mona says...

    I was backpacking in South Korea. One very early morning my then boyfriend, who was a very mean person, woke me up at five even though I hadn’t slept well because of a stomach bug. We were checking out and taking a ferry he said. No time for breakfast even. I had to carry my 55 litre backpack with a belt that squeezed my hurting belly. It was a long walk to the ferry since he hadn’t checked which bus we could take. Then it started raining… I kept walking, but was so weak and hungry but kept going because I was afraid of his temper. I walked bent forward to ease the pressure on my stomach from the belt and distribute the weight of the backpack evenly on my entire back. Suddenly it stopped raining. But after a few steps I realize it’s still raining – a Korean lady is walking beside me, holding her umbrella over me. She had no English so we couldn’t communicate, she just walked beside me all the way to the ferry, getting soaked herself but smiling at me the whole time. Then she waved and went back to her day. Not a glance at my bf, she saw only me and my plight. I still carry her kindness with me, 12 years later. She reminded me of kindness and how I want to be treated, she gave me value again and ultimately gave me the courage to leave my abusive ex.

    • Laura says...

      Beautiful story!

    • Neela says...

      Amazing!

  60. Brittany says...

    Today is the six year anniversary of my dad dying. I dread this day every year and usually seclude myself to push through on my own but this year, I ended up committing to plans with two different friends. I let them know ahead of time what today was and how I might be in a weird headspace. The first friend bought me coffee and then texted me this evening to check on how my day went. The second one showed up to my house with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I felt so loved today. The other lovely thing is that both of these friends happen to be (very!) pregnant. My grieving heart feels so hopeful for the love and thoughtfulness these mamas are going to pass on to the next generation.

    • Ashley says...

      Brittany, I am so so sorry for your loss. I hope the day went as well as it could — I am sending so much love your way today.

    • MMS says...

      I am so sorry for your loss, Brittany. What a sliver of brightness in your day to have your friends show up for you in that way.

      And thanks for sharing. I send flowers to my BFF every year on the anniversary of her dad’s passing. As the years go by, I wonder if it’s worse for her to receive the flowers.. if it makes her sadder somehow. Your post reminds me she’ll be thinking of him always on that day, whether I send flowers or not, so I will continue to send them!xo

    • Mona says...

      Sending you love from Stockholm, Brittany.

  61. Lo says...

    I’ve been struggling with my health recently, post partum hormones have sent my body into a frenzy. Since returning to work, the amount of people who have noticed and silently helped me. A hot drink on my desk after another bathroom trip, covering a meeting for me when I look like death, or simply checking in when I leave work early for the 3rd time in a row.

    It can be super easy to get absorbed in your own troubles, but seeing and feeing the love and care of these ‘acquaintances‘ at work made me realise they’re really more like friends!

  62. Sarah says...

    My partner just had surgery and I’ve been working full time while supporting his recovery. My girlfriends asked—really asked— how I was doing and truly listened and provided support. Then a few hours later an unexpected very generous DoorDash gift card showed up in my inbox from them, a gift not just for him but for both of us going through this rough patch. So much nicer and more welcome than Get Well flowers.

  63. Kaela B says...

    Buy the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-thru!

  64. Anna says...

    I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time reading the comments on any post anywhere! What an encouraging read! You could do this post once a month (or once a week!) and I’d never tire of it.

    • Ditto!

      Or maybe a post titled—What You’re Doing Right or something like that.

  65. Anna says...

    I’m in my 30’s now but when I was young (8-ish) we moved to a rural town in the southwest and didn’t know anyone. I went out one day to ride my bike and took a tumble in front of our neighbors house. The older couple that lived there brought me inside, checked up on me, called my parents, and let me eat jelly beans until my parents came to get me. This started a wonderful relationship where my sisters and I would stop over often to play in their garden and, of course, eat jelly beans. This couple became dear family friends, and have been present at birthdays, graduations, and weddings in the time that has passed. How blessed we were for them to offer a kindness years ago, and how special it is that we had all these years together as (basically) family as a result.

  66. Katherine says...

    A couple of weeks ago I took my two daughters (5 and 6) to a restaurant solo. We had surprisingly mellow meal: we shared a nice conversation over dinner and snuggled together on the same side of the booth drinking mint tea after dinner. When I asked for the bill, the waitress said another patron took care of it. I asked who, so I could say thank you, but she said they had already left and were happy to treat “such a sweet family”.

  67. rach says...

    i love this so much. kindness, genuine kindness is so moving,,,, it really inspires me. I had a significant loss in my life, death of a parent, and the people that stepped up and surrounded me with kindness literally carried me thru the beginning of processing the grief i was feeling. My neighbor brought over dinner 2 nights in a row, *without asking* which is absolutely what I needed the most, comfort in a time I couldn’t barley stand or do things for myself and my family… cards poured in and love reached into heart and strengthened me. I realize it inst “random” kindness but it really mattered… and i really realized people WANT to step into your heart/life/situation, even strangers! Like the Dr at Urgent care, when my daughter had the flu, days after my Dads passing, heard thru the nurse that i had a parent pass away, when he walked into the room, he looked right at me, said a brief “hello” to my 4 yr old and pulled up a chair directly in front of me, and gave me a tissue, and said ” i heard you had a loss in the family… tell me what happened, we will get to her (my sick 4yr old) in a second” I wept. people WANT so badly to step in, but you have to be open, vulnerable and let people in. <3 there is so much good in the world.

  68. AA says...

    I have two travel-related stories.

    The first was when I was traveling alone in Singapore and standing in line at a hawker stall for coveted ramen. It was an insufferably hot day, especially so in that centre, but I’d heard so much about this ramen and the line wasn’t as long as anticipated. Well, I ended up fainting, falling face forward. Luckily, I was caught by this older man who was perched on a stool in front of the stall making noodles for the ramen. I came to pretty quickly and he led me to table with better airflow and purchased three or four bottles of water for me. I kept trying to get up but he’d insist I finish my water and rest. I tried to repay him and he refused (even though it appeared as though he could perhaps use the money, though I don’t want to assume). He ended up delivering my ramen to me and it was the best meal I had during the entire trip. I will never forget his kindness.

    The second incident was when I was visiting Austin, Texas with a friend. We ended up hitting the vodka too hard and I woke up the next morning with a terrible headache and even worse self-loathing. On top of that, I couldn’t locate my wallet, and I was panicking as it had everything inside of it (all forms of payment, ID, etc.) and I was headed to New York for work right after the trip. I called my Uber driver from the night before — she checked her car and…couldn’t find it. However, she immediately told me that she was getting in her car to head back to where she picked me up the night prior. She incessantly knocked on the backdoor of the bar I was at until somebody answered, unfortunately to no avail. Next, she walked up and down the street in search of it. Lo and behold, she found it, jammed under the tire of a parked car. To my utter shock, although my wallet was broken, nothing was missing. Not a dollar, not a cent (nor a piece of paper with my SSN on it — I know, I’m a total buffoon). She returned it to me and would not allow me to pay her (though I did end up sending her flowers). The compassion of this woman for a complete stranger who put herself in this situation (yes, it was I who was ordering those martinis) is something I’ve never experienced before. She must have heard the desperation in my voice. My own sister had little sympathy (“What is this, GIRLS GONE WILD?!) hahaha. I don’t know if it was southern hospitality or what but I am forever grateful to driver Jan.

  69. Emilia says...

    After a terrible dating experience, I was trying my best to bounce back and chat with new people on dating apps. I was basically in the process of making plans to meet a new guy when I realized I was actually completely burned out. So instead I told him I needed to take a break from dating. I fully expected him to be annoyed, but instead, he said, “That’s OK, I get it. I’ve been there myself.” And then he sent me pictures of his cats. Having someone be nice to you when you’re in a low moment like that is amazing.

  70. I’m 7 months postpartum after having my 2nd kiddo. Today I saw a photo of myself and I just felt like I looked so large and I had a tough time with it. I was talking to my husband about it tonight, since when I take care of myself this is the size I end up at, and he goes, “sometimes you just gotta embrace the thickness.” I believe we all deserve to have opinions of ourselves that don’t change when we see a photo of ourselves we don’t like. I believe that, but many times it’s hard to have fat on your body. My husband’s ability in that moment to listen, validate, and encourage…my kind of kindness.

  71. Ellena says...

    I was living in London and feeling incredibly homesick for NYC. Shortly before a long anticipated visit home, my boss told me that a few of her friends were planning to visit NY and asked if I could recommend some restaurants. Not thinking anything of it, I gave her an annotated list of my top picks. The day I arrived home, she emailed me to let me know there was a gift voucher waiting for me at my favorite restaurant. The story about visiting friends was totally made up–she was just fishing for info on me! I took an old friend with me and we enjoyed catching up over a luxurious meal together after many months apart.

  72. Martini says...

    The recent news of my breast cancer diagnosis opened a flood gate of kindnesses. Offers to be help in my home. To be with me. To take me to treatments. Novenas being said. Flowers and cards. A Harry and David tower that is still going strong two weeks later.
    Most of these offers came from folks who lives are way busier than mine. All are heartfelt and sincere. I’m amazed. My spirits have been so lifted. Just what I needed.

  73. I dropped my receipt/guarantee for a new vacuum in the car park of the store as we left. The wind blew it under a car and I stood holding this bulky expensive vacuum with my 8 year old next to me, peering under the car in the hope I could reach it (I definitely couldn’t) – then suddenly this young chap ran over, immediately lay flat DOWN on the wet and dirty ground and shimmied his way under the car to retrieve it for me. I was so taken aback and grateful but also it was just nice for my daughter to witness someone doing something so spontaneously helpful. She still talks about it now every time we drive past the store. ‘Remember when that man climbed under the car for us?’ – nothing major, but just a really unexpectedly positive encounter.

  74. Sarah says...

    Last month, one of the fifth graders at my school walked by me on the way to the bus after school. She turned and said, “Your smile makes me so happy. I’m always happy to see you. ” I burst into tears- my mom has just had a heart attack and I was grappling with the worry and fear. Kids can pick up on our feelings so easily sometimes. She turned my entire week around.

  75. Sarah says...

    When I was 17, I worked as a waitress at a local breakfast joint. Hungry Sunday diners are not always patient or kind, and there was a day when I was visibly scrambled. A man approached me near the apex of the stressful rush, and I’m sure I winced a bit as I asked him how I could help. He smiled gently and said, “Can I help myself to this straw? I dropped mine.” As I nodded, he patted my shoulder and said, “You’re doing a great job.” I will never forget his face- he was like a cool breeze on a hot day. I try to be gentle with people and I often think of him.

  76. Annie says...

    I just wanted to say that people are SO kind and generous. The good just keep getting better. I enjoyed reading all the comments. Thank you Cup of Jo readers for sharing, I needed this today.

  77. I am currently going through a divorce, and moving to a new house. My friend came over to help me pack (already such a kind thing to do), and when I went to unpack the boxes at the new house, I found she had written things like “strong ass Mama” and “you rock!” and “hot Mama” on all the boxes. I teared up- it was exactly what I needed to see and hear!

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      OMG that’s so nice and fun what a sweet friend

  78. KJ says...

    We had a private family wake for my husband who passed away two years ago. Shortly after my sons and I arrived at the funeral home, the funeral director came over and placed two small packages in my lap. One was for my sons and the other for me. My boys opened their little gift and pulled out some tiny toys. The imagery created by this juxtaposition of watching my sons unwrap their gift against the backdrop of their Dad inside his casket will stay with me forever. Not as a moment of sadness, but rather a moment that another human being- a stranger embraced us with pure 100% kindness and authenticity. Inside my package was a beautiful poem and card. The gifts ended up being from a Mom of one of my son’s classmates. I had never met her before this. She wanted to remind us that we were not alone and loved. I still cannot articulate what that moment did for me as a human being. To be seen by another is the essence of our very existence. And that poem that she gave me, we actually ended up using it during my husband’s celebration of life.

    • Lauren says...

      This brought me to tears this morning, so beautiful

  79. For seven months I’ve been struggling with a mysterious neuro-psych disorder that doesn’t hurt, but makes me light-headed, shaky, and queasy, among other things. One morning last fall, I was lying on the sofa, trying to rest, while teams of construction workers hammered, drilled, and sawed in the building next door. I was exhausted, scared, depressed, dizzy, and very hungry, but couldn’t face making yet another piece of toast. Then my neighbor knocked on my door. I got up to see what she wanted and she handed me a bag with a chocolate-chip scone. It was the most perfect thing, at the most necessary time. I felt SO much better even before I ate it. She answered a prayer. A couple of weeks later, I was back on the sofa, feeling the same way, and she turned up again, magically, this time with a muffin. I will never forget.

  80. joy says...

    Today I had to take my 20-month-old in to work with me, because of various childcare snafus. On our way home in the evening, I was about to start wrestling her stroller down the steps to the subway, but a man came along and offered to help. I tried to pick up one end, but he said that his kids are now 12 and 18, so a toddler in a stroller is a featherweight and he carried it all the way down. Then, on the train, another man got up so that I could have a more convenient seat. And THEN, there was a guy who seemed kind of troubled–maybe he was under the influence, maybe mentally ill, but he gestured to me to move the stroller so that he could get to the door to walk between the train cars. I told him I could only move it a little bit, and then he lost his balance and first pitched into one passenger, then another. And both of them were gentle and gracious with him, helping him back on his feet. Neither acted annoyed or irritated, even though the guy’s behavior was suboptimal for a rush hour train car.

    Another subway kindness I’ll never forget was from a few years ago. I was taking the Q back to Brooklyn from Manhattan and I had my son in the Ergo. He had been super fussy and slow to fall asleep even though it was nap time, and about two minutes after he FINALLY closed his eyes, a group of Show Time kids got on the train and set down their boombox right next to me. I thought I would cry but instead I asked the kid closest to me if please, please could they go to the other end of the car because my baby just fell asleep, and he just grinned and said sure and led the rest of the boys away.

  81. melissa says...

    My husband had major surgery in December and was in the hospital for a month, followed by weeks of recovery at home. Our nextdoor neighbors watched our dog every day so I could be at the hospital, every day. Several neighbors brought dinners. Neighbors brought us books and movies. One couple did yard work for us. One neighbor who is an ICU nurse taught me how to use the pump to feed my husband through a tube in his stomach at home, because the hospital didn’t arrange for home nursing care. Another neighbor watched the nurse’s baby that night so she could come help us with the pump. Others have supported us with cards, emails, texts, and visits. I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of my neighbors.

    • Sarah says...

      I hope your husband is doing better and you’re getting some rest.

  82. I’m getting married this summer, and I’m so excited to marry my person but so busy and work and overwhelmed by the details. Flowers? Decorations? Don’t care. My sister could tell I was drowning in this, and insisted on taking over flowers for me. She created a multi-page document to show florists the direction, my venue, the dress, etc., as well as a pinterest board with inspiration. It’s a small thing in the scheme of all the wedding details, but it felt so good to just be taken care of. I almost teared up when I saw the document she’d put together.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I relate to this so much. I never dreamed about my wedding and suddenly everybody expects me to have opinions on everything and I’m just like ‘yeah sure, if you want flowers you can get them’!

  83. Sarah says...

    I have a 9 month old baby and a few weeks ago I was finishing loading groceries into my car at Whole Foods (with a baby with a poopy diaper in a Baby Bjorn) when an older gentleman pulled into the parking space next to me. As he got out of his car he said, “that’s a hard job. I don’t know how you moms do it.” And walked into the pet store next to Whole Foods. Then, he turned around and came to get my cart to take it back to the store for me. It sounds silly now that I write it out, but that simple acknowledgment and offer to help almost made me cry tears of joy. It’s so wonderful to remember how kind people can be.

    • rachel says...

      <3 it really is the little things. not silly at all.

  84. Em says...

    I’m seeing someone new, and we had our first sleepover about a week ago. It was a bit last minute, but in the time it took me to decide and quickly make my way over to his place, he’d set up a night table for me with a fresh glass of water, a set of earplugs, and a phone charger (!). I guess these are just little things, but it felt so kind and thoughtful. And each time I glanced at my phone the following day, seeing it almost fully charged, I felt cared for.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so sweet, em!

    • Emma D says...

      Omg. Soooo sweet. Sounds like a wonderful human you found!!!

  85. Elliesee says...

    The doorman at the airport in New-York gave me 10$ for a taxi! He even said Merry Christmas (it was Christmas Eve). It’s not recent, but I still think about it. My mother and I tend to get into car problems together and always find perfect angels to help us.

  86. Lisa says...

    I have never been more thankful for my village of strong supportive women than I have this year. I am in the middle of an unexpected separation/divorce with two very young children. I am a teacher, and three of my colleagues have taken turns coming to my house in the evenings (the hardest time for all parents, but especially single ones) to help out. They have cooked or brought me dinner, made me laugh, and entertained my kids. They have held my baby so that I could have a chance to read an uninterrupted bedtime story to my oldest daughter. They have done my dishes, listened to my sorrows, and filled my heart with hope. I am so so grateful to work with such wonderful people.

    • Molly says...

      I’m so sorry you’re going thru this difficult time (esp with two young children) and I’m so happy to hear you have such lovely women supporting you. It’s so touching & inspiring! I hope you continue to feel cared for while you navigate your new normal. xoxo

    • Michelle Benson says...

      how wonderful to feel so supported! They indeed sound like a beautiful group of women

  87. Christine says...

    I have one that stuck with me from many years ago.

    While traveling in Hong Kong, I had an anxiety attack right in the middle of a crowded shopping mall–my heart felt as though it would explode, and I felt like I was drowning.
    As I scanned my surroundings for somewhere to sit, I realized that both of my calves and all of my toes decided to start cramping…

    Overwhelmed and now unable to walk, I sat down on the floor in the middle of the shopping mall and tried to stretch my cramps out. I was beyond caring about how strange I must have looked.
    Moments later, older Hong Konger ladies who didn’t speak English came to me and began massaging my legs and took my shoes off to massage my cramped toes out. My bare feet. In the summer. Covered by then in my cold sweat. While they did this, other ladies stopped to help and massaged my hands.
    My anxiety passed, as did my cramps, but they would not let me stand up until I finished a bottle of water they instructed another stranger to get for me.

    I think of them often.

    • Miruska says...

      Absolutely amazing. I am tearing up reading about it.

    • Natalie Kenley says...

      What a beautiful experience. xo

    • Katie says...

      That’s amazing how beautiful

    • Claire says...

      This is wonderful.

    • Nadine says...

      This is so beautiful. I love hearing these stories.

    • ally says...

      Wow! What amazing ladies.

    • Anjie says...

      Homgkie here thats the spirit of the fragrant harbour

    • K says...

      This just made me cry at my desk.

  88. Kat says...

    These comments just made my day <3 Thanks to everyone who shared.

    When I was in college, I took a road trip from my small-town college to Chicago. I'd made it 2 hours into my 5-hour drive when I stopped to get gas and realized somehow my wallet was nowhere to be found! I didn't know if it had fallen out of my car or if I'd forgotten it entirely, so I went inside to see if the attendant could take a friend's credit card over the phone. Two people overheard what had happened and one man offered to fill up my tank for me. He said he'd give me his address if I felt the need to pay him back. Another woman handed me a $20 bill (and refused my attempts to give it back!). She said she had a 20-year-old daughter and hoped someone would do the same for her daughter. I think about it often and will never forget feeling so scared and so alone… and then as if I had more than I needed. Thank you to those two strangers.

  89. Juliet says...

    What strikes me about so many of these stories is how very little it takes to make someone feel good. The smallest gesture can bring someone to tears, and in turn, inspires them to be kind to someone else. In a way it makes me sad that everyone these days seems so surprised when people are kind…

    I recently moved to San Francisco, and my apartment has no laundry facilities. There is a cleaner’s across the street where I’ve been lugging my laundry bag every week to drop off for their wash and fold service. Today the lady at the counter looked at me sadly and told me they no longer offer the service – it’s too expensive in San Francisco now, because water and rent prices have gotten so high, and it is hard to find people to hire to do the job, because they can’t afford to live in the city anymore. I asked if there were other places nearby, and she said even the laundromats in the neighborhood had closed – the closest was in the Mission, which is a good mile or two away for me. While I was absorbing this new information, she suddenly reached for my bag and said, “When do you need it?”

    She told me to come back on Saturday and she’ll have it ready for me. I still have to figure out my laundry situation, but her kindness lifted my heart for the whole day. I plan to bring her something to thank her when I go back to pick it up.

    • jane says...

      I don’t know how big your apartment is but there are countertop clothes washers for small loads – I think meant for dorms or maybe RV’s? – on Amazon. Might be a good short term solution. Sell it on craigslist when you find a better plan.

  90. Sara says...

    I had a miscariage this past summer and had to have a dialation and curetage which is not great. I will forever and always remember the nurse who stayed with me during the whole procedure, stroking my hair and saying it would be ok the whole time. That is about the only thing I remember from that experience (thank you hospital drugs!) and it brings tears to my eyes everytime because this was such light during a very sad and traumatic time.
    Thank you nurses :)

    • Elizabeth Bumpers says...

      I also had a D and C after a miscarriage, and my recovery nurse was an amazingly warm and caring person. I was heartbroken and completely vulnerable, and her kindness meant the world to me. I kept saying, “I already have one little girl; it was stupid of me to think I deserved another healthy baby.” She comforted me and assured me there was nothing wrong with wanting to have another child. I will be forever grateful to her.

    • Isabella says...

      Sara, I’m so sorry you had to go through that experience. I hope the sense of trauma is receding and you’re doing well! Thank goodness for kind nurses; they can make a universe of difference.

    • Ana says...

      Was nothing like that amount, but once in a supermarket line the lady ahead of me, with two little toddlers couldn’t find her purse to pay for her groceries. I did so and she took my details to pay me back. I didn’t hear from her (wasn’t expecting that) and life went on. Many years later at a local shopping mall when I now had two kids, I felt a tap on my arm and someone pushed money into my hand. It was that woman (who I would not have recognized!) and her two much older kids. She explained she had been in a really tough place going through a divorce and just couldn’t add anything to her plate. I didn’t care about the money ever but I’m so glad I got to hear how much happier she was all those years on

  91. Katey says...

    I am undergoing my first cycle of IVF and was super nervous about the egg retrieval part mostly because of the anesthesia (as I haven’t had anesthesia as an adult and the whole thought of being put to sleep didn’t sit well with me). After the nurse and anesthesiologist got me all set up, the doctor came in (not my normal doctor and this was the first time I had met him) and kindly greeted me before putting on his gloves. He then asked if I would like to hold someone’s hand while they gave me the anesthesia and when I said yes, he promptly took off his gloves and squeezed my hand tightly. I thought he was going to ask the nurse in the room or fetch another nurse to come in, but no he so kindly and compassionately filled this role himself before performing my medical procedure.

  92. Danielle says...

    This isn’t exactly recent, but it’s stuck with me always:
    My freshman year at college was the rainiest year of my life, and one day I (stupidly) got caught out in a downpour without a coat. As I was slogging to the nearest bus stop, feeling pretty miserable and hating everything, this car pulls up next to me and a woman yells out the window “Get in, I’ll drive you wherever you need to go!” She didn’t care that I was sopping and leaving a puddle on her seat, she blasted the heat and took me all the way to my dorm!
    I never saw her again- never even got her name- but to this day I still feel a whole lot of love for her. I like to imagine that she might (every once in a while) remember me too, and I find that a very comforting thought.

  93. L says...

    My husband travels for work about one week per month, but this week, in between his regular trips he took on an additional one to help out a colleague at the last minute whose husband was having surgery. It wasn’t a big deal for me to have him go again- another week on my own with a one year old is pretty routine now, but today flowers arrived from the colleague to thank me for being so flexible with the whole arrangement- it was so unexpected and thoughtful when really I feel I should have been the one sending the flowers! Cookies and a kind note will definitely be heading in her direction next week.

  94. Em says...

    Out of nowhere, a former colleague wrote me a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn. I was floored! When I asked her what sparked it, she replied, “nothing in particular – I was just thinking of you and how much I loved working with you and thought I should put those thoughts to good use!” Her kind gesture has made me realize how often I think fondly about my friends and coworkers but never verbalize these thoughts. So now I make an effort: whenever a friend’s smiling face pops into my head – even if I haven’t spoken to them in years! – I make a point to send a text or email that says, “just thinking of you and how wonderful you are.” It’s amazing how an action that takes literally ten seconds and zero dollars can have such a profound impact on somebody’s day!

  95. Jeanna says...

    In my apartment building we have a laundry room with 3 washers and 2 dryers. Last week a man had 2 loads already going in the washers when I came down to start my 1 load. I went back up to my apartment, and when I came back down 25 minutes later I saw that he was only using one of the dryers, and he left the other for me to use. He had his 2nd load sitting on top of the dryer he was using. That amazed me! Anyone else would have used both dryers and left me to wait. Very kind.

    • Ssan says...

      You know…i really appreciate these kinds. They have their common sense level above average i guess. I’d like to think that they have some kind of mantra to keep on doing things like this. Because believe me, being considerate of others takes a lot of effort.

  96. Ssan says...

    I was cat-sitting my roommate’s cat recently and otw back to our shared place (258km by road) the cat somehow managed to run away from the car while I was placing some stuff in. This happened at a gas station. I was quite nervous because the cat and I were not close then. Then suddenly this attendant came and helped me with everything. But I was so overwhelmed by the situation and the fact that I was an hour behind my solo driving schedule that I only managed to clumsily say thank you and drove away.

  97. Katie V. says...

    My pillow had a hole in it. I also have a 2 year old. The hole has been stapled together for about 6 month (see: having a 2 year old). Upon discovering this pillow situation, my husband promptly got out the thread and needle and properly sewed up the hole. It was a small gesture, really. But, as a stay at home mom/wife, I often feel like I am always taking care of someone else and no one is taking care of me. It was nice to have someone care for me, even if it was just through a bit of mending.

  98. E. says...

    I work in auditing which means we are going through our so-called busy season at the moment, with lots of late nights and weekend work. I was having a particularly tough week and was getting a bit emotional about the mountain of work to get through on the weekend, when on the Friday my manager asks me about my weekend to-do list. When I finish my run-through, he replies “cool, I’ll take care of it.” And just like that, he freed up my weekend, right when I needed it the most. I was deliriously happy, so much so that I nearly cried!

    Shout-out to all managers who see their teams’ needs and don’t consider themselves above scutwork, they’re the ones that make work bearable. This one in particular makes it his business to know what his team is up to, and is always at hand for much-needed pep talks over a cup of coffee.

    • Emma says...

      E! my husband is an audit manager at one one of the big firms and he is similarly dying, but not more so than the younger associates on his team who are just wrecked by one of the worst busy season jobs we’ve seen (the team worked from the office for 15 days straight…). We always talk about what he’s doing to keep his team motivated, healthy and on track, and how he can help them do the best work while simultaneously making sure they’re not drowning. He’s definitely one of the good ones, and it’s nice to know there are other managers out there getting in the thick of it with their teams. Your comment warmed my heart!

  99. RobberSoup says...

    When I was 16 and a nervous brand new driver, one day on my drive home from school my 1980 Toyota Tercel just died in the middle of the street. I sat there for a second in shock, and then the car started rolling! I was so surprised I slammed on the brake, but looked in my rear view mirror to see a gentleman pushing my car. I steered over to the curb, he hopped in his truck and drove on. I never even got to thank him! It made me realize that angels are real, it’s just normal people helping people who need help, without being asked and with no thought of themselves. We all have the ability to be angels.

  100. I love this So much. I also had someone very kindly recommend this post to me, because she saw my recent Instagram project, @tinykindnesses, mentioned many times in the comments. I think because I share stories exactly like this, kindnesses that are tiny, but not really. The ones you received and think about for years after. I loved reading the ones shared here, too. Thank you for all of it. xo, Rachel

  101. Jen says...

    I gave birth to our sweet daughter two months ago. She’s our first and the labor was so long and so intense. When we decided to start the epidural I was beyond tired – a truly bone deep exhaustion. It took all my effort just to tie up my hair, and with my back exposed and my husband sitting what felt like a million miles away in the corner chair as he was directed to by the staff, I remember feeling so suddenly vulnerable and alone. The words “I don’t want to be here anymore” repeated over and over in my mind and I started sobbing a big-tear, out of breath sob. Just then, I felt my face get warm and when I opened my eyes, I realized that our nurse, Sharon, was holding my head in her hands. Four fingers behind my ears and both thumbs softly stroking my cheekbones. In total silence. It was the most tender expression of care. A purely maternal way to nurture another person. I remember just absolutely sinking into that comfort and before I knew it, the epidural was placed, my husband was there holding my hand again, and the tingly goodness of modern medicine replaced the searing pain of my contractions. Most of my labor and delivery is a blur to me now, but I’ll always remember how cared for her simple gesture made me feel in what was undoubtedly one of the hardest, most emotional moments of my life.

    • Mikaela says...

      This speaks to me so much. After days of labor with my second child (the only everyone was telling me would be easier than my first!) I finally was admitted to the hospital. I was emotional and worn out and felt out of control. The midwife on call looked me intentionally in my eyes and said “we’re going to break your water, and your going to have this baby.” She reminded me to relax and breath in a really caring way. It was such a relief to have someone I trusted speak to me with kindness and confidence. I had my boy two hours later! I’ll always remember her and I feel emotional about it now, almost 4 years later.

    • Sara L says...

      I had my daughter 14 years ago and one of the most vivid memories I have is waking up the first night to a gentle touch. The nurse was waking me to breastfeed my daughter and the way she did it was by holding my hand and gently stroking the top of it. I’m sure she had a million things to do that night but she took the time to wake me up so gently and beautifully. Your comment reminded me of that moment. Congratulations to you! And tell your daughter about that moment when she is old enough! I told mine and she loves to remind me of it.

    • Cathy says...

      I had a similarly lovely nurse when getting my epidural and I wish I caught her name to thank her. I love that they do this day in and day out and don’t seem to forget that for the mom in labor, these gestures are so helpful and meaningful.

    • Grace says...

      Your comment reminded me of my own birth! I also had a long, painful labor that ended up being unmedicated even though that wasn’t the plan. My water didn’t break until the last 15 minutes of labor. When it finally broke, I started sobbing out of relief that my labor was finally progressing, but also because I was so exhausted and I’m so much pain. My nurse wrapped me in a big hug and just said, “It’s ok, it’s ok. This is one of the hardest things you will ever do.” And the midwife looked at me with such a bright smile and said, “You’re doing such a great job. We have so much confidence in you.” That kindness and affirmation in such a vulnerable moment really stuck with me.

    • rachel says...

      nurses are EVERYTHING in L and D!!

    • Kara says...

      YES! Birth and afterwards is the most emotional, vulnerable time! My second daughter was a very fast and intense birth (no epidural, born within an hour after arriving at hospital). Afterwards, I just could not use the restroom. I was too tensed up (and scared to pee) from the whole experience and my nurse did a 1x catheter to relieve my bladder and give me time to relax. But while she was doing it, she gently pulled my leg to rest against her body because I was shaking. The gentle, compassionate way those nurses care for you during birth and post partum is amazing.

  102. Julia says...

    I’m 5 months pregnant, and we had a horribly icy day last week – it had been humid and then snowed all day, and all the streets and sidewalks were so slick I was a little scared to walk out to my car at the end of the day. My manager showed up in my office, told me her car was warmed up directly outside our door, and drove me down the block to mine. Then she got out and brushed my car off so I didn’t even have to walk around it to do that! It was the most thoughtful thing I’ve experienced in awhile.

  103. Sarah says...

    A male colleague (same level) shared his salary with me. When we realized I was 20% underpaid, he helped me prep my pitch for a raise. And it worked.

    • J. says...

      It was unexpected, but this comment brought me to tears! I work with 90% men, and the small ways that they notice things I experience and help and support me will never fail to make me overcome with gratitude. And a big congratulations to you– I’m so proud that you are now being paid as you have earned/deserve!!!

    • jane says...

      God I love men like that!

  104. B says...

    I used to be a broke and stressed out college student! There were days where a small act of kindness would bring me to tears since and change the energy and trajectory of my day. I never forgot that. So now years later I’ll go to nearby coffee shops where I know a lot of students go to study and hand over a small pile of $5 bills to the barista and request them to hand it out to the next few people that walk in. There’s a notecard that I paperclip to each bill that says:

    Hello there,
    A complete stranger just wanted to fill your day with sweetness and free coffee. In a world heavy with ulterior motives, greed, and ego -even with all that- this is just a reminder that everyday magic and simple acts still exist <3

  105. Shannon says...

    I was flying alone with my one year old son and needed to go to the bathroom during the flight. While I was walking down the aisle, the flight attendant said, “Oh actually the changing table is in the other bathroom.” And I said, “Thank you, I’m the one who needs the bathroom.” The flight attendant immediately offered to take my son and play with him while I used the restroom. Picked him up and tickled him and made him feel like a millionaire. It was so thoughtful and her immediate reflex. I was so touched and ended up all teary-eyed in the bathroom alone (!).

  106. Julie says...

    I was stopped at a traffic light, sitting in my car, windows down, music on. Little did I know my hubcap had come loose and popped off. A woman, sitting at the stoplight as well, saw what happened, got out of her car and brought it to my window. I had no idea that it had even happened and those things are expensive to replace! She had to hurry back to her car as the light changed, but the fact that she braved traffic to retrieve that for me was so thoughtful. I wish I could’ve had time for more than a brief “thank you!” for her kindness!

  107. Lynn says...

    5 years ago I was walking in the early evening and slipped in mud and fell HARD. So hard that the bones in my forearm buckled up ( I instinctively pushed them back down). 2 African American gentlemen driving by witnessed my fall, and kindly reversed to ask if I was ok. I was crying, and maybe in shock a bit, and I told them I wasn’t! They asked if they could call someone for me, and when that person didn’t answer, they asked if they could help me home, and if it was ok if they got out of the car. I said yes, of course! I couldn’t get up. They picked me up, put me in the car ever so gently, and drove me home. My husband was outside and thanked them, and off they went. I ended up with a broken radius and ulna, in a full arm cast for 10….yes, 10 weeks, with 5 months of physical therapy after. I will NEVER forget their kindness as long as I live, and I wish I knew their names to thank them again. I have always believed they were angels!

    • Jen says...

      Lynn I’m so sorry you had this terrible injury and so glad these men were there to help you. I just wanted to — gently — point out to you that it is a bit strange that you mentioned the race of the men who helped you. I wonder whether, if they were white, you would have mentioned their race in telling the story? I say this assuming that you are not African American. I’m not either. But surely a small kindness I can do is try to be an ally to a community who is constantly marginalized and othered because of race. Hope you’ve recovered well and thanks for sharing your story,

  108. sjs says...

    these comments provide a refreshing view of humanity.

    the other night, my boyfriend got home as i was prepping dinner and said “can you do me a favor? will you go sit down and let me finish this?” it made me feel so seen. we have a dear family friend who has tragically lost her husband, a child, and a grandchild in the span of a few years. for the past two years, my parents have stopped by her house very late and dropped a bag full of groceries off on her porch. their kindness reminds me to be kind myself.

  109. Cali says...

    Today a man held the door for me at the ups store. I had packages in my stroller and there were three huge steps to get inside. (I totally forgot about them! I haven’t been there since the baby was born.) He waited patiently for me to grab the car seat off the stroller and packages instead of rushing into the store ahead of me. It was so appreciated!

  110. A couple of months ago, I was rushing (as usual) to make the train as I heard it arriving upstairs. I swiped my subway pass a couple of times and it wasn’t working. A young guy was exiting and must have seen my exasperation. He smiled, said “Here use mine!” and swiped it for me, so I could get through. I was so stunned and happy!

    • Jess says...

      A sweet employee at my local Trader Joe’s gave me a bouquet of flowers at the checkout today. I’m there at almost the same time every week with my enormous flirty baby and she told me how much she looks forward to seeing him.
      In all honesty I’m having a really hard week mentally and this small gesture meant the world to me.

  111. Jessica says...

    I just moved to Paris and have had to grapple with learning a new language amongst strangers who, when they see me struggle for words, typically roll their eyes and resort to speaking English. The other day, I was checking out at IKEA and the cashier saw my struggle and began again in English. I told him, “ Désolé, j’apprends le Français.” (Sorry, I’m learning French) to which he smiled and said – in perfect French – “Then I will speak more slowly, so you can understand.” I could have cried. It was so simple and so gracious – and thus started my first full conversation in French since arriving.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really beautiful, jessica.

    • Caz says...

      As someone who also once moved to another country and learnt another language, this one hits me right in the feels! That is so lovely!
      Good luck with your new life in Paris. When I was living abroad, this quote got me through some tough times of adjustment: “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”. Go you glorious ship!

    • What a great and touching exchange. It’s so nice to meet people like that when you are learning to live (and speak) in a new country. I moved to Quebec 10 years ago, and I remember being so thankful for the people that would stay in French with me (instead of just switching to English).

      And good for you, Jessica, for embarking on this adventure! Good luck and may there be many more understanding French people in your future who are willing to speak French with you as you are learning! :)

    • Anna says...

      As someone who experienced this when studying abroad in Paris, my biggest tip is to just continue speaking in French when someone switches to English. Often, they’ll eventually switch back to French – and even if they don’t, at least you got some practice in!

    • Jessica says...

      Thank you Joanna, Caz, and Anna for the tips and words of loving support. One of the many reasons this blog is such a happy place for me. And I think I may frame that ship quote – so inspiring! ❤️

    • SB says...

      You got this, Jessica! I, too, moved abroad (many years ago) to a French speaking country and it’s a lot! Navigating new life PLUS new language! Once I got a bit more confident, I would go even further and say, “Merci, mais j’ai besoin de pratiquer mon francais, si c’est possible?” (Thank you, but I need to practice my French, if that’s possible?). I never once had anymore snigger or smirk or give attitude – everyone was always happy to help (and I think happy that a foreigner was taking the time and patience to learn).

      So keep at it – it will come together :) :) And I may be extremely biased (as it became my second home), but take the TGV to Geneva for a trip at some point – the Swiss speak French more slowly (and you’ll get mountains and great chocolate!).

  112. monica says...

    Yesterday, on my second pup walk, I have to take two as my big labs are a lot to handle all at once….a neighborhood landscaper called to me and handed the smallest sweetest little bouquet of flowers as I was walking by for no reason that he didn’t want to toss them out while trimming the plants and wanted to share them with me. Human kindness is free and it made my day, I couldn’t stop smiling all day for very small kindness from one stranger to another.

  113. EJ says...

    Two weeks ago on Valentine’s Day, I was rushing through the (always packed) Grand Central market to pick up an interesting cheese for the dish my husband and I were cooking for dinner. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, so the Murray’s cheesemonger asked what I was making, proceeded to give me a whole cheeseducation (with samples! even though it was packed!) and then helped me find the perfect thing. He was standing by the check-out as I paid and as I turned to leave, handed me a small, paper-wrapped piece of cheese and said, “this one’s super interesting, thought you’d like it. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    Working in NYC can feel SO lonely sometimes and I definitely have a tendency to rush around with a RBF, but man did he put a smile on my face for the whole afternoon. Murray’s is the best.

  114. Lorena says...

    The night before my first day back from maternity leave a chocolate cake, bag of coffee beans and chapstick were anonymously dropped off at my doorstep.

    I still don’t know who did that for me, but the fact that someone was listening and hearing the fear and pain I felt about returning to work still brings tears to my eyes. FWIW: I’ve been back 6 months now and it has been so much better than I thought, my worrying was for naught.

    • Ellen says...

      That is so wonderful & I’m so glad it’s going well for you!

  115. Joanna says...

    I’m 9 months pregnant and was attempting to jam my feet into my shoes after toddler music class as my two year old squirmed in my arms, scrunching up the shoe tongue in the process. Wordlessly, the dad tying his own shoes next to me leant over and wordlessly fixed my first shoe and helped me put on my second shoe. He looked up and said shyly “We’ve got a three week old at home, I get it.” It was such a small thing, but so kind I could have hugged him.

  116. HM says...

    When I was a very new mom, a distant cousin tapped me on the shoulder at a funeral and whispered “I can see you’re an absolutely wonderful mom.” I still tear up every time I think about it, and it’s been years. I like to give a similar compliment to new moms I encounter—moms can sometimes feel a little unseen.

    My version of the compliment is “your baby is in love with you.” It’s never not true, and it usually lights up the face of the recipient (I stole it from the breathtaking documentary “A Doula Story”).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “your baby is in love with you!” i love that so much.

  117. Carrie says...

    My kids (8, 8, 5) have been taking turns home sick with the flu for close to two weeks. My mom came today to stay with them so that I could actually leave the house and get some errands done. When I returned hours later she had planted daffodils and tulips in our planters by the front door, which had previously held sad holiday green remains. ” I thought you could use some brightness after the last couple of weeks”, she said as she kissed me goodbye.

    • Maggie says...

      Oh, this touched my heart as have many of these stories but this one…..

    • Annie K. says...

      I want to be your mom someday. That is beautiful, so gracious and warm.

    • Sarah says...

      Moms! Unbelievably productive and loving creatures! Thinking about how much we love our young babies and how we have opportunities to do stuff for them all day every day, it must feel so so good to her to have little opportunities to take care of her grown up daughter. I bet it felt just as good to her as it did to you.

  118. Ashley says...

    I have been having the grumpiest day. This has been such a goooooooood remedy to remind me of what’s important, to pull me out of this funk.

  119. Anon says...

    We are going through infertility treatments right now. And my friend said a prayer and gave me my injection because my husband and I couldn’t do it ourselves.

    That’s something else. My mom did that for her friends every day during their IVF cycles; she passed away a few years ago, so I like to think that was her way of coming back.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really beautiful. wishing you all the luck with your fertility treatments. xoxo

  120. Kim says...

    When my son was 6 months old, my husband and I were going to fly with him from NYC to SF. My husband was delayed on his business trip, so at the last minute our plans changed and I flew alone from NYC with our son while my husband flew direct to SF. I hit terrible traffic, rushed through security, and pushed our stroller in a frantic zig zag through Newark to make our flight. Despite not having great airline status, by some miracle I was upgraded to first class (huge win, right?!). Things were going well until two hours in when my son wanted to sleep, couldn’t fall asleep, and started fussing non-stop. I pulled out all my “new mom” tricks, but none were working, and I could feel the glowering looks from the mostly businessmen around us. Thank goodness for my seatmate – a mom of three kids herself – who at one point took my son and walked up and down the aisle with him, cooing softly and bouncing him on her hip, so I could have a break. Her encouragement and kindness kept me from bursting into tears – she was an angel!

  121. Meg says...

    I was in Anaheim for work and took a cab to a grocery store to stock up on healthy snacks for the duration of my trip. Before I got out of the car, the cab driver checked his wallet to see if he had his grocery store discount card with him so that I could use it. He didn’t have it with him after all, but I was so touched at the gesture!

    Less than 10 minutes later, I was in the produce section, and someone tapped on my shoulder. It was my cab driver, who had gone into the grocery store to fill out an application for a second club card so I could use it.

    • Chrissie says...

      STOP IT MEG THAT IS TOO MUCH FOR MY HEART!!!

    • Ssan says...

      I truly love this!

  122. G says...

    I’ve been living in another country for work 6 months. I have a photo taped up by my bed of my husband that falls down every day. I kept trying to put it up for the first week then finally became exasperated and gave up. The next day I came home from work to see our housecleaner had replaced and secured it right by my pillow. I was so touched by this simple sweet act, it brought a tear to my eye.

  123. Cathy says...

    I’m a new mom and recently back at work. While out with some non-mom friends, they asked me how it was going and I talked about how it was hard to juggle full time work, pumping, and the scatterbrain that comes with having so much to keep track of now. The next day, one of those friends sent a text in the middle of the work day to say she was just thinking of what I said the night before and sending me a hug through the slog. It made me feel so heard, coming from a non-mom friend, because it wasn’t that she knew what it was like from experience, but that she listened to what I was describing and really took it to heart. In another similar instance, I mentioned casually in response to an email from a former boss that I couldn’t make a happy hour she was scheduling because it was my first week back from maternity leave, and she remembered which day I said I was going back and a few weeks later, on that day, sent me an email saying that she knew I was going to do great on my first day back. She’s a mom of two and it made me tear up that people were thinking of me on what was a really emotional day of transition and to be reminded that other moms have been there and done it. It’s made me resolve to pay it forward when colleagues and friends go back to work from maternity leave.

  124. Laura says...

    This is more of an example of universal kindness. It’s fresh in my mind so I feel inspired to share.
    Yesterday I was walking through a forest path close to home that was empty because of the snowstorm we were experiencing. My podcast ended and in the silence, I stopped for a moment to admire the snow-caked tree branches and general stillness. It’s been a bit warm here, apart from yesterday’s snow, so the silence was interrupted. In the tree to my right was a group of chickadees, flitting among the branches. On my left a scuffling noise revealed a downy woodpecker scuttling up the trunk. Then, just in front of me, a shockingly red cardinal landed and sipped from a puddle. All of these heralds of spring reminded me of the impermanence of winter, of everything. To be surrounded by these gentle beings in the midst of the beauty of a winter’s day felt like the utmost kindness of nature and filled me with that warmth that kindness so often does.

  125. DC says...

    My husband and I were having dinner at a local restaurant patio with a huge large fountain surrounded by tables. There was a dad swinging his toddler son over the fountains edge. I always carry pennies to this restaurant to give away for “fountain wishes.” I asked his son if he’d like some pennies to make wishes and the dad said yes. They stayed for several minutes, it was so sweet watching them decide on wishes and throwing their pennies before going back inside.

    When we asked our waiter for the check he said a couple inside had paid for us with a generous tip. On our way out I stopped to thank them and the dad said that the pennies I gave his son made his night.

  126. Mariah says...

    I am going through a particularly hard time in life right now and very overwhelmed by so many heavy things happening at once and have been so touched by the love and support I have received from friends.

    This week alone, I have gotten the most gorgeous “just because” flowers from one friend, taken out to dinner by another, gotten several text messages and emails from friends checking in to see how I am doing and letting me know they are thinking of me. I feel so full of gratitude and it makes all the difference in the world to know what a great support system I have. Really appreciative of my tribe.

    • Maggie says...

      This. 100%. I had to break up with a really toxic friend (it was a great friendship until it wasn’t and I let her abuse go on far too long) and for the past 3 months or so she’s been trying her damnedest to make my life hell- messing with my husband’s job by spreading rumors, trying to block my kid’s acceptance into schools, even reaching out to befriend my rapist and former friends I had confided in her about. Really, the bitter, maniacal nature of it and the news cycle had me feeling dejected. But similar to you, Mariah, friends and loved ones far and near have come to my aid, been deeply loving and supportive and many have rushed back into my life filling the space this former friend used to dominate. That’s the universe rewarding a tough decision.

      I had someone remind me over a recent lunch that I was handling myself with grace by not gossiping or speaking ill of her and it’s a great reminder to not give in to anger or hurt; to be what she so clearly cannot: kind. Ultimately, I know she is acting like this because she is hurt and for that I send her love and healing while continuing on my road of happiness and gratitude for all the wonderful things that abound in my life and what she taught me. Which, ultimately, was to value myself.

    • Mariah says...

      Maggie – sending you a big, big hug. Breaking up with a toxic best friend was one of the worst “breakups” of my life, and is still painful even though it was several years ago. Hang in there. Thank god for loved ones and support systems. Happy Friday!

    • Maggie says...

      Mariah, thank you for validating me and your offers of comfort. You’ve made me feel seen! Sending you love from the interwebs…

  127. Hannah M says...

    One Christmas Eve an elderly woman who was a family friend called my parents to say she had accidentally locked herself out of her house. My parents started calling local locksmiths (this was pre cell phones) but most were unavailable due to the holiday. Eventually, they reached one locksmith who said someone had once done something really kind for him on Christmas Eve so now he always works over holidays to pay it forward. He helped the woman get into her home and even brought her a Christmas present that he had on hand just in case someone called.

    • Ssan says...

      To stumble upon such person! Especially in time of need…

  128. Kimmie says...

    I’m 99% sure I got this idea from COJ a few months ago, but I have venmo’ing friends, dear old coworkers, anytime I see they are on a trip with a message to have coffee on me at a cafe (a friend on a solo work trip), a bottle of wine (a couple celebrating their anniversary in Napa), or whatever silly thing I think makes sense for them. They are always caught by surprise and the thank you texts I get make me tear up! It feels so good to do something out of the ordinary, and to relish in the good feelings it stirs up for all.

    • B says...

      My daughter was in and out of hospital the first year of her life with a complex heart problem, 2 open heart surgeries (we nearly lost her twice) and months in peds ICU. Well we came home days before her first Christmas and my coworkers (we’re all peds cardiology nurses) brought over meals, gift cards (dozens of them!!) Gifts, balloons it was beautiful! It blew us away!! Something I will NEVER FORGET.

  129. Le Flâneur says...

    Aww this is great!

  130. SMG says...

    I live in the Chicago (the city proper, not the burbs) and one of my neighbors will snowblow our block’s entire sidewalk, including the part from the walk to everyone’s front steps. I thought those days were over when they moved across the street, but now he does both sides. This is such a help as my husband has the uncanny knack to be away on business just about every time we get snow.

    • M says...

      Haha! My brother-in-law lives across the street from me with my sister and he always shovels and salts our walk before dawn when it snows. Now when I shovel the sidewalks I make sure to do my immediate neighbor’s and the neighbor I really love up the block.

    • Katha says...

      I just smiled at the image in my head of your neighbor really enjoying snowblowing and being all happy about it and thus doing the whole block just for fun.

  131. Daniela says...

    Today has been rough at work. I work in dispatch and asked the room if anyone knew the last name of a doctor that I needed. One of my coworkers goes “no, but I’ll call and find out for you!” Seriously such a small thing I could’ve done myself, but it was really nice of her to step in and help me when I have been juggling a lot today.

  132. m.s. says...

    my soul friend lives in another city, but she knows exactly when I am feeling so low that I can’t “justify” spending money on myself. she venmo’s me $ “for breakfast.” I treat myself, per her wishes, and proceed on a heart-filled high for days and days. it means the world.

  133. NL says...

    someone keeps leaving lemons on our doorstep. kind neighbor or stalker? i hope it’s the former (:

  134. Lauren says...

    Fresh flowers in February! Every february I sent flowers to a friend who I feel could use some cheering up. This year the flowers went to a friend who has had a very tough pregnancy.

    I’d love if as the CupofJo community we picked a kindness theme each month together! Flowers February, Cards March, Coffee Shop tab April, etc….

    • Savannah says...

      I LOVE this!

    • Maggie says...

      Omg, GREAT idea! Seconded.

    • Elina says...

      I love this! Think of how much love we’d be spreading!

  135. KM says...

    This just happened to me! I work at a university study abroad office, and needless to say, it’s a tense time to work with students traveling internationally. Someone from another office just swung by with a plate of brownies and said, “We figured it’s a tough time for you and wanted to bring these by.” <3 (and also delicious)

    • Alexia says...

      I also work at a study abroad office at an University, I wish someone did that for my team! You are so lucky! It’s a really tense time!

    • Juliet says...

      I work with international students (inbound to the U.S.) Definitely a tough time! I should bring brownies in to my office for my coworkers :-)

    • Midge says...

      I am going to do this for our International Programs office! Thank you for the inspiration.

  136. Edith says...

    I was already in an annoyed mood considering I was sitting in a mandatory meeting, that I drove an hour to get to, and only contained 30 seconds of relevant information. As soon as I walked in the room I was called out to take a ridiculous and upsetting phone call. Afterwards I sent my husband a quick head-up text related to the phone call and he replied with a GIF of Yoda saying Namaste. Everything about it was so unlikely and seemingly out of character, but also perfect for the moment. It made me actually smile, which was great since I was moments earlier I was so angry I could cry.

  137. (For context: In Montreal, the buses have these horizontal poles that you can grab onto by holding your arm above your head (like in most buses or subways), but they’re quite high. Attached to these poles there’s usually 3-4 handles that you can grab onto if you’re not tall enough to reach the pole.) The other day I was taking the bus at around 5:30 PM to get to a dance class, and the bus was pretty packed, so all the handles were taken, and I was trying to hold onto the main pole, but being 5’4, I could barely reach it. A teenage boy who was standing next to me, and who was much taller, noticed this, and he quietly let go of the handle that he was holding and grabbed the bar instead, so that I could grab the handle. I swear, I could’ve burst into tears I was so moved.

    • Colleen says...

      Isn’t there something especially wonderful about a kindness from someone unexpected?

      I live in the Midwest and once, during the deep of winter, I was struggling with my stroller toward a restaurant when a college-age boy came up and held the door so I could push my stroller through. I turned to hold the door for him and he had continued down the street. I was so touched at his kindness, at just the moment I needed it.

  138. Natalie says...

    My husband travels a lot for work and one time at the grocery store he bought a few premade meals for me so I would not have to worry about cooking while juggling kids activities drop offs and work. I thought it was really thoughtful

  139. Lauren says...

    Someone bought me the last loaf of bread! I was at the French bakery in my neighborhood last week intent on buying a sourdough boule and the woman in line in front of me bought the last one on the shelf. I called out to the person behind the counter to see if that was, indeed, the last one and they said yes. So I turned around to head out the door, empty handed, and the woman who had just bought the boule called out “you can have it!” And then she gave it to me! I was so taken aback she had to force it into my hands. I tried to give her a $5 bill and she wouldn’t accept it. Such a lovely gesture and I’m still thinking about it.

    Buy a stranger carbs!

  140. Rebecca says...

    I got off the 4/5 at Atlantic at the end of a long day at work to find the weather had change whilst I was underground and it was raining torrentially. I had no umbrella, but an older gentleman nearby saw me hiding under and eave and offered to share his. After a block or so he said “this is me,” pointing to his front steps. He then handed me his umbrella and when I tried to refuse he said “what are we on this earth for, if not to be kind to each other?” And then I cried the rest of the way home, holding his umbrella.

    • Lori says...

      This just made me cry.

    • K says...

      Gone again.. tears.. too much

  141. Corinne says...

    I recently lost my debit card while walking in town. I thought I lost it in the restaurant where I was eating. I got a call from a gentleman who found it in the middle of the road. He met me a bit later and refused a reward. He told me that he lost his card in NYC years ago and had it returned so he wanted to pay it forward! I hope to be able to do the same sometime!

  142. Amy B. says...

    One of the more bizarre NYC stories in my repertoire. My husband and I were on the subway, and a group of teenage boys was just acting up to no good. One of them was carrying an unboxed birthday cake. I had a gut feeling this wasn’t going to end well, so at the next stop, we moved to the next car. Sure enough, some chaos ensued, cake was thrown, and an innocent young woman ended up with some of it in her hair. The boys escaped at the next stop. So we crossed back into the car, and for the next 5 stops, a group of strangers & I circled around this woman picking individual sprinkles out of her hair. And to find out she was on her way to a funeral.

  143. Courtney says...

    My daughter is in first grade, and her teacher came back from maternity leave at the beginning of the year. She mentioned that twice a day, a different teacher comes in to be with them. When I asked her why, she said that it was so her teacher could go and pump. So not a kindness from me, but as a once- and former-pumping mom, I love that two teachers are helping that mom make milk for her baby. I know from other teacher friends that those breaks can be really hard to find in your day.

    • Charlotte says...

      I would love to be able to put a heart on this :)

    • Chrissie says...

      Two years ago my son was having an overnight field trip to NYC and he asked me to chaperone. I really didn’t want to go because I have a panic disorder and I really didn’t want to have a panic attack in front of all his friends. BUT he was 12 and I knew there wouldn’t be many times where he actually WANTED me to do things with him. Anyway, he really wanted to break off from the group and visit relatives in Hoboken. I don’t know where anything is in New York OR New Jersey but I thought- I have a smart phone, how hard can it be? We ended up breaking from the group near the 911 memorial and went into a big, beautiful (panic inducing) subway station. I was trying to take the subway (or the Path?) to Hoboken but I kept hitting road blocks. First I couldn’t figure out to use the machine to buy tickets. Then my credit card wouldn’t work. All the while the line full of aggravated New Yorkers got longer and longer. I ended up starting to panic and said “fuck this we’re taking an Uber”. I ordered an Uber but of course the Uber driver can’t find me during rush hour on Wall Street (ma’am are you on the east or west side of the street? I DONT KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS) and I notice my phone is dying. The Uber driver very sweetly says “hold on. I’m coming to get you” when my phone completely dies. No more Uber. Next my 12 year old and I try and hail a cab. And nothing. No one will stop. I feel like I’m going to cry. I don’t have a working phone and I don’t know where I am or where the rest of our group is. Suddenly an angel in a business suit comes up to me and says “are you trying to hail a cab at 5:00pm on Wall Street? That’s never going to happen” and through tears I say “I’m just trying to get to Hoboken.” The angel (who smells a little like Booze but no judgement!!) says “there’s a ferry that goes to Hoboken. I’ll take you there”. As we walk I find out that he grew up near me. He used to shop at the blockbuster video I worked at in high school!! Anyway, we get to the ferry and when I go to thank him he’s gone. Truly. Nowhere in sight. I never got to thank him. Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed him. Was it actually the stronger part of myself, Fight Cub Style, coming out to save me when I was panicking and felt like I couldn’t save myself? Nah. He was just a business man who had a few drinks and noticed a woman and child who looked clearly out of place. I feel bad that I didn’t thank him but I’ll never forget my Wall Street angel!!

  144. Nigerian Girl says...

    Last week at work, I was starving and I didn’t have any plans for breakfast. I decided to hold on till lunchtime. Next thing, my co-worker arrived with breakfast for herself…and me. I was so touched. Her kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit still warm me as I type this. There are still good people in this world, even though the news tends to make us believe otherwise. Every day I hear or see something that reminds me not to lose faith in humanity. As an aside, the little girl and the puppy in the picture are extremely adorable. Cuteness overload.

    • Daniela says...

      Thank you for making me think of the fact that every Saturday morning, my coworker brings my favorite bagel sandwich in for me. Working weekends is no fun but this brightens mine every time!

  145. M says...

    I cannot be the only one crying my way through these comments… I need this so much today. This post is my kindness today. Thank you!

    • Clare says...

      Same! :)

    • Sally says...

      ME TOO. I needed this today.

  146. Kara says...

    Last night. When I picked my 12 year old up from school, she told me she got cut from the softball team. She was SO upset. My 2 year old kept saying to her “It’s okay little one”. And then later, the older daughter showed me something she had made in 3D art. The 2 year old wanted to see and kept saying “I like it so much! It is so pretty! Is it for me?” I swear it gave her sister the biggest self esteem boost and just melted my heart. The toddler was just so sincere with her words. She is often sort of bossy to her older sister so it meant a lot.

    • Cooper says...

      This is just the sweetest!

    • H says...

      Awww… my 18 month old will fight anyone who makes his 9 yr old sister sad, so I have extra feels for this!

  147. Micah says...

    I was in line at the grocery store in Germany and the total was one euro more than I had on hand. I started telling the cashier to take out the bell pepper, when the man behind me handed me a euro and smiled!

    • MN says...

      My coworker baked and brought in four gluten free cupcakes yesterday for the four of us who can’t eat gluten and were all scheduled for the same shift. Just because we don’t usually get to eat the treats. A little thing that completely made my day (week+++?). Makes me smile!

  148. Emma says...

    Overtime and at my age (76) I have lost much faith in the human race yet the most unusual and wonderful thing happened to me recently in a hardware store of all places. I bought 2 gallons of pink paint for my bedroom and was paying the cashier who was putting each gallon of paint in double paper bags for me to carry….they were heavy and I figured so what as it was only 4 or 5 blocks and I could just walk slow…….well the man behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said to me……Let me give you a ride home*, I looked at him in shock and looked away to finish the transaction and paid him no mind, Again he tapped me and said he would gladly give me a ride home for I reminded him of his mother, I smiled and looked at him this time and what a sweet man he was and said yes, I let my guard down big time and found a very nice man who carried my bags to his truck and took me home…..I told him I had painters coming later today and was so happy to get this bedroom painted as my doc would not let me do it anymore, paint walls that is. I told him I love HGTV for all the decorating shows and that Barnwood Builders on DYI was my favorite, he then said he was an architect and we found we had something in common. Long story short, he was a very nice man who just gave an old lady a ride home with her 2 gallons of paint, I Thanked him so very much and wish now I had his address so I could send him a Thank you card for his kindness to me……now it is my turn to pay it back to someone who needs it….will do gladly many times over,

    • Agnès says...

      What a lovely story Emma! (now I want to see your pink room!).

    • Clare says...

      So lovely!

  149. Lisa says...

    Our neighbor, who of note has three small children and a husband who is deployed for a year, works at a brewery near us. I mentioned one of their current offerings which looked super good to me as I had noticed it on Instagram. She brought home a crowler full of beer and delivered it to me before we dropped our kids off at school in the morning. Amazing! Shout out to Phoebe at Love City Brewing!

  150. eM says...

    Also yoga with adrienne, headspace and 10pm bedtime.

    • We live just across from an elementary school, and the 60-year-old crossing guard parks her car in our driveway. One snowy morning, when my husband was away on a business trip, I rushed outside to remove the snow off of my car, only to find out our crossing guard already did that for me! I was on the verge of tears. It was the sweetest thing!

    • Charlotte says...

      Wow that is being kind to oneself :) Congratulations !