Homeless People Reveal the Nicest Thing Someone's Ever Done for Them | 22 Words

Being homeless is a life full of daily struggles. Not knowing where your next meal is coming from is daunting. Not knowing if you'll be warm enough to make it through the night is terrifying. And worst of all -- the people. Living on the street is a guarantee that you'll be faced with some of the worst people in the world looking to prey on you or exploit you. It's dangerous.

So, for many homeless people, they rely on help from others. Nothing major. Just a meal here and a pair of socks there. But those contributions can be truly life-changing.

We took to Reddit to find out some stories of truly good samaritans. Stories of random acts of kindness from complete strangers, including one from a pregnant teen that's gonna rip your heart out and put it back together. Some truly heartbreaking stories. So, find the nearest box of tissues, and let's get started.

We can start off with this heartbreaking saga.

When I lost my job after the Y2K remediation, I wound up broke as a joke and no hopes of a job from anywhere in Oregon at the time. Girlfriend got asked to come take over her family's failing company business in Utah and we decided to go for it. Got here with nowhere to live, no money, 1/4 tank of gas.

We lived in our cars for a while then we found a row of 3 abandoned houses in Provo and squatted in the middle one.

While she tried to rescue the family business, I got a gig delivering those stupid free newspapers that people get in their driveway. Wife's car was a longbed F350 so we could deliver a ton of papers. That's what kept us fed. I was 32 and a paper route was my only income.

As far as the nicest thing anyone did...

One day a guy came and knocked on our door, saying he was the house owner. We said sorry and we will pack up and GTFO right now. However, the guy was nice. He said he owned all three of these empty houses and thanked us for keeping the crackheads out of them and he let us stay there, he even turned the power on for us. WTF. 6 months after that I wound up getting a job at eBay, and it was onward and upward from there. So really all we needed was a chance, we got it. -TheGarp

I've heard this is a big one. And not too hard to do either.

Hygiene. Anyone who let me take a shower and shave was an angel. -intensely_human

Another user chimed in with some tips.

Most homeless people aren't long term, living on the street type homeless. They're couch surfing or living out of their car. In my case mostly the former and some of the latter, for maybe 4 months many years ago. I had a job, some savings, and a working car. All I needed was a restroom and shower so I could go to work and not stink. I saved some money and got a place with roommates when a room opened up. Yes, my situation wasn't severe, but it was common. Luckily I had friends and wasn't addicted to anything, so it wasn't really a terrible hardship. I usually would do dishes for people after staying there before I left, cleaned up if I was staying at after a party, etc. Gotta repay people's favors and avoid being a burdensome mooch if you want to sleep on couches. -77884455112200

It's a common theme.

Showers and a place to wash your clothes to save as much money for food to be able to get dollar menu items and feed yourself three times off 5 dollars and some change, not sure if living in the car counts as homeless though but a 93 accord ain’t exactly a home. -PelicanParker

Apparently, there's a place you can go when you're short on your dough to help out.

When I was in high school I worked at the front desk of a small YMCA in Seattle. A few homeless dudes would come in to shower and I always just told them to keep their money and enjoy their shower. -HoorayKiddo
YMCA was so nice to me. I would go in their bathroom and wash my face and hair sometimes and one day this lady came to me in there and told me I'm welcome to use the shower just to say she said it was okay it was so nice. :) -PmMeYourPhilosophy

This might be the sweetest thing I've ever read.

My wife was homeless as a teenager. On Friday afternoons, a "businessman" would walk up to her and ask her if she was hungry. She would say yes, and he would take her into the restaurant on the corner. She never felt any danger with him (and she has had to cut somebody badly before). He was just some dude offering her a meal.

He would let her get anything in the menu.

He would sit and read the paper and drink a cup of coffee. There was never any conversation. When he was finished, he would pay the bill and leave. There was never any exchange of words other than "You hungry?" and "have what you want", and "have a good afternoon". This happened multiple times. She never felt like a project to him. She never felt less than him. She never felt in danger. He was just a guy who saw a dirty girl on the street who needed to eat.

She has since gotten her GED, graduated from a trade school with a fitness degree, and now has earned her MBA with honors.

She is an amazing woman and an amazing mother. The one wish she has is that she can run into the "businessman" who bought her lunches and thank him. -lifejustice

Sometimes you need someone to be real with you.

Clean socks and underwear and basic hygiene [were great]. [But] the best thing a person did for me was explaining to me that nobody cares about me except me and my family. That conversation went a LONG way to me stopping shooting up in alleys and getting a career. -RevRaven

Sometimes it's the little things!

Gifted me an old, baggy waterproof jacket with a big hood. It had many pockets too. A little large to carry around, since I was carrying a lot of other stuff, too, but proved very useful. It was very rainy at that time. -cutsjuju If you're donating your clothes to Goodwill, why not give them to someone who maybe can't even afford to shop there?

This person just needed a chance.

Employment. I wasn't addicted and wasn't mentally ill. But I had legal trouble and employers aren't going to hire someone who is probably going to jail 5 months from now.

I had to work under the table for like $4 per hour.

If there had been a way for me to get a decent temp job, I could have probably gotten an apartment for the interim. I was able to secure a spot in a church basement for a little while. The nicest thing anyone did was one of the people from church brought me a super Nintendo and a stack of games to help keep the boredom and loneliness at bay. -ThomasRaith

This is some good advice for people who think they're "unemployable".

In the future, or if anyone here faces homelessness, look for landscapers or concrete formers in new developments. They don't care if you stabbed someone, they care if you can pick up a shovel or a form and slam it down. Physically brutal work at times, but most of them are OK with a temp guy or criminals or people about to go to jail. Hell, my old boss hired a convicted pedophile, kept him on up until he had to go to jail, and then when he was out hired him back. -lostinthebarrens

"They need bodies, and desperate bodies are ideal."

I have a criminal background and live a pretty nice life thanks to the concrete industry. If you show up on time sober, work and don't steal you can get a job somewhere in construction. -randomascanbe Good to know if this whole writing thing ever falls through!

This next story is incredibly sad, so prepare yourself.

I was homeless as a teenager and used to hitchhike around the country. This is the story of the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me, I hope they get to see this and know I still remember them and appreciate what they did: I was hiking from Wisconsin to New Orleans. I was 15 and pregnant, although I didn’t know it at the time. I was sick and throwing up and was trying to get back to New Orleans to go to the charity hospital. I was having a terrible journey, a guy had tried to grab my leg and I resisted and he dropped me off on a toll road where no one would pick me up, so I spent several days walking until a semi-truck driver finally gave me a lift. He was a nice old man and I told him upfront that I was 15 and he promised he wouldn’t try to hurt me. He told me I reminded him of his niece and would give me a ride as far as he could go. I spent a few hours riding with him until we got near St Louis and then he pulled off the road at a rest area and asked me if I need to use the restroom. I did, and I was stupid enough to leave my backpack in his truck when I went in to use it. When I came out, he had thrown my backpack out into the parking lot and left me there, and there were bums going through my bag stealing my stuff. I was tired, hungry, and now I had just been robbed of what little possessions I had.

Only a few items of clothing remained.

I walked down the highway again and a short time later a car pulled over to give me a lift. The man inside was very overweight, sweaty, smelly, and was wearing just a T-shirt and dolphin shorts. The only reason I accepted the ride was because he had a CB radio in his car, and I thought I could use it to call ahead for another ride. Joke was on me, once we got down the road he told me the CB didn’t work, and now I was stuck in the car with this creepy guy. Luckily, he said he could only give me a lift to the other side of St Louis. It only took a few minutes before his hand started sliding up my leg. I scooted as close to the door as I could and told him I was only 15 and didn’t put out for rides, and he immediately withdrew his hand and apologized. He said he would take me a bit farther to make up for it. A few minutes later, here comes the hand again. I asked him to let me out. He apologized again and said he’d take me further. He started to pull off onto an exit.

Me: “Can I get out here?" Guy: “No, there’s a place I want to show you"

I look over and there’s a sign for a lake up the exit, and I instantly pictured myself tied to rock at the bottom of a lake. As soon as he got to the end of the exit ramp where it meets the off-road, I opened my door, grabbed my bag, and tried to jump out. He grabbed my necklace (one of those thick choke-chain kind) and shirt and pulled me back inside and started choking me with it. I was punching him as hard as I could, and I got a good one right in his nose. He loosened his grip enough for me to pull free, and I ran across the off-road and back onto the entrance to the highway. First he yelled, “Get back here you stupid bitch!" And tried to run after me, but he was too fat and I was too far ahead, so he tried to hit me with his car.

I jumped over the little rail that runs along the ditch, and I guess he didn’t want to damage his car so he kept going and got back in the highway.

Now I’m absolutely terrified that he’s going to turn around at the next exit and come back for me, so I’m frantically waving down cars on the highway. My neck is swelling and it’s hard to breathe, my shirt is torn open, I haven’t showered or eaten in 3 days, I'm crying, I’m sick, I’m a fucking mess. And just to make things worse, it starts to rain.

But then, a car pulls over. A cop car. Thank the gods, I’m saved!!!

I don’t even care if I go to jail, at least there will be food there. The officer opens the front door and tells me to get in. It was a lady in a brown uniform, not sure if she’s sheriff, police, park ranger, I have no clue, I’m just happy to be getting away from that fucking psycho. I tell her the whole story while she’s driving down the highway. She says she’ll make sure I’m safe. She takes me to a gas station and gives me $10 to buy some sandwiches. Then she tells me it’s going to get dark soon, and she can’t just leave an underage girl out on the highway at night, so she’s going to take me somewhere where I can get some sleep. She takes me to her house and lets me take a shower, and while I was in there she washed my clothes for me. After that, she drove me to a Sonic and bought me some dinner. We went back to her house and she let me sleep on her couch.

It was around 4am when she woke me up again.

Now there’s a man there, and my first thought is “oh shit, what have I gotten myself into now?" She introduces the man as her brother, and they tell me that they don’t want me hitchhiking tomorrow so they bought me a bus ticket to New Orleans while I was asleep. They drove me to the bus station and her brother gifted me a huge Bowie knife and said, “next time someone tries to hurt you, you use this." And they sent me on my way.

I’ve never been able to repay this woman, but I hope my story reaches her and she knows that she saved my life that day.

I made it to Charity hospital and found out I was pregnant and returned to my family to raise my daughter. Thanks lady, you were so kind that I’ve spent my whole life trying to pay it forward. You’re awesome. -1ofZuulsMinions I'm so glad this story has a happy ending.

So after that exhausting story, let's part with some general tips from a Redditor.

Formerly homeless and currently working in homeless services. Here are the top things we need, no matter the time of year. 1. Clean socks and underwear. Most of the kids coming into our shelters (especially the kids 12-17) have worn the same underwear for 7+ days straight. Some have had their periods and worn stained, bloody underwear for days. Almost every kid who comes in throws away all their underwear and gets new pairs, but we rarely have enough sizes or styles to meet their needs. Same with socks, those rarely last more than a few days of walking all day in the rain. We desperately need socks and underwear in all sizes and styles.

2. Healthy, chew-able food.

We get a lot of food donations, which don't get me wrong we appreciate massively. But much of what we get is canned, sugary, or otherwise heavily processed. We do our best to make healthy meals using dried rice and beans and canned vegetables, but fresh fruit and vegetables are often a luxury a shelter like ours can't afford. Working with youth we don't get too many people with extensive tooth damage, but in general food donations should not be sticky, crunchy, or chewy like many snack bars. Those struggling with tooth loss and decay can be injured by breaking teeth on crunch bars. But again, we'll take anything we can get.

3. Hygiene supplies.

Sample size ANYTHING is amazing since most these kids have to carry all their possessions with them. We give out hundred of Care Packs every week, full of sample toothpaste, shampoo, sunblock, etc. Condoms, tampons, pads, pregnancy tests, and other sexual health products are all in high demand. having bloody pants or getting pregnant while homeless is a much bigger issue than while housed. Try to avoid products containing alcohol, like mouthwash or hand sanitizer, as some folks struggling with substance use disorder may try to drink them. The non-alcoholic versions are great though! Wet wipes are a godsend.

4. Your time. Seriously.

Taking three seconds to smile at someone, hand them a dollar or a sandwich or a bottle of water. Asking them their name and if they need anything. Handing out pamphlets on local resources. It means more than I can fucking ever hope to articulate. A majority of unhoused people report having spoken to NO ONE in a 24hr period. It may not seem that long, but day-in-day-out of being ignored or regarded as trash on the street is the primary cause of all homelessness-related mental illness and addiction, period. The people we serve are dealing with months if not years of deeply internalized trauma related to being entirely forgotten by society. So the next time you see that old man rambling to himself on the street, have a little empathy. Likely he's had years with no one to talk to but himself.

5. Money.

I know people have their own hang-ups on handing out money, but seriously it helps. Hand out gift cards if you're worried about 'spending on drugs'. Want to know what most our youth spend the money they panhandle on? Taco Bell and guest passes at the Y to get showers and a place to hang out safely during the day. Many spend all their money on bus passes trying to get from work or school to shelters and appointments. And many are your average teenagers. They spend their money on toys and video games and hanging out with friends. Like normal kids should be able to. Yes, some people you hand a dollar to will turn around and hit the liquor store, and hell maybe they don't even need the money and are a scammer. But MOST aren't and we shouldn't let those few outweigh the hundreds of thousands who just need to make their day a little more tolerable.

When I was homeless I saw the best and worst of society.

I had middle-class housed predators solicit me for sex in exchange for a beer and a buck, and I had other homeless folks take me in, feed me, and guide me to services and safe havens. I was robbed repeatedly, assaulted, spat on, cussed at, but I was also talked to, hugged, kissed, smiled at, and provided for. I slept in playgrounds and on doorsteps, and rarely in a cheap hotel where I took showers that felt like forever. Life was HARD, but it was doable because people chose to be kind.
When you see a homeless person, consider that they are HUMAN. That's all you need to do. -BeanSoupBoi

Do you have any stories you'd like to share?

Leave us a comment and maybe we'll add them to the end of this story! Stay safe out there, y'all.