From the first day of kindergarten, if not before, we're taught from an early age to be weary of strangers. After all, we never know their true intentions — maybe that dude in a big white van really does need directions to Cold Stone Creamery, or maybe he wants to kidnap you and hold your wealthy parents up for an exorbitant ransom. (Even if you don't have wealthy parents, it is still not advisable to talk to strangers in big white vans.)
But not every stranger has malevolent intentions. Some of them are just regular, kind people we haven't had the pleasure yet of meeting. And sometimes, those strangers really step up when they're needed, even if they've only met on the internet.
Here are some inspiring stories of people who met someone on the internet and were treated with kindness and respect, even though they'd never even shaken hands. These strangers were kind, and as this AskReddit thread where these stories came from proves, their geniality will not soon be forgotten.
It's nice to have fans.Left a detailed comment on a story I wrote and how I made them happy, how I wrote the characters perfectly, etc... It really filled me with joy since I was so convinced nobody was going to read it anyway. I was just writing for myself. - zagreusfromhell Man, I feel this. Just getting someone to say anything about writing is a task in of itself. - SableyeFan
I've always depended on the kindness of (internet) strangers.A very long time ago I was super depressed and was doing the equivalent of messing around in a chat room/forum kinda thing. Anyways, I was absent for like a couple of weeks because life got busy. Well, this girl private messaged me to ask if I was okay. I didn't even know who she was but she recognized I was missing and read between the lines about the stuff I'd written. She said she hoped I was okay. It was just a little thing, but it really meant a lot to me that she noticed me and cared enough to check-in. I was honestly in a really dark place, and that simple act really lifted my spirits. - billbapapa
Online games can bring people together.There was a guy me and my friends used to play Call of Duty with online constantly. He lived in BC, and we lived in the Southeastern US. He and I would live chat just about every night regardless of what we were playing, and I even got to talk to his mom a couple of times. He was such a genuine person, and we talked about everything from depression to God to relationships. As I got to know him better, he opened up that he had Lyme's disease and that his father had left him and his mother a few years prior because he couldn't handle the stress or medical bills any longer. My birthday was coming up and he was adamant on getting me something. Breaking all rules that a parent gives their 15-year-old, I gave him my address. A few weeks later, I get a package that included a wireless 360 headset and an Atlanta Falcons keychain, along with a handwritten note thanking me for my friendship. We still talked a lot after that, then one day he just stopped getting online. I checked at least twice a year up until the past couple to see his last logon, but it's still at the date it was when I first noticed. - dirtybirds233
Glad that copy of the game made someone happy.
via: FlickrA number of years ago, I had lost my job, and my girlfriend really wanted the latest Civilization game. I wanted to get it for her, but it wasn't responsible to spend the money. I mentioned something about the situation on a forum where I posted regularly, and one of the guys there happened to have won a copy recently, and didn't care for that kind of game. A few days later, she had a brand new copy of the game. - cdskip
A small price to pay.I beat a random guy in Madden, and he messaged me asking for my Cashapp and then sent me $100. Then blocked me. - Kingmir1
This story inspired me to go buy myself a Snickers.A long time ago, when I was 15 or so, I was living with my sister because of a bad home situation. She was only 18 and barely making it as it is so we frequently didn’t have anything to eat. My mom lived 15 minutes a way and made 250k a year but wouldn’t help us. I was talking to a random person on AIM about what was going on in my life and he brought me like 100 worth of groceries. He brought it to the outside of our complex (it was gated and locked) and said things will get better someday and left. Never to be heard from again. Looking back, I realize it was stupid to give an internet stranger my home address, but I was starving. The sweetest thing was he threw in was a candy bar because “everyone deserves a treat once in a while." - Lezzylace
To think, that money could've gone to his roommate to pay the internet bill (the one thing everyone uses Venmo for).I once accidentally paid a stranger in Venmo. I messaged them saying that it was a mistake, all the while assuming they would keep the money and block me or whatever. A few minutes later they sent my money back to me! It was only like $10 but it made my entire week to know that some people aren't complete sh*t lords. - PokemonPat
Write and put it out there and people will be drawn to it.I write fanfic. I had a moment of madness and took all of my work down for two reasons: One, to tweak them for relocation to a new site, and two, I was caught in depression and was going through that wonderful "EVERYTHING I DO IS SH*T" phase. I was browsing Reddit and in the fanfic thread for the fandom I write about, I saw my pen-name mentioned. Three people were asking where my work had gone. One was worried because I hadn't responded to any messages on the site. One in particular was saying how much they loved the detail in my story and that they'd like me to review some of their work sometime. That meant the world to me. I don't know if they know I saw it, but they inadvertently made me feel like something silly that I wrote, meant something to them. - PotatoPixie90210
The Nature Boy brings folks together.I wanted a Target exclusive Ric Flair Funko POP but ours never has exclusives. Someone had a couple for trade but I didn’t have anything they wanted. They told me if they’re still in stock next time they’ll pick one up for me. 2 weeks later it arrives at my door. Never asked for money or anything. - TwoHeadedBoyTwo
Take care of yourselves.
via: FlickrI was talking on an internet forum back in 2007 about how I had a weird red streak coming up from a nasty cut I had a few days back, so a commenter let me know I had blood poisoning and was probably a day away from sepsis. So that was pretty nice. - WholeGrainMustard
Skip ahead to 1:14.The people who leave time stamps on Youtube videos for when the video actually starts are my heroes. - gahsta
He gained so much wisdom and strength in that minute.Someone made a post asking what people thought about not telling his soon-to-be-born twin babies which one was older. He thought that by not telling them, they wouldn’t ever get the sense of superiority or tendency to bully one another because of age. I talked about how I’m a minute older than my twin sister and that we are the best of friends. I’ve always seen my roll as a protective older brother and at times when I felt afraid or weak, I always think of how I have to be strong and brave for her. She thinks I’m her hero. I don’t deserve it, but I love her for that. One internet stranger said they wish they had a brother like me. That will always stick with me. - aredthegreat
A quick blending mask will do the trick.One time I posted some photos of me and my dog that a friend had taken late in the evening so they were super dark. Someone decided to go ahead and edit them beautifully and send them to me. Just "oh those were a little dark, here ya go." They looked 1000% better. - gotcatstyle
Don't let your future husband open the mail.She gave me her wedding dress. The pictures turned out beautiful and I plan to give it away again once I can afford to ship it off. Sisterhood of the traveling wedding dress ;) - MissyC123
These all feel like wildly disparate nice things.Gave my, at the time, medically fragile son 20,000+ oz of breast milk, took me to lunch at a very fancy Italian restaurant, and then to Starbucks bought me a pound of coffee and an espresso for the drive home. - mitwif
After all, they're just sitting there on the card.Used their air miles to get me home for the holidays after a massive FU on my end. - Min_Requiem
My fear would be that I dreamed the story, and/or was going insane.I posted on a forum asking if anyone could help me identify a short story and author from some vague details that I remembered. Googling had so far been unsuccessful, so vague was my memory of the plot and details. Within a couple of days, not only has someone identified the exact story, but they promised to send me their copy of the book that contained it. I offered to pay and they refused, and when the parcel with the book arrived it also had a bar of chocolate in it! - Alpaca_Tasty_Picnic
Let's all just say "I love you" to everyone, all the time.I still hang out with this group of friends, and they are all wonderful people most of the time. I was going through a rough time in my young adolescent life. I’m still going through it, but I’m slowly getting help. But the thing that this person did was something so basic, but it made me feel so warm inside. He told me he loved me. Not in a romantic way, but in a brotherly sense. It meant a lot, hearing that. He noticed something was up with my behavior, and decided to check in on me. Feeling little to no love at home and feeling worthless every single day, it really meant a lot. - StaliniMussolini
I bet they were also happy to look all knowledgeable.It’s small, but they helped me find a Christmas present for my husband. He collects bullets, he loves finding rare kinds. He showed me a .10 bullet on Facebook, and said it would be cool to have one. I joined some gun & bullets groups on Reddit, and asked around if someone could help me find the .10 for a gift for him. Sure enough, I had a few comments with links directly to where I could buy some. It sits on his desk at work, it’s more special than the ones he keeps at home! Thank you internet strangers! - altusvires
Hold the pineapple.I've had a online friend buy me a pizza before. - dogemaster00
No matter their situation, no one should have to miss out on video games.A guy in my Fallout gaming group got his hand mangled in some machinery, and we all donated money to order him a one-handed controller. He was super grateful. - kalos990
No but seriously: take care of yourself.They told me to take my symptoms seriously and go to a doctor even though I had no insurance at the time. All the feedback I was getting from friends was that I was young and probably fine. But this person literally saved my life based on a throwaway comment on some random Reddit thread. Turned out I had stage IV endometrial cancer and was scheduled for surgery within two weeks (delayed by having no insurance... good ol' USA). During that time, it got significantly worse. The tumor had gotten so big that it tore my abdominal wall and caused pretty severe ascites. That would have caused the cancer to spread much faster if it wasn't dealt with as soon as it was. I really think they saved my life by telling me to go in at that time. - _maybee
Hopefully they also donated some bits.I am a very small Twitch streamer. I do it to come out of my comfort zone and try to become more social and confident (also to work on my English which isn't my first language). When I didn't stream for a whole week, people were saying that they missed me and asking when I'd be back and asking if I was okay (I was sick). It doesn't seem like much but that was a really nice feeling. - whynott__
A wet sock is a bad sock.I talked about how I had to tiptoe when it rained because my old shoes had holes on the heels. Three Redditors stepped up and offered to buy me new shoes. I almost cried. - drlqnr
Don't tell this story to corporations, they will (continue to) assume all artists work for free."Here is your logo, go and work on the more important parts of your business." I was just asking for advice for a logo here in Reddit and one random internet person just made it in like five minutes. Thank you stranger! - kronkandizma
Sometimes, you can change minds around the periphery.Several years ago, when I was still too naive of an internet user, I engaged in discussions with people on the internet with extreme views (racist, homophobic, conspiracy theories, etc...) and politely tried to change their minds thinking by just showing them basic evidence without personally attacking them. (I'm pretty sure I had a success rate of zero percent.) In one case, on a news article on the moon landing, someone brought up some standard moon conspiracy stuff and I jumped in. Things were looking good at first, the points I was bringing up were actually being acknowledged by this guy. But he simply kept bringing more and more fringe theories as to why it was fake and it became clear to me that it was a lost battle after a couple of weeks. Given that he appeared to just be randomly googling for new theories, while for each one he brought up, I took the time to read on primary sources and provide a detailed account, it was impossible to keep up. But after that, every few months I started receiving messages from people who ended up reading the entire discussion thread, thanking me for my patience and saying they had learned a lot from it. This went on for a couple of years, and it was always nice to hear that I did not simply waste my time then. - pamarca
Again, corporations must never know.
via: Reddit/r/AWildSketchAppeared drew a portrait of my little kitty and I cherish it to this day. - iklegemma