People Share How Good Samaritans Changed Their Lives | 22 Words

Let's face it, some days you need a hug. No matter what's going on in your life, some random act of kindness can brighten someone's day. Something as simple as someone holding the door open for you when you've got a bunch of stuff in your hands, or showing you a picture of a cute dog they found on the internet.

These stories are like that dog photo. They'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but they'll also make you wish you had a dog. And remind you that you don't because your apartment is too small and it would be rude to keep a dog cooped up in there all day. Sorry was I rambling?

Find a cozy corner of your couch, throw on an over-sized sweater and get comfy, because these stories demand it. You'll feel good-sad in no time and will be ready to "pay-it-forward" the next time you go to Starbucks for sure. Faith in humanity isn't lost after all.

Let's start off with a good Samaritan.

I talked to this dude whom I barely knew after class one day during my first year in college. I told him that I live alone and have been eating cereal for the last two days in a joking manner because I didn't have time to go grocery shopping due to the exams. He brought me two plates of delicious butter chicken with rice the next morning. He said his parents run an Indian restaurant so he brought some for me. He told me I'm able to ask for more whenever. -Felr2

Sometimes you need someone who was paying attention.

I lost my mom to lung cancer June 2006, one month after graduating from high school. I am an only child. That August, I moved an hour from home to attend university. Without fail, in every class, we were asked what memorable thing we did over the summer. I spent my time telling people I had planned my mother's funeral. One girl who I happened to share several classes with ended up being my across-the-hall neighbor. That following January, she showed up at my door with a cupcake and a candle on my mom's birthday. Not a single person I was close to remembered but she did. She held me while I cried and we stuffed our faces with cake. She stood up at my wedding as a bridesmaid several years later. -llamamama03

Did someone say Santa?

When I was about five, my mom was single and in nursing school. She had very little money, and we lived in this tiny one bedroom apartment. This elderly Greek man who lived in our apartment complex dressed up as Santa on Christmas Eve and brought me presents. I can still remember him saying “ Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!" in that wonderful Greek accent. That was one of the sweetest memories of my childhood. -shadypines33

The best referral someone could ask for.

Mother's boyfriend at the time gave me a referral to the company he works for. I get a "Thanks, but we don't have any blah blah blah" letter from the company. Oh well. No big. My resume was hilariously lacking in things they wanted in an employee. He then pulls some strings and gets them to give the resume a second look. Another no thank you letter. He talks to them again and convinces them to give me an interview. He's confident that if they interview me, and give me the aptitude test they give everyone in the tech side of the company, they'll hire me. So, they interview me, give me the test. Call me in for a second interview. Hired less than a week later. I've been there for just over 12 years. If it wasn't for all the crap that guy did to just get my foot in the door, I'd probably still be managing retail and not happy about it, and not at an awesome company doing something I generally enjoy. -DashCat9

All this kid wanted was to go on his band trip!

When I was a senior in high school, my band was going on a trip out of state to go skiing. I had moved a lot as a kid. Aside from going to that high school at two disjunct periods of time, it held the longest amount of my education. I hadn't been able to go on any of the band trips though. I had to work to pay my own way. I had problems with my mom and her stepdad and hadn't yet fully forgiven my dad. I had my own bills that I was responsible for. I could never afford to go on one of the band trips. All of a sudden, about a week and a half away from the trip, my band director pulls me aside. He asks me if I want to go on the ski trip. I responded something to the effect of not being able to afford it. He cut me off, saying that's not what he asked. Obviously, I told him I wanted to go. Turns out some benefactor saw some of what was going on behind the curtains in my life. They were - and still are to this day - anonymous to me, but they footed the bill for my charter ticket, food money, and ski gear money. I cried. I just started crying right there in the band director's office. -shikuto

Sometimes all you need is a hug.

A stranger once consoled me in an airport bathroom when I was crying my eyes out at having to leave my husband behind in another country for who knew how long. She was a cleaner who just saw that I was crying and without a word grabbed a giant wad of paper towels and handed them to me. She then guided me to a little seating nook and just sat with me until I got myself under control. She talked about the latest movies and how she hated all the new pop songs and just kept talking until I stopped crying. She saved me that day. -Valiantlycaustic

When you can't figure out how your car works.

I just started driving maybe had my license for a week. Went to go fill up gas for the first time. Realized I never learned how to fill up a car. A guy saw me struggling for about 10 minutes and he walked over pulled out his credit and showed me what to do. Ended up paying for my gas and teaching me a lesson. Never got his name or anything. -Nato23

When school gets a little tough.

It must've been my junior year of high school and I was on a huge class trip (something like 60 students), to attend a conference 4 hours away from home. It was the week after Thanksgiving and this trip coincidentally landed on my birthday. I remember being really bummed out because I was barely starting to make friends outside of my classmates and I wasn’t going to be able to celebrate it with them. I’ll admit it, I was really mopey in the way teenagers get about dumb stuff. Towards the end of the night, I was sitting on my bed and my good friend from class came up to me and said, "happy birthday" like it was nothing. First and only person to wish me a happy birthday, I thought to myself. We chatted for a bit and he said, "hey let’s go get you some food at Denny’s next door. I agreed and we left..."

But they had to turn back!

On the way there, he did a pocket check and realized he didn’t have his wallet and panicked. We went back to the room and found nothing. He was freaking out so we went to the lobby and asked the concierge if they had a lost and found we called our teachers and had them ask everyone if they had seen it. He was trippin' at this point. A few minutes later we get a call from the program director saying someone found it and turned it into him. Relieved, we head up to the teachers' room and as he opens the door my friend just says come on, get inside. My mind was not on his wallet. My mind was back home. I follow him inside and it’s completely dark except for this huge birthday cake with a bunch of candles and 60+ people yelling “SURPRISE!!!" I was so shocked, I just started bawling, hard. Everyone came up and group hugged me. It was a feeling unlike any other. Up until that point I’d never had a surprise party before in my life. I guess while we were running around “looking for my friends' wallet", everyone was making their way to my teachers' room. That’s one of my favorite memories from high school. -tealfeels

Sometimes you need a real-life superhero.

I passed out in the street and when I was coming to, there were a few people around me, 4 maybe. Seemed like they didn’t know each other but all stopped to help. Called an ambulance, waited with me, asked if there was anyone I could call and they tried calling my parents and a guy I lived with. Just when I was coming to, but still too out of it to really think straight, a woman said she was driving past, and saw me just lying there. She said it reminded her of her little brother who passed away very recently. I didn’t get to say anything to her and I felt awful. -Simowl

Getting saved by the next-door neighbor.

My best friend's mother saw that my home life with my dad was getting steadily worse and more abusive. She went to Children's Aid to see about taking my brother and I in and becoming our guardian. She already had four kids of her own but still found room in her heart to take in another two teenagers. She fed and clothed me, paid for braces and expensive proper fitting bras. She treated me as an equal to her other children. If she hadn't stepped in, I have no idea where I would be today. She saved me. It would have been her birthday today actually, but she passed away two years ago. --pumpkin-

Crying into the money.

Someone paid for the first three months of my rent at my first house. My dad had died a month before that and the funeral director wanted to help me out. -EnoughtoLiveBy

I think we've all experienced this embarrassment.

About 10 years ago, I stopped at Subway to grab dinner after a very long 14 hr shift. When the employee swiped my debit card, it declined. I was already tired and I know I had at least $2k in the bank (lived with a roomie for cheap and had a decent telecom job). I felt the tears immediately start to fall down my face as I timidly asked to try it again. Declined. I just slumped over and eeked out "thank you for trying" and started to walk away, shaking because I didn't know what happened to my money, I was very tired and all I wanted was an Italian sub. The lady behind me says "wait! I'll get it for you!" I thanked her and asked for her info so I could pay her back, she said not to worry about it, and as cliché, as it sounds, to "pass it on". Got home, checked my account, and was relieved to see all my money was there. Called the bank, and they told me my old card was expired and they had sent a new one out several weeks ago. My bank still had my parents address, so I was able to get it. Since then, I have made it a point to help when I see someone's card declined. I've picked up the tab for about a dozen people since then, from a cup of coffee for an elderly man at a gas station to a couple cans of baby formula for a very frazzled looking mom at the grocery store. We're all just out here trying to make it. -CeeDiddy82

Sharing is caring.

My parents would regularly starve me as punishment, as the food in the fridge were for "the good children" and not "the bad one." I'd survive off of school breakfast and lunch, and pretty much coast off of outdoor fruit on the weekend (I would regularly sneak into a fruit grove). My middle school friend, who would always bring lunch to school, eventually caught on when I broke down to a bully dumping my food tray on a Friday afternoon. The next week, her mom apparently packed extra food and she just couldn't finish it. Same with the next day. And the next, and the next, until I moved at the end of my 8th-grade year. Even if I couldn't finish the food myself (it was a LOT, I'm talking double servings of good leftovers), I was gifted old Tupperware to take the food home in, so long as I brought it back to school. The starvation punishments stopped once I passed out in PE and my guidance counselor had a parent meeting to make sure the family wasn’t struggling to buy groceries. The last leftover meal I got was a delicious slice of homemade cake -- my friend's mom seemed to know it was a joyous day. -hotsweatyandready

This poor kid wanted to go to college.

When I was in high school, I got into my dream university through hard work, luck, and an ounce of talent. I lost out on that opportunity when the financials came back and my family realized there was no way we could swing it. What I'd been working at for the past three years was over, just like that. I had gotten into a couple of other schools, but knowing THE school accepted me and I had to say no just killed me. I was 17 at the time, and it felt like my world collapsed. I got depressed, badly. I did nothing for the next two weeks of that hot summer but sit on my front porch and feel sorry for myself. Some of my friends would come over, hang out, try to cheer me up, but I was just morose and difficult to deal with. My friends would eventually get tired of my boring self and leave. Not Joe. Joe hung out with me on that porch all day every day after it became apparent I wasn't just snapping out of it. He would sit with me for hours on hours, just sitting in silence. We'd watch the cars go by and smoke cigarettes. When night came he'd get up to leave, and every day he'd say, "See you tomorrow." And he'd show up again, and we'd sit in the same silence, me stewing and feeling sorry for myself. After about ten days of this, Joe came over and walked up onto the porch, me in the same spot. He said, "Get up, we're going somewhere." I told him I didn't want to go anywhere. Joe was a big dude, a lot bigger than me, and he just walked over, picked me up and threw me over his shoulder, and carried me to his car. He threw me in the back of his two-door, got in, and drove. I protested the whole time--he turned the music up. We stopped by a friend's house--picked up three more people, who all crammed into his tiny car. He took us to the county fair, carried me in on his shoulder, and paid for my admission. He kept picking me up and carrying me from ride to ride, carnival game to game, and made me ride the tilt-a-whirl, throw balls, pick ducks, etc. Everyone had a great time while I was seething. At the end of the night, everyone was laughing and singing in the car as Joe dropped each of our friends off, me last. He let me out in my driveway and said, "See you tomorrow." I woke up feeling much better the next day. -tokyoflex

Break out the tissue box.

A while back, back in high school, my freshmen year I had gotten into a fight with my ex of two years and we had broken up. Since she was my first love, I actually started tearing up during lunch after we broke it off. So I’m standing there tearing up outside next to a pole, headphones in and this random guy came up to me and taps my shoulder. Looks at me dead in the eye and ask me, “are you ok?" I said, “yeah man, I’m alright". I just remember the way I said it, voice quivering and he didn’t buy it for a second just gave me a look and just said to me, “you need a hug". The dude legit just looked at me and gave me a big hug. At the moment I didn’t really care how I looked, or how we looked just hugging it out right there, but it really helped me throughout the day. This guy, never spoken to him, never seen him in my life just was such a nice guy and such a bro that he didn’t even care himself that he just gave me a big bear hug. I never saw that dude again. I like to think he’s out there giving the world a giant hug to this very day. Hug Bro, if you’re out there, thanks, man. -Zarrona13

I need a hug.

I was in high school and had just broken up with my boyfriend of two years, he and his new girlfriend were basically torturing me, shouting out mean things to me in the hallways, spreading rumors, rubbing my pain in my face, etc. It was especially bad because I really didn't have any friends I could go to, and my home life sucked, so I was even more miserable than I would have been. I missed the bus home one day, and the office refused to give me a late bus pass because I didn't have a good excuse. I was just so overwhelmed and had no idea how to get home or what to do, so I parked myself by the theatre, in a quiet corner with nobody around, and just completely lost it crying. Next thing I knew there was a guy there, whom I'd talked to a few times in passing but wasn't friends with by any means. He started talking to me, gave me a huge hug, and listened to me babble. He was so kind and understanding, it made me feel so much better. We ended up walking to his house which was close by, and he stole his parents' car to give me a ride home. I was so thankful. -spidercat138

A surprise!

After a really hard year, my two closest friends and my mum said they were taking me to London for my birthday. Bizarrely they wanted to fly, and since I only lived in Liverpool that seemed odd. It wasn't until the airport when I heard a security guard read the ticket as Liverpool to Barcelona that it clicked. They took me to the opera, the magic fountains and Las Ramblas. There's like a million pictures of me constantly crying in happiness from that trip. It was just so kind to go to so much trouble, just to cheer me up. -AgentDagonet

This is like Mean Girls, except the opposite.

Moved in middle of 7th grade. New city, new junior high school. Lunch comes up and I sit on the first bench I get to. Everyone else in a different part of the yard. Dave B. walks over, "You're new, right? Come sit with us!" He and I never really became friends, but I still remember that invitation decades later. -rejeremiad

Late night Facetime.

When my grandmother died, my friend would FaceTime me when I couldn’t sleep and tell me bedtime stories. Our safe-word was “pineapple". If she said that and I didn’t answer, she knew I was sleeping and she could hang up. It might have been a little thing for her but it made a huge difference for me. -lawnmowergoat25

It pays to have a good nurse.

When I was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, the first two days I was in the ICU on a ventilator. I was HEAVILY drugged, but somehow I was still awake a lot of the time. There were two really kind nurses. The first one came in and said "Hi, I'm Lil Rachel. They call me that because I'm short. Your grandparents are coming tonight, so let's get your hair done so you look pretty for them." She used rinse-free shampoo to clean my hair (I hadn't been able to shower for like 3 days before getting to the hospital due to balance/mobility issues) then brushed it and braided it and put it up in a bun. No one else cared about that, they were focused on keeping me alive, so that was really kind of her. The second nurse, I don't even know what she looked like. I had like a 4-5 hour head to toe MRI while still on the ventilator. I was crying and scared and didn't know wtf was going on (drugged to the gills) so every time I came out of the tube I started panicking. This lady was there to hold my hand, literally, and rub the back of it and tell me that I was okay, I was doing a great job, and we were almost done. Every time I came back out, I immediately reached a hand-out and she was right there to grab my hand and comfort me when I was scared and confused. Really, every nurse, doctor, physical therapist, and psychologist I saw when I was in the hospital was so incredibly kind to me. I'm crying just thinking back on how amazing every staff member was in the darkest and hardest part of my life. -Totikoritsi

And a good therapist.

I have a knack for getting people to feel very comfortable talking to me and there was a girl in particular who during the two times we hung out told me about some abuse and terrible things that happened through her life that she had never told anyone about and also clearly never dealt with. I talked her about them for hours but ultimately said that I think she would benefit a ton from talking to a professional, but that I would be here for her when she needs it. A few days later she had her first therapy appointment and while we barely talked she would update me or I’d check in on her about her weekly appointments and things seem to be really improving for her. Fast forward a few months I haven’t had much communication with her, but she heard through a random grapevine I had been used by someone close to me the details of which are unimportant.. The thing is when she heard that she called me out of the blue to check on me and tell me how much I mean to her, how much I changed her life and that she knows she wouldn’t be alive today if she hadn’t met me by chance. The thing she said that really got to me was that that day someone had attempted suicide by jumping off a local bridge and she said the first thought she had when she heard about it was that the person just needed someone like me. She said she called because she wants to make sure that someone doesn’t hurt me to the point I stop being there for people in the way I was for her. I bawled, it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me, and after working on myself extremely hard for most of this year to be someone I could be proud of and the person I needed at darker times in my life, it was the first huge validation I had ever received and while I didn’t need it, I’ll never forget it. -Sethdubbs

When your step-parent is better than your real parent.

My stepmom continues to do nice things for me. I grew up with a very neglectful mother, emotionally, physically, and financially. My parents divorced when I was 12 and I was forced into a motherly position to my two younger sisters. My dad and stepmom married three months after the divorce was finalized and because of my Mom’s anger and dislike of her, I never took the time to get to know her or be nice to her. I’m sure my stepmom thought about leaving my Dad a billion times during those years. My father is eventually re-stationed and moves away for work and my anger stops me from keeping a relationship with them. After years of not talking, I message them out of the blue. I’m fed up with being homeless (mom threw me out at 18), depressed, lonely, and uneducated. Three years of no communication and after only three weeks texting back and forth when I ask her if I could relocate to the west coast to better my life, she not only purchased my plane ticket but a plane ticket for my dog as well. I’ve been living with them for two years now, I’m 22 and I have my associates and am working towards a bachelors in biochemistry. My parents, especially my stepmom, have shown me what true unconditional love looks like and how parents are SUPPOSED to take care of their children. Kris, you’ll never understand just how much my life changed because you decided to love me despite my bone-headedness. I’m a better person because of your support. -Asucks01

Everyone needs a teacher like Hilary Swank in their life.

A high school teacher told me: "You're one of the good ones. Don't waste your potential and keep working hard." It was said to me at a point in my life where I was rejected from my dream university, I was lonely and didn't have any friends, and I was feeling suicidal having just immigrated and being slapped with a heavy-handed culture-shock-machine. I cannot count how many times I've gone back to that moment of affirmation. In my college years, trying to get admission to my dream school. Those long days waiting for an acceptance letter only to get rejected yet again. Those nights I've been studying for a midterm or final I knew I was gonna fail. Those moments finding out I did fail and ended up in academic probation. I've held on to that moment in between those teeth-gritting smiles during a rough shift at my fast food job. Those moments I've been rejected from job interview after job interview. More than a decade (or so) later, I'm a professional now, working a very fulfilling job where I'm happy. I got a small push through an off-handed comment from a teacher that doesn't remember saying it, but it changed my life. To all the teachers out there, I know it can get tough. I know you rarely see where your seeds land and how they grow. I know there's a lot of faith and energy that goes in your students that is often under-appreciated. But know that you are making a difference. -poqwmnzxlkas

Time to run away.

I had a rough childhood. The usual emotionally/verbally abusive mother and stepfather. Anyway, the summer I graduated high school and turned 18 was a turning point for me. I began speaking up for myself and began taking less of my family's B.S. One weekend my parents had a party at their house. My step-dad was a severe alcoholic and was not supposed to be drinking due to health issues but was anyway. I confronted him and that turned into a huge fight between me, him, and his adult daughter. I had enough and ran to the neighbor's house where I stayed the night. I called my new boyfriend (now husband) and asked (very embarrassed) if he would come to get me very early in the morning. Dude barely knew me and didn't hesitate to help. We set it up so I would meet him at the top of my road. The next morning I got up before dawn and snuck into my house and packed a bag. I tiptoed barefoot out the door, barely able to breathe, and the second my feet hit the driveway I took off running as fast as I could down the road. (We lived in a very rural area) And there he was, waiting for me at the end of the road. Up until that point in my life, I didn't feel like anyone cared for me. My life changed that day for the better and that began the long road to building confidence and self-worth all with him by my side. -RubyInTheSkyDiamonds

Friendships between old people and young people warm my soul.

When I was a kid, I met one of my grandmother's best friends. At first, I was super scared to approach him because he had a wheelchair. But after I got to know him, we instantly bonded. He was exactly 50 years older than me (same birthday) and also loved Harry Potter. During that summer, he would take me to see the movies (Nemo, Spiderman, Spy Kids) and treat me to ice-cream at BK afterward (I'd always get lemon and blue-bubblegum). Growing up, we were pretty poor, so those trips meant a lot to me. Looking back, we had a pretty special friendship. He was my best friend, my mentor and my role model for most of my life. He had a huge impact on my life and I never think I was able to thank him enough for it. -neomanthief

Be nice to pregnant teens.

When I was super pregnant, working at DQ (actually paid amazingly well), I was only 18 so I got a lot of anxiety about rude customers. One lady at one point had told her daughter I was a whore and not to end up like me. She was the only really rude person, but it had totally put a damper on my spirits and made me feel permanently more on edge about being the stereotypical "teen mom". This guy comes in, average early 40s/mid to late 30s looking. As he's waiting for his food I'm making he makes small talk with me. Asking things like "a boy or girl?" "What will her name be?" "Are you excited?" We made really great small talk until it was done. As I handed him his food, he grabbed my hand and slapped 30$ in it. He told me "Get yourself something nice for your baby girl." I didn't compute was happening and stared at him, barely yelling out "thank you" as he walked out the door because I was so shocked. I went in the back. Everybody thought he offended me because my cheeks were red and I was slack-jawed until I explained. He was the first stranger to make me happy cry. I wish I could remember exactly what he looked like. I'd try and find him so I could let him know how much it meant to me and that I did not mean to stand there like a dumbass with my mouth open. -Fertile_Squirtle

Sometimes, all you need is a little reminder that you are loved.

My daughter painted me a picture for my birthday. Me and the pups (both present and that crossed the rainbow bridge) enjoying nature. Just a simple thoughtful gift. And more meaningful because she is at that rebellious stage where I am no longer her favorite person. -declanDeCancan

When people notice you're having a hard time and decide to do something.

I was like 16 at the time and had been wearing the same glasses for about 4 years that had just been through hell! So much of them being stepped on because of basketball, I had crazy glued them in like 7 different places and they were all faded and scratched as well. My family didn’t really have much money and I didn’t want to bother them by asking for a new pair since I didn’t have any health insurance of any kind. There was this very loving Jehovah’s Witness family who’s kids I had come to befriend and care for dearly. One day the dad came up to me in a serious tone (but very loving) and said ok come on this Thursday we will get you new glasses. I denied but he insisted because of the friendships I had with his kids. He and his wife bought me prescription glasses and eye exam that totaled $500. Till this day I am eternally grateful to them and their kindness and it hurts that I can’t express how much that meant to me now over 7 years since I left the organization 4 years ago. -carlos_tru2

When your friends show you they love you.

Last year for my 24th birthday four of my best friends and I rented a cabin up in the mountains to celebrate for the whole weekend. Just having them set aside time and money for my birthday trip meant so much to me, but they went beyond that. Two of them managed to get me out of the cabin for a few hours while the other two stayed behind (just to cook our dinner, I thought). I came back to a fully decorated cabin with balloons and confetti everywhere, my favorite cake, champagne, and Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic" playing as I walked in. I felt so, so loved. -LoisLane_