73 Unbelievably Strange And Interesting Encounters With Random Strangers That These People Just Can’t Forget About

For better or for worse, life is full of unexpected situations and surprises, both enjoyable and frightening. But in our experience, nothing quite beats those small moments of connection and compassion that can happen between complete strangers, like a bolt from the blue. Whether by coincidence or a stroke of fate, you end up getting to know each other on an incredibly deep level.

If you’re lucky, you become fast friends. Other times, however, you never meet that person again, but your experience stays with you for years. Coventry-based award-winning designer and illustrator Dave Gray, aka redditor u/joeChump, urged people to share the most memorable moments they’ve ever had with strangers in a viral thread. We’ve collected some of the most wholesome stories to share with you, and, hopefully, some of these might even restore your faith in humanity.

Bored Panda got in touch with illustrator Dave for a chat about his viral thread, and he shared his thoughts on unexpected altruism, as well as what we can all do to be kinder every day. “I think random acts of kindness break through mistrust and negativity and help us realize that humanity is fundamentally good,” he said. Read on for the full interview.

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#1

The day my dad died I was holding it together pretty well. Late that night I went to Target to have a moment to just zone out, and buy a few groceries.

As I got to the checkstand with my arm full of stuff I dropped a container of sour cream and it exploded everywhere. I completely lost control of myself and started to cry. The ugly cry. I was instantly surrounded by a group of women who just took charge of the whole situation. They helped me get everything paid for, cleaned up, and one lady even got a new sour cream.

No words were spoken, but their compassion and take charge attitude has stayed with me since.

Image credits: misdolnurs2517

Illustrator Dave, whose question about strangers went viral half a decade ago, was kind enough to share his take on everyday kindness and why some strangers are so altruistic. He told Bored Panda that this was one of his favorite threads ever and had some really touching stories. “It was probably one of the first things I did on Reddit that got to the front page and had an impact. I especially liked that it was positive and hopeful.”

The author of the thread opened up to us that he’s always been someone who will talk to anyone. “Growing up in the North West of the UK and now living in the Midlands, people are generally very friendly and trustworthy. Whilst we wouldn’t maybe encourage our children to talk to complete strangers, as an adult I feel perfectly safe doing so,” he said.

Dave revealed that what inspired his r/AskReddit question in the first place were the interactions that he’d had with strangers. He said that they were small things that, nonetheless, stayed with him. One such case involved someone giving him some change for a parking meter. The illustrator, in turn, paid the kindness forward by pumping up the car tire for someone else who was stranded by the side of the road and taking them to get the vehicle fixed.

#2

I was about 10 years old and I had a pair of HEELYS and they were the coolest f*****g thing on the earth. I would roll all over on those things and thought I was hot s**t.

We were in China, spending a few weeks in Beijing. I was rolling around in Tiananmen Square, hit a crack and lost one of the wheels. I looked around for about an hour, but to no avail. I was probably visibly bummed, as my Heelys, the things that made me hot s**t, were now ineffective and basically ruined. The next morning, I was walking through the square on the way to meet my friends, and an older gentleman ran up to me and stopped me- he had found my wheel. He said that he had seen me rolling around and saw me looking for the wheel after I fell. He saw that I gave up, and stuck around for another hour to keep looking after I left. He came there the next morning with no expectation that I'd pass through, but wanted to be there just in case. I'm not sure who was happier, me that I got my wheel back or him because he didn't think he'd see me in literally the world's busiest square. I said thank you and...that was about it. We both had places to be and that was that.

Image credits: anon

#3

My boyfriend and I were on a road trip in the Deep South, we had a tent and could not find a camping park that would take us. We ended up driving around looking for a rural place to crash and along the way we saw a family having dinner on their outdoor patio. We pulled over and asked where the closest park was and the home owner said “oh what the hell, camp on our front yard!” We ended up spending the night, having a campfire and chatting about life and love. I’ll never forget that night and the hospitality of the south.

Image credits: mon-eek

The OP pointed out that his own experiences might not have been dramatic as some of those shared in his thread, however, the entire topic made him realize that humankind is fundamentally good. “Whilst there are so many fractures and divisions, mistrust and fear in society and on the news, on a basic level, people are good and capable of great kindness to people they don't even know,” he said.

Bored Panda was interested to get Dave’s take on why some people are so kind (even to complete strangers) while others are far more egocentric.

“When we watch the TV, the world seems like a terrifying place but when we look out of the window or walk down the street, it's hopefully not, really. I think deep down we know this, but sometimes we need reminding of it,” the illustrator noted.

He pointed out that the way he phrased his question could have led to people sharing negative stories because something that’s memorable isn’t necessarily good. However, that wasn’t the case. The responses were overwhelmingly positive.

#4

I was 13 and waiting for a taxi. It was raining and I had no umbrella, so I got soaked. This guy next to me sheltered me from the rain with his umbrella. We talked while waiting for the taxi and he was so easy and fun to talk to! (Note: I was a shy kid with few friends so this was a unique event). After about 15 minutes another guy came up on his scooter. My guy told him that I was a friend of his and if he could drop me to my destination. So yeah, I just climbed on this stranger's scooter and took the lift home. Perhaps that was dumb looking back on it... Anyway I still think of this guy and the kindness he showed me to this day even though I don't even know his name or remember his face :(

Image credits: metaxtase

#5

NYC bar: I was on a first date and there was an old guy at the bar — looked like an old fisherman from a novel — and he was convinced my date and I were already married. He went on and on about it. We said we weren’t married and he told us we were meant to be together and would be married a long time. He talked with us for a good 15 minutes about this.

My date and I did get married about a year later and have been together almost 25 years now.

Image credits: DangReadingRabbit

#6

A stranger gave me 300 dollars , no strings attached.

I met him and his wife in Oklahoma City, while on a road trip across country alone. I was seated near them at a restaurant bar.

didn't ask for any money and don't even know his name, but he rules

Image credits: razzledazzlemaster

“I think when we are young, the world is full of wonder and seems like such a benevolent, bright, and good place. As we get older, we can easily replace that with anxiety and cynicism,” illustrator Dave shared. However, random acts of kindness can break through all of that mistrust and negativity. 

“Most people, if faced with someone in trouble or need, would try to help them. I have kids and I would like to think that someone would help them if they needed it just as I would hopefully help a stranger,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dave shared a few tips on how each and every single one of us can spread a little bit of kindness in our day-to-day lives. “Social media has its dark sides but actually there are many communities and apps that are designed to promote sharing of food and items and helping others. Giving things away and being less precious about money and possessions is a great start, especially if we don't really need them,” he suggested.

#7

I was leaving the gym and walked down a long hallway, and didn't remember having any money on me.

As soon as I stepped outside, I heard a coin drop, and looked down and $2 seemed to have fallen from somewhere on me. It was strange because I didn't have any money on me, and it would have fallen off of me inside while walking, I thought. It rolls and I pick it up. I was confused because I don't know where the $2 came from.

I look up and there's a homeless man in a wheel chair playing harmonica who I otherwise would have passed by. I gave the $2 to him. He said thank you, I said no problem. I began to walk away and he said 'Good, and you?'. I played along and said, 'oh, good! Where did you learn to play harmonica?' He proceeded to tell me that he used to play all sorts of instruments until he had his stroke, and showed me that one of his arms didn't work anymore.

He was a nice guy, and it made my day a bit better. It was a nice and humbling moment.

Image credits: StencilBoy

#8

I was on a long late night bus ride. It was express so it made very few stops. The bus had maybe 10 people on it in total. Half way through the trip it made a stop at a small town station so people could grab a snack or use a public restroom and maybe stretch their legs.

I went up to the counter to buy what at that point was my dinner even though it was after 10 pm and when the cashier rang it up I passed a $50 bill to her and she told me that she couldn't make change. Defeated I went back to my seat on the bus.

As everyone piled on and the bus drove away I lovely middle aged lady walked up from her seat near the back and politely asked if I minded if she sat with me. I told her she was more than welcome. She sits and proceeds to unpack a small lunch bag.

She then split the entirety of her meal with me. She said she had been waiting for the washroom to clear out and had overheard what happened. She said: "I've gone hungry in my life and it sucks. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, so you can share with me."

When we were done I jokingly asked if she could break a $50 and we had a good laugh. She stuck with me for the remainder of the trip and was a very interesting lady besides being incredibly generous.

I hope she is well.

Image credits: Theearthhasnoedges

#9

Years ago, I was at the bus stop super early one morning. It was really cold as well.

Anyway, there was a guy that I used to see every time I would get the 7am bus - looked like a builder, he always got off near one of the large building sites by the university. We were on "nodding terms"

One morning, there was a fireball/disintegrating meteor. We both saw it, he turned to me and said with a super serious face "you know our souls are forever linked now". We went back to nodding terms, and I never saw him after I quit early morning classes

I guess because I remember it, he was kinda right and f****r is still trolling me.

Image credits: anon

“Personally, I always drive around with a pump and some basic tools to help people if they get stuck with a flat tire. Most of the time you can pump the tire up enough for them to get to a garage without having to change it. If someone is short of change at the counter then pay the rest for them. Take a bit of time to listen to people or just offer a few kind words. When someone is stranded, stuck, or in a bad place, the smallest acts of kindness can have a huge impact,” Dave told Bored Panda. You can check out some of the illustrator’s awesome art on Twitter and Instagram.

Kindness. Compassion. Altruism. Whatever you call it, human beings are social animals who are hard-wired to care about others. Our brains reward us when we help someone out, give them gifts, and participate in communal events. So, in a very real way, we’re rewarded for setting our own interests aside for the sake of ‘the group’ (however big or small it might be).

We need strong social connections not only to thrive but also to survive. The health risks of loneliness are very dangerous. The National Institute on Aging warns that prolonged isolation is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can shorten someone’s lifespan by a whopping 15 years. What’s more, the University of New Hampshire notes that socially isolated and lonely individuals have greatly increased risks of stroke, heart disease, and mental disorders. 

#10

When I was studying abroad in Lithuania I volunteered at a soup kitchen and every now and again there would be an older lady helping out who dropped off supplies. We would smile at each other and say hello even through the language barrier.

Well one night I went to Easter mass in the town I was volunteering in and it was warmer during the day so I didn’t think about bringing a heavier jacket once it got dark, not to mention the church was this old massive building. So I’m sitting through mass and I’m getting colder and start shivering pretty noticeably, when all of a sudden I feel someone drape a scarf over my shoulders. I turn around and it’s the lady who would drop off supplies at the soup kitchen! Once mass was over I tried to return the scarf but she refused to take it back. I did my best to extend my gratitude through the language barrier but I’m sure she knew.

It was the most beautiful and kindest thing that has ever happened to me. The was the last time I saw her and I will never forget her kindness towards me. It still tears me up thinking about it.

Image credits: Lithuanian_Rooster

#11

It was the night before Christmas Eve, about 8:30 pm. My mom was trying to sell our place, we’d moved a few blocks away in with my new step dad. The driveway needed to be clear and there was about a foot and a half of snow to shovel. I was still pretty young and it was going to be a big job.

I trudged over there with my shovel, and just started the first row, when a random guy in a snowplow turned in and cleared the whole driveway in two minutes easy. He was wearing the red plaid jacket and toque combo - classic Canadian look.

I was worried as we hadn’t hired a snow removal guy, but he just waved and said Merry Christmas and drove off. Thanks snowplow Guy, you taught me a thing or two about Xmas spirit.

Image credits: SneakNSnore

#12

I was on an eastbound train from Colorado two days before Christmas. There was some kind of incident in another car around 11:00 that night - a dude got wasted and started threatening other passengers - and we had to make a stop so that the local police could come and collect him.

After the delay, the conductor came over the speakers and announced that if anyone was feeling upset or shaken by the incident one of the passengers had offered to play his guitar in the snack car and anyone who was awake was welcome to come down and join in for a singalong. I'm always down for weird train activities so I decided to grab my harmonica from my bag and head down.

There were about fifteen of us in the car, ranging in age from 16 to mid-70s and from all over the country. We sang every song we could think of that even kind of referenced a train - we were somewhere in rural Nebraska at that point and nobody had cell service to look up lyrics, so at times I was pretty sure that we were making up more of the words than we actually remembered. The conductor came through after a while and offered to play a few songs, so the guy with the guitar handed it off and pulled out a mandolin, and my harmonica got passed around the group while one guy drummed along on his backpack.

After a while the conductor got up and left, then came back with a copy of _The Polar Express_. He read it out loud to our absolutely captivated group of mostly adult travelers while the snow flew all around us in the night, and I swear that for a few minutes our trip felt every bit as magical as the visit to Santa Claus in the story

Sometime well after the snack car was supposed to have been vacated for the night, we capped things off with the most ridiculously earnest rendition of Don't Stop Believing that has ever been performed and went our separate ways. I never saw anyone from our little makeshift band again, but I'll always remember that weird, wonderful late-night celebration of Journey and the magic of winter travel that came about because some guy was a jackass on a train.

Image credits: dreadhorse

However, the reality of life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. People can and do hurt each other, whether intentionally or not. It’s hard to be kind to others when someone’s exhausted, burned out, and downtrodden. It’s even harder to find the drive to help someone who’s an utter stranger, not someone who’s a friend, family member, or coworker. But if you manage to stay compassionate when you’re feeling down, and recognize that you might have a lot in common even with strangers, then you’ve won a massive victory.

Like most other behaviors, being kind is a skill that we can learn and develop until it becomes a habit. And the key to any habit is consistency. Let’s say that you’ve done some in-depth introspection and realized that you’ve been far too egocentric these past few years. Maybe you've been acting a tad too entitled. Maybe you've focused on your career at the expense of, well, absolutely everything else. You then decide that you want to make a change: give back to the community, be ‘a better person,’ and maybe expand your social circle.

#13

I'm pretty sure I told this before, but I enjoy it, so here it goes. I was playing on my Nintendo DS in the subway when I caught a random connection. I looked up to see if I could spot the other person with a DS, and wound up locking eyes with this *incredibly intense* little boy who was seated a few benches away from me.

"DO YOU HAVE POKEMON," he asked, and as it turned out, I did in fact have Pokemon. With that, our fate was sealed. There's this thing in the Pokemon games where, if you meet the gaze of another trainer on your journey, then you must do battle. I had just experienced this in real life.

He *destroyed* me. All level 100s. Felt like I was an extra in the damn anime doing battle with the protagonist.

Image credits: mus_maximus

#14

I had about a 2 hour drive from Columbus to the Cleveland area. I tend to drive on the faster side, and therefore pass a lot of people. I noticed about 20 minutes into the drive that the car behind me was still the same one that got onto the highway right behind me. We ended up driving the entire 2 hours right next to each other or in front of/behind each other. We created space in lanes to help the other pass the slower cars and made sure the other wouldn’t fall behind. As I was getting off the highway, he honked his horn, gave me a big smile, and waved. It has been my favorite driving experience so far,

Image credits: livecaterpillarflesh

#15

Same first name, same birthday, same interests and same workfield. Saw them at a network creation event and never seen again.

Image credits: daphoux

The best way to develop the habit of being kind to others is to start off with small steps that will get you out of your comfort zone. Start off by, say, smiling at someone you meet on the street or giving out a few compliments each day. Become more aware of your surroundings: try to spot if someone needs a bit of help carrying their groceries, walking across a busy intersection, or getting a pram out of the bus. Pick up a piece of litter and throw it out in the bin. Pay for someone else’s coffee and croissant.

Then, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, consider volunteering your time and energy for a cause you really believe in, whether it’s at your local homeless or animal shelter, or tidying up your neighborhood on the weekends. Put yourself in situations where you can actively help strangers, and you might inspire them to be just as kind to others in turn.

#16

I met a well dressed older gentleman at a train station in london, he struck up a conversation about the departures board, and being a 20yr old woman I was hesitant to talk back, but I like chatting to people and decided to keep the convo going.

He ended up being extremely easy to talk to, I ended up telling him I was waiting for a train to take me to the airport so I could see my boyfriend in Hong Kong whom I hadn’t seen for months, and he ended up telling me all about his life and his amazing family, and just be all round charming.

He was in London for the day to pick up a passport so he could whisk his wife away on holiday, and he just made me smile the way he was so smitten with her.

He ended up leaving after about half an hour, and when he left he took my hand and kissed it, telling me it’s so beautiful to see a young woman in love.

I never caught his name, but I’ll always remember him

Image credits: moolymoomoo

#17

When I was at Disneyland a few years ago, a woman approached me out of the blue in the middle of Main St. and asked if I'd like to dance. I obliged her, and we spent the next few minutes chatting while her friends filmed us dancing.


It turns out it was her birthday and she was traversing the park on a birthday scavenger hunt, and one of the items on the list was to dance with a stranger. I wished her a happy birthday, we said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.


I never even got her name, but it still makes me smile when I think about it.

Image credits: lazyfriction

#18

I was walking my way home from a trip in SF. Saw a homeless guy who honestly seemed down on his luck, you could just tell that for some reason this certain day was crappier than usual.

I talked to him, give him some food and drinks. Realized he smoked weed and I gave him the few prerolls I bought beforehand for a future concert.

He actually seemed happy, it wasn’t for the weed but just the random kindness. I’ve never shared this story but talking to him has been one of my better memories of living in San Francisco.

#19

I was at this event in a nearby provincial park that offered a shuttle service in and out of the park. They got more interest than bargained for I guess and people ended up having to wait about 2 hours for a ride out of the park. This made some people very angry at these poor rangers who were obviously just kids in their summer jobs. This big dude was just screaming at this young looking girl, just going at her about "doing something productive". Poor girl was in tears just apologising over and over again and trying to get to her co-workers but he wasn't letting her pass.

This pissed me the f**k off so I yelled "what the f**k is she supposed to do?" And this older lady a few people down joined in with me to pretty much shame the dude back to his family.

Of course when the busses finally came he sat his fat a*s down on one of the priority seats despite there being a woman with a walker almost falling down right beside him. Old lady from before swoops in and manages to kick him off and sat the woman down.

Bad a*s lady, I miss you.

Image credits: anon

#20

Ill share the cliffnotes version since it sounds so unreal. Years ago I walked to a bridge with intention ok killing myself by jumping off. Met a guy there who wouldnt stop hovering around me, eventually he approaches me and tells me that "I have bad spirits around me" and that i should keep my head up and not give in to them. He thrn askes if he can smudge me.

I didnt know what that was but agreed anyway. He pulls out sage a lighter and a shell from his backpack and proceeds to bless me right there. As soon as he finishes a bunch of birds (seagulls, crows and pigeons.) All come flying over and fly in circles above us. He said that they were telling me my life was about to turn around and then he said goodbyr and left.

My life did change that day, big time. And when my mind occasionaly creeps back to dark places, I think of him and it pulls me back.

Edit: Wow, thanks for all the really sweet replies, I wasnt expecting this story to be recieved so well. Ive always been reluctant to share it outside of the handful of irl friends that I have because I would probably think it sounded like b******t if someone told me it to me. Glad I took the chance. and thank you for the gold kind stranger, ill be sure to pay it forward.

#21

went to a cafe. small place, but popular. I got a coffee and looked around for seats. none. I then notice an elderly lady sitting by a table. I ask if I can sit down with her. she gladly says yes. we chat a bit and it was all so lovely. after a while she had to leave though. never catched her name or anything.

#22

As a teenager, I caught a bus into town. An old chap took the one free seat next to me & somehow we started chatting.

He started telling me how he took part in a battle during WWII where he was one of only a handful of survivors - it was fascinating listening to him, especially being an Army Brat myself.

I wish I could have spent longer on the bus with him & remembered more of the conversation, but it’s lived with me know for 35 years.

#23

My touch football team was sponsored by a local bar that does Karaoke on the same day of the week that our games are. We went for a beer after our game. I don't sing well but I enjoy singing and I'm not shy. I sing the occasional song but I would say 1 every 4 times we go. Wasn't planning on singing this time but a girl went up stage and asked if anyone would sing that song from Grease 'You're the one that I want'. I thought, why the hell not. Went up and we f*****g nailed it. People were dancing and cheering. We finished the song. We both sort of said good job like stuff. She went back to her table of friends. I went back to my football team. She and her friends left shortly afterward. That was over 20 years ago. I still think about that night from time to time.

#24

I was out at a beach with my family for a bonfire. Only problem was that we got there too late and there were no more open pits.
We sat about on the sand for about an hour until a man came up to us telling us that he had ran out of logs. Seeing as we had no pit and that they were freezing without a fire, we took him up on his offer and joined his family around their pit. We sat until midnight talking about music from the 70’s and talking about our lives. Coolest bunch of people I’ve met in a while.

Image credits: jdax2

#25

One time my girlfriend and I were driving around listening to music. She was in a weird mood, so we get to a stoplight and I crank the music up and start dancing in the car like an idiot, waving my hands above my head and what not. The guy across the intersection from us sees me and points me out to his girlfriend and they start laughing, and then my girlfriend does the whole “staaaahp, you’re embarrassing me” deal.

SO, I continue dancing with one hand, and look directly at the dude in the other car and point at him. He then proceeds to start dancing like an idiot as well, and HIS girlfriend gets embarrassed and slaps his chest, presumably saying the same s**t my girlfriend was. Everyone in both cars had a good laugh over it.

#26

I have been waiting for a question like this.

This was about two years ago, when I was in university. I was having some gas pains, so I went to use the bathroom. I was the only one in there, but someone came in shortly after, so I decided to wait until she was done. She apparently was in the same situation as me, so we were both just sitting in silence waiting for the other to leave, occasionally letting out tiny toots.

Finally, she says, "can we both just fart?" I laugh and say "yes please!" And for about a minute after, both of us are simultaneously laughing and farting. Laughing because we're farting, and farting because we're laughing.

We finished at about the same time and said "hello" as we washed our hands. I never saw her again. I still giggle every time I think of it.

Edit: Wow, my first gold is about farting. Thanks, stranger!

#27

I was in the British Museum last year, looking at the Egyptian exhibit. This absolutely gorgeous woman and I nearly collided. We stared at each other for a long moment, and then spent 5 minutes gushing at one another about each other's style/makeup.

I was completely flustered. I've never had anyone that attractive compliment me.

#28

In 2014, it snowed 2 inches in central North Carolina during business hours. To this day, we call the commute home "Snowpocalypse". NC (and its drivers) are just unprepared to deal with this sort of thing. My normal 10 minute commute turned into a two hour ordeal of gridlock across surface streets. I waited patiently for the lights to turn at the corner of Markham and Broad. I was second in line to go. Behind me, the cars stretched as far as the eye could see, but finally I was just blocks away from home. Almost there. The light turned green, and the car in front of me started to move, but began fishtailing in the newly fallen snow. The guy behind me got out of his car, knocked on my window - "Is she stuck?" he said. I nodded. In an unspoken moment of agreement, I got out too and together we walked over to the stuck vehicle, still fishtailing, and began pushing from behind. We too slipped and slid in the snow, but the extra traction was enough that the car was able to make a right turn. I and my newfound friend walked back to our cars, and just as started to move forward - red light. The intersection gridlocked again and it took me another half hour to drive the several blocks home. There was some sense of camaraderie in the common experience of being stuck in traffic due to a light snowfall. But that's North Carolina for you.

#29

I'd locked myself out of my flat once when I was taking out the rubbish. It would have been close to midnight. Female, early twenties, and just out of hospital. I had no way to get in and no money, phone, or nearby friends. I don't remember this boy arriving or explaining myself to him, but he sat with me until morning the whole night long beneath my block. He had limited English so we barely spoke, and he shared a tin of pineapple with me he had in his bag. He was calm, empty of ill intent, quiet but watchful. Friendly, a big, open smile. When the sun came up, he walked on. I'll never forget him, or how kind he was to do that. Some people are so in tune with the world, they protect it. I hope he was ok too.

#30

Few years back my wife and I visited Italica, a roman ruined city a few miles from Seville. The ruins are glorious and we had them to ourselves, so when as we emerged from the gladiator gate in the amphitheater I stalked out into the sunlight, threw out my arms and roared "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?" It rang off the old seats in a satisfying manner.

Turns out we weren't alone. I spun to find a Japanese tourist staring at me in wonder, who then grinned nervously, snapped a picture, and gave me a thumbs up.

My wife: "You're an idiot."

#31

I was at a play barn and shot a foam tennis ball out of a compressed air cannon directly into the barrel of the cannon on the opposite side, about 60ft away. The kid operating the cannon was amazed and shot the ball directly back at me, hitting me in the head. We both looked at each other like wtf!?

Image credits: joeChump

#32

was on the bus home and this girl sitting next to me was making paper cranes. before i got off the bus she stopped me and gave me the crane she was working on and smiled at me. i still have it and i think about it a lot

EDIT: oh gosh i didnt expect everyone to be waiting on me to open up the crane to see if theres a number inside! i carefully unfolded it and i didnt see a number unfortunately :( woulda made for a cute story though!

Image credits: sunnylia

#33

I've shared this on Reddit before. The day I found out my grandmother had a stroke and would never walk or talk again, I was away at college. I finally broke down in a bathroom. A girl came in and asked if I needed a hug. I was crying so hard that I really didn't get a look at her face. I cried on her shoulder for about 10 minutes and then had to pull myself together and leave for class. I never explained myself and she never asked. I never recognized or spoke to her again. I wonder if she sometimes saw me on campus and wondered what was up and if I was okay.

Image credits: AvadaKedavras

#34

Back when I rode the bus everywhere, I was at the bus stop outside the mall and this guy comes up and goes, “Will you hold my puppy while I run inside and find my wife?” And he produced this little white puppy.

So I held it while he went inside. Puppy was soooo soft. Guy came back with his wife. Took the puppy. I got on the bus and that was that.

Image credits: anon

#35

On a night out, I was feeling pretty rough so I was sat down on some steps eating a box of hot chips.


This group of girls walked past, one of them in a yellow with black polka dot dress and a flower halo broke off and sat next to me. She had a thick Irish accent.

"What's yer name?"


"Jolly. You?"


"Anette. Ask me where I live."


"....alright, where do you live?"


She grabbed one of my chips, put it in her mouth and said "in the f*****g moment", kissed my forehead and ran off to join her group again.



Still think about her.

Image credits: JollyOldBogan

#36

I've told this story before, but people likenit so I will share again:

When I was a kid we didn't have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I'd gone through them all.

One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, "Promise me that you'll keep reading." I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.

It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was over 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.

Image credits: -eDgAR-

#37

While out for a long walk to take some photos in Wellington, New Zealand, I stop to drink some water, and get chatting with a guy sitting on the park bench.
He was homeless in that he didn't have a permanent residence, but he considered himself more of a nomad, touring around the country, and had made his way from the UK to New Zealand over the course of a few years.
He went on about how he used to work in London, got sick of his corporate job, and went travelling with the remainder of his savings, never looking back. He's eventually burnt his savings, and was now happily stranded in New Zealand.
I still remember his intials were D.G., and he asked if I wanted to take a photo of him. I'd taken hundreds of photos of landscapes, animals, and people, [but his one was my favourite from the day.](https://500px.com/photo/2846284/d-g-by-rick-mczany)

Image credits: Rick0r

#38

Got on the metro north headed out of nyc to visit family for thanksgiving. A woman in her 70s got on the same stop as me and sat directly across from me. She had a newborn strapped to her chest and was singing in spanish. After riding the train for about 20 minutes she signals for my attention and i take my headphones out. I being towards her and she gestures to the baby and says you take? So i held her infant (grandchild i presume) while she got herself organized to feed and change the baby. After she was done she gestured for me to help her strap the baby back on. She waved goodbye when she got off the train and that was that. Its weird to know there is some random newborn that ive held and will never know.

Image credits: wanderbread108

#39

So about 11 years ago I visited india. I went to a Sikh temple and sat down to enjoy langer (free food served by sikhs to anyone who walks in). I was served food by this volunteer and we started chatting after lunch and became buddies. So fast forward I am visiting another Sikh temple in the Himalayas and in the kitchen there was only one volunteer when a large bus filled with people pulled in. I went up to the guy and asked if he needed help and he gladly accepted it. So I start serving food to people sitting in the lines and guess who I see sitting down? My buddy from the first Sikh temple. It was great seeing him and we said our hellos..

Image credits: Trident187059005

#40

I was in the US Navy at the time and we pulled into port in Norway. We had a couple days to explore and I went to the closest city, Bergen. While in the main square area of town just down the road from their fish market there was a small boy, maybe 3 years old, and his father. The boy had a large red balloon but it was windy and it got away from him. His father made a grab for it and missed but obviously couldn't run after it and leave his kid. It was blowing generally in my direction and I made a quick dash for it and managed to catch it out of the air before it blew away. I then crouched down and held it out for the boy. He looked like he was about to start crying but immediately brightened up with the kind happiness only a child can have. He took the balloon and his father just gave me a small smile and a nod. I returned the smile and nod and we went on our way. This moment always sticks out to me.

Edit: Thanks for the Gold friend.

Image credits: Stroinsk

#41

I was in an ice cream store with a few friends, and I made eye contact with some random guy walking to the counter. For some reason, neither of us broke eye contact, and for those few seconds he made an incredibly goofy face, to which I responded with another goofy face. For the rest of the time we were in there, him and I didn't even look at each other again.

Edit: After the interaction, we didn't look at each other and make eye contact again. I did look at him a few times while he was waiting and his back was turned and it's possible he looked at me. I should've phrased that better.

Image credits: banjotripod

#42

A few years ago the Big Inflatable Rubber Duck came to our city. A local radio station got a permit and we had a street party.

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.wpxi.com/www.wpxi.com/news/rubber-duckypittsburghs-one-massive-duck-makes-fir

(For those who think this is weird, it was an excuse to say "Hey, that is a big duck!" And then eat bad food and drink for a few hours.)

So the station was playing as many duck-rekated songs that they could. Mostly any rock song that said "duck" in any context.

Well my wife and I were standing around waiting for the duck. Me, a mid-30s fat white dude, started chatting with an elderly black dude.

"Man. They should play the DuckTales theme song," I said, knwing full well he may not have any idea what DuckTales was. He was definately old enough that his child would not have watched it, but maybe a grandchild?

"Yes, they should." He said.

Well, like an hour goes by and we get separated in the crowd.

Then the radio station starts blaring the DuckTales theme song.

In the crowd, I see an old black man raise his head, scan the crowd, gives me a nod and a smile, and then he turns back.

The end.

#43

Hubby and I were clubbing one night, many moons ago. We stepped outside so hubby could have a smoke and I spotted a girl sat on the kerb next to our car, crying. I asked if she was OK and she explained that she’d arrived with her friends but when they tried to get into the club, she discovered she’d forgotten her ID. All her friends ditched her and went into the club anyway, leaving her alone. We ended up driving her across town to pick up her ID from her boyfriend’s place, then we took her and her boyfriend back to the club.

When we got back to the club, we were talking with them for a bit and somehow managed to lock our keys in the car. The boyfriend managed to bend the door back enough that we could slip an arm in and unlock it, before popping the door back into place with no outward signs anything had been done to it. We didn’t ask too many questions about how he knew to do that but it did really help us out. He was glad to repay the favour!

#44

Was pretty drunk one night, out at the bars with a couple friends. We were walking to the next pub, and I hear some guy across the street, don’t remember what he was saying though. I pipe up and yell “you talkin s**t?” And he responds “yea I’m talkin s**t”. I start walking across the street with my arms stretched wide, like *bring it on*. I hear my friends behind me telling me to stop and asking what I was doing. The stranger walks towards me too, and when we get up close we both just go in for a huge hug. Never met the dude before, and honestly I’m surprised I didn’t get punched. I’ll always remember that.

#45

When I was a teenager I was walking down a popular street to like a Walgreens or something. A guy around my age was sitting outside of my favorite little hole in the wall sushi spot with a skateboard, as I walked by he asked if I could buy him sushi. I told him to wait for me, I had to run to grab something then I’d come get sushi with him.

I walked to Walgreens, completely flustered, did whatever I had to do, then walked back and got us both sushi rolls. We sat outside - he told me he wasn’t expecting anyone to actually buy him sushi just by asking and I admitted I surprised myself too. We had a totally pleasant meal together then I went home.

#46

Several years ago, I was at a street concert, just sitting on a bench, enjoying the music. All of a sudden, some random dude tripped over his shoelaces, did an epic flailing stumble, and landed perfectly seated in my lap. He was slightly drunk, and we had a nice chat for a few minutes while he re-tied his shoes and then went on his way. It was kinda sweet and I smiled remembering it as I typed this.

#47

I was on a train ride from NYC to DC to visit my uncle. I sat next to an old-timer on the train. We didn't really talk much since I was so young and kind of shy. Eventually this one other dude on the train started bothering everyone, of all things trying to convince us that Mike Tyson was innocent of that rape he committed. This dude was bizarre. Eventually, old-timer told him to f**k off and leave us alone. After that we started shooting the s**t a little bit more. We reached his stop first, and before he left he gave me a little pin and told me to keep it. It was a pin from the US Army 1st Cavalry Division. I figure he must have been a Vietnam vet and wanted to pass it down to someone. I still have that pin.

#48

When I was 16 I had to go to the hospital. I don't remember how it happened but I started talking to a guy in a wheelchair. His name was Harvey, he looked a bit like Jerry Lewis, was in his forties and told me he has brain cancer and only a few months to live. We talked for about an hour and at the end he gave me some advice. He said don't whine about anything, whining gets you nowhere, either do something about it and if you can't try to accept it. I never forgot that. That was almost 30 years ago. Harvey, sometimes I whine but I try to keep it short. Thanks for that nice conversation.

#49

My son was in a pretty serious accident. I was a wreck in the icu waiting room.
A little girl maybe about 9 or 10 years old was with her family, saying goodbye to her great grandmother .
She waltzed right up to me and said , " sir, why are you crying ? "
I explained my son was very sick. She handed me a miniature puppy doll and told me it was lucky and my son would get better.
She was.right, he did and I still keep that little puppy on my dresser and think of that sweet child.

#50

Hubby and I were in Munich at the Hofbräuhaus and the band was playing. I love to polka but Hubby wasn’t having it so he suggested I find someone else to dance with. At that moment I locked eyes with a patron at another table and through hand gestures and facial expressions I somehow managed to find a dance partner.

For reference:

Me: tall, white, middle aged American woman.

Dance partner: petite, Korean, college aged girl.

#51

I found a rock formation that looked like a d**k and balls in a cave in Vietnam. I laughed and pointed at it, some Chinese tourists started doing the same thing and then some Russian tourists followed suit. Great bonding because no matter what, phallic shaped objects are funny.

#52

Back in the late 90s we drove a dark blue 84 Volvo wagon. Hardly ever saw another car like it. One day at a grocery store we see another couple in the exact same car. I rolled down the window and raised my fist in the air. The other driver saw and raised his fist. Solidarity!

#53

When I was fourteen, I was trapped in the rubble of an earthquake. I spent six hours crawling towards a man whose face I never had the opportunity to see... he was a citizen who didn't leave his name with anyone and never came forward, after the fact. It has always bothered me that I will likely never find out who he was or tell him how much comfort his voice gave me during those horrible hours. When I saw pictures of the space I ended up in, much later, I couldn't (and can't) understand how he was able to stand where he stood for six hours without injuring himself or suffering some sort of emotional trauma himself. He's my hero.

#54

I wrestled in high school and after a match tradition dictates that you walk over and shake the hand of your opponent's coach, then cross the mat diagonally and shake your own coach hand, crossing paths with your former opponent as you do so.

Once after a match with a kid I'd never met before I said "round the world" as we approached each other and we high fived as we crossed paths and then did the round the world high five thing and high fived down low behind our backs, it was one of my proudest moments.

#55

I was a horticulture student on a botanical tour of Europe in 1979. I am at a flower market in Munich and see a plant I don't recognize. The lady working it doesn't speak English; I don't know any German. I see a plant I do know; touch the leaf and say the Latin name for it. She nods and smiles. I name another plant I know. Her smile gets bigger. I point at the unknown plant and look at her with an expression that I hope says, "You're turn." She tells me the Latin name. We don't speak each others language but we can communicate in a language that has been dead for over a thousand years. Cool.

#56

I met a young woman who was crying her eyes out in the back of the train station's CVS while I was there picking up stamps before heading onto the train to catch my flight home (had to get some bills in the post before I left or I'd forget about them). She had a very young (~2) child with her and the kid was getting progressively more panicky that his mom was losing it in public. She was underdressed for the snowstorm outside, though the kid was bundled up properly in oversized clothes that looked like they might have been hers.

They both only spoke Spanish, but I was able to go up and ask what was going on. The young mom wailed, but the little boy was very interested in my big rolly suitcase. I offered, in Spanish, to watch him for a few minutes while she got things sorted out and cleaned herself up in the bathroom, then took him on a walk through the food aisles and let him pick out some snacks, which I bought for him.

About fifteen minutes later she came out of the bathroom looking like a different person. She cried again when I offered her the bag of groceries and a twenty, which was all the cash I had on me, and tried not to accept it until I insisted. She thanked me profusely, the little kid hugged me, and they left into the Boston winter.

I can't imagine how bad things must have been to trust a stranger with her kid, but it was one of those moments where I realized I had the opportunity to make an actual difference in the way this kid lived for at least the next week or so. He was well mannered and - as someone who's volunteered in at-risk grade school classrooms - didn't give off the impression that trusted adults had ever harmed him. He was just hungry and scared about whatever was going on with his mom. I have no idea where they are and I hope they're both okay.

Edit: thank you for the gold, stranger! I'm going to add a quote from ['The Year In Ugliness'](https://hazlitt.net/feature/year-ugliness) by Arabelle Sacardi, which sums up a lot of my thoughts about other beautiful stories I've read in this thread:

"It is easy to walk quickly past something that makes you uncomfortable. It is easy to freeze and stay frozen until your chance is gone. It is easy to save yourself first. It is easy to turn and keep walking. It’s instinctual. That does not mean it is forgivable. Fixing everything in the world is impossible. But it is also impossible to know how much a little thing can count for. Not knowing and not daring to find out—that is ugliness, too."

#57

I crashed a wedding when I was 18 because it was on my bucket-list and ended up dancing with a woman who was maybe 24/25 Her name was Natalie. We danced for a couple songs then the DJ put on a slow song, and I was thinking in my head thats my cue to leave but I have this habit of when I think I shouldn't do something because of negative thought. I just say f**k it and do it, so I grabbed her hand and we slow danced. I didn't know anything about this woman, beyond her name and here I was slow dancing. After that I bounced because people were starting to look at me funny/ suspiciously so I left without saying goodbye. Honestly I look back and think I wonder what Natalie is doing.
This was in October of 2013 and honestly that was the first time I said f**k it and did what my heart wanted instead of my head, life has been better ever since.

#58

This was last year it was my 21st birthday and I went to Moe’s for my free birthday burrito. As I was walking out I slipped on one of the mats ( they had just mopped and put the mats back down before the floor dried) and I busted my a*s. I was so embarrassed and in so much pain but a few people helped me up. One middle aged woman helped me into the booth she was sitting in and took charge of the situation. She had them remake my food and bring it to the table as well as a first aid kit and a manager. She bandaged up my hand and knee and elbow all while getting the managers information in case I needed them to pay for doctors bills and got me like $100 in Moe’s coupons. When my food finally came out she made me sit with her and eat. We ended up talking for like an hour, she told me about her and her family and she said if It was her daughter in my situation she’d want someone to step in and take care of her. When we were finished she helped me hobble to my car and gave me a huge hug and told me happy birthday. I was so beyond thankful for her and her small act of kindness towards me.

#59

Was backpacking around America, walked about 5 miles to a bus stopped. I was followed by a friendly wolf looking dog. Months later when I'm home looking through the photos, there's no dog, but empty scenes where the dog was. I was pretty high.

#60

I was in Darlington England the day the ash cloud hit the uk, I was supposed to be flying back to Northern Ireland. Instead I decided to get the train to Scotland and then the ferry across. I missed a connection in Kilmarnock with another traveler. She was the owner of a chain of shops here. We had dinner together in a random pub and caught the next train to the ferry port.

Never spoke again

#61

When dabbing was still almost cool but fading, and kids started doing it, I saw a kid dancing on the front seat of an RV driving on the road we were walking along with mates. I looked at him, our sights met, and I dabbed. He responded with a prompt dab and kept dancing.

Dab-boi never forget

#62

I was at an Amon Amarth concert. I was only 14 at the time, so my dad had accompanied me to play bodyguard. A super duper drunk guy had the same Agalloch shirt on that I did, and he hugged me when he saw it. As a young-ish girl, I was a little freaked out, and my dad yelled at him, but he turned out to be pretty friendly and backed off. His friend ran up and apologized profusely, then took him back to the bar. Miss you, Agalloch guy, it wasn't a bad hug.

#63

Don’t know if it counts if I saw him the next day but I haven’t seen him since.

I was bartending at a place with outside tables. Taking a half break smoking a cig with some regulars when they pointed out “this wastoid.” He’s stumbling, hacking, dry heaving, and spitting down the block. He leans on a couple of poles for a couple of different moments. He gets to his truck which is parked right in front of us and is struggling to get in to it. I go over to talk him out of driving and he explains he’s not drunk, in the same fashion that all drinks do. As a responsible bartender I urge him again not to drive and he says “somethings not right man, I really don’t feel well.” So I say, “I believe you but maybe you should go to the hospital.” He tells me he is but he can’t afford the ambulance. I convince him he can’t afford a car accident than either and it will only take a moment for me to hail him a cab. (Oh this is before Uber.) he concedes and in under a min. I grab him a cab and tell the cabbie to take him to Mercy hospital. (the closest in the area.) At this point, he’s doing much worse. So I hand the cabbie $20 and tell him to rush. The next day the guy comes back for his car and to thank me. He was having some sort of respiratory attack and would have surely died without medical treatment. He tried to pay me the twenty back and at that point his tears have me really choking up and I refused his money telling him “to pay it to the hospital $5 at a time, that will keep the hospital off your back for at least four months.” After a million “thank you”s and “I owe you my life”s he drives away never to be seen again.

TL;DR: don’t assume s**t about anyone, and be nice to each other. It might save a life.

#64

I'm a type one diabetic. I was on a cruise ship with my family, and sometimes I would be stopped on my way out of the ship because of my insulin pump (it can't go through an x-ray scanner). I was stopped at one point with this other guy, who jokingly asked me "what are YOU in for?" I said insulin pump. He said no way and took out his pump! We laughed and shared diagnosis stories.
The next day, he came up to me in the buffet, thanking God he found me. His pump wasn't waterproof and he'd jumped into a pool, and forgot to bring insulin vials that could fit into a manual pen. I was able to give him insulin and we got some coffee together.
Never traded contact info and never saw him again. He was a cool dude.

#65

Hurricane Harvey was about to hit Houston so I was sent Walmart to grab a few things that we had forgotten (family of 5 with 5 dogs), storm was already bringing heavy rain and wind. Saw this older lady (probably in her upper 70s) soaking wet with a cart of groceries walking looking for her car. If you’ve been to Walmart on a full day you know how it may be difficult to find your car- worse in a storm. So I went to her, showed her my ID (medical student) and offered to drive her around to look for her car, I loaded up Her groceries in my car and we drove around. It was just 9 minutes of searching before I put her groceries in her car and she left. I pray to God, even though i will always (try to) be available to help my mom, if she was ever in that situation someone would offer to help.

#66

Probably not the most memorable, but most recent.

Dude and I using the urinal at Target, mandatory man spacing of course. You might think a man's guard is down while doing his thing, but nope, out of my peripheral I see a woman holding herself RUSHING into the bathroom, glance at us, shrug and go into the stall. Dude must have saw the same thing because we broke code, made eye contact and just raised our eyebrows at each other. Went back to our business and never spoke a word.

#67

I was in Paris getting on the Eurostar back to London, travelling for work. I took my seat then proceeded to put my bag in the overhead compartment as well as my suit jacket. I always constantly check for my passport and tickets whilst travelling so I went to make sure I had them. Nothing in my pockets, must have left them in my jacket. So I got up to look but they were not in there either, I really started to panic. Just as I was pulling my bag down to check in there, I heard lots of giggling behind from many passengers and turned around to see one old gentleman waving my passport and ticket at me. I was so relieved to have found tgem and and started to thank him but he stopped me and admitted as soon as I got up when I first took my seat, he spotted the ticket and passport on the seat and thought it would be entertaining to hide them. He made quite a show of it for the other nearby passengers to see and everyone was just sitting there waiting for me to notice, hence why they were all giggling. It really broke the ice and everybody around us were chatting and getting to know each other after and it made for a very wholesome train journey. When we arrived, about six different people asked me if I have my passport whilst laughing. It was a funny journey.

#68

On a bus from the Midlands to the South of England, going home from university, I fell asleep but was sitting next to a random man. I woke up with my head on his shoulder and drooling slightly. I apologised but all he said was not to worry and he didn't want to wake me as I looked so peaceful. As a young girl I was very embarrassed and apologised again and put my headphones in. I've never been able to remember whether it was sweet or slightly creepy.

#69

At graduation in highschool, I was the only kid isolated from everyone due to extreme social phobia and one guy came up to me and told me that he knew I always had a problem with people and he was the only person who signed my yearbook. I never knew him but that was a really neat gesture and I wished I knew him years ago instead of the graduation

#70

I had just found out my husband of 10 years had cheated on me. I was driving and crying so hard that I quickly pulled over at the nearest parking lot. I parked my car, and walked over to the beach and while watching the waves fell to my knees and just sobbed. Gut wrenching sobbing. About 10 minutes later, a stranger walked over to me, held her hand out and helped me get up. She then led me to a bench and sat me down. She hugged me and rubbed my back. She let me cry and would say to me
" this too shall pass". After about 15 minutes, I composed myself (as much as possible) and she smiled, got up and continued on her walk. I truly believe she was my guardian angel. I think about that moment all the time.

#71

I use to work at Walmart and this lady with her 4 kids are going through self checkout and have bread some cold cuts, chips, a case of water... so they don't have enough money.... they call me over to cancel their order so instead of canceling it I pulled my debit card out and paid the rest... The kids raging for 6 to 16 are looking at me in shock. The mother is crying and thanking me and I said it's okay sometimes we just need a little help.

A few hours later the oldest son comes back and thanks me again and tells me that they had just gotten robbed earlier that week and were struggling until next pay day and my gesture helped remind her that there are still good ppl in this world

#72

after i had broken up with my ex of 4 years, i was looking for a new plave to live. i was viewing this place and got there a bit early, the current tennant was still there. we small talked a bit (i didn't mention anything about my heartache). as she left, she hugged me and said, "i can tell you are being very brave right now"

#73

I was the only person in a Starbucks with one other customer - an older disheveled guy who asked me about the logo on my shirt (it was my company name). Asked me what the name meant and I said it didn't mean anything.

In my head I'm thinking "ugh I don't wanna talk to anyone right now" but to be friendly I told him we had to make sure the name didn't mean anything in lots of languages because we found out our first choice was a bad word in Cantonese.

Old dude goes on to tell me the whole story of how Exxon got its name, which had a similar story (first choice meant 'stalled car' in Japanese so they had to start over). This goes on for several minutes while I wait for my coffee. I'm playing along but thinking in my head he's making it all up just to entertain himself. I googled it later and he was exactly right, almost like he memorized the story word for word to prepare for the conversation.

Blew my mind how he had this perfect random anecdote, dropped it on me, then bailed. I'll never forget it.

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