If you’ve ever been the recipient of a “pay it forward” moment, you already know that the simplest gesture could completely change your day. This is especially true if an unexpected act of kindness comes along at a difficult time in your life.
INSIDER rounded up some of the best stories on Reddit that show how kind gestures both big and small have impacted these Redditor’s lives.
“She drove way out of her way to drop me off at my house.”
“I was walking home one day last winter, it was super cold out and some lady I’ve never seen before stopped to pick me up. She was really nice and drove way out of her way to drop me off at my house. She gave me a winter hat and a piece of chicken (she was on her way home from KFC) I said ‘thank you’ and she told me to pay it forward.” – Redditor butterandtoast101
“A friend of mine would stop by my house on Mother’s Day to spend half the day with my mum since I wasn’t there.”
“When I left for the Army, a friend of mine would stop by my house on Mother’s Day to spend half the day with my mum since I wasn’t there. He also took her out for her birthday, as well. I never asked him to do any of those things but it made me realise how lucky I am to have friends like him.” – Redditor LouieLives
“A friend’s parents found me an old junker that ran amazingly and bought it for me.”
“I was in a bad car accident (think car flipping, I was knocked unconscious bad). While I was not injured other than a concussion and I herniated some disks in my back, I was left without transportation to my work. I lived about five miles from the nearest bus stop in a heavily wooded area without shoulders on the road, and the bus ride would be three hours to work, after changing buses several times.
“A friend’s parents found me an old junker that ran amazingly and bought it for me. I didn’t care what the vehicle looked like so long as I could get to work. I asked them how much the car was so I could pay them back, and they refused. They merely made me promise to pay it forward the same way one day. I fully intend to do so.” – Redditor Flashyturpentine
“She spoke for what I think was the first time ever and angrily said, ‘why do you guys always pick on her?'”
“I was picked on a lot in elementary school starting from first grade. I had no friends in my grade, and couldn’t keep friends from other grades for various reasons. One day in sixth grade I was washing my hands in the bathroom when a group of girls from my class walked in. They immediately started picking on me, and for some reason I didn’t feel like yelling at them so I kept my head down.
“One of the girls who had never picked on me but had always hung around those who had, spoke for what I think was the first time ever and angrily said, ‘why do you guys always pick on her?’ Immediately the girls fell silent, and they actually never picked on me again after that.The girl that stood up for me stopped hanging out with those girls and we became friends. We’ve been friends for more than 15 years now, and I’ve never forgotten that moment, and never will.” – Redditor MmeBear
“Mum let us believe what we did so that we wouldn’t resent our father”
“My mother let me blame her for the divorce of her and my father. I always assumed that Mum divorced Dad and she let me beg her to take him back. She would always say that sometimes parents work better separated. But it turns out that Dad left us. He let me blame Mum, too. I’m a parent now to my very own beautiful children, and I’ve only just found out that Mum let us believe what we did so that we wouldn’t resent our father.” – Redditor IamStwan
“My girlfriend stole the manuscript and had six copies printed in high quality hardback.”
“I finished writing and editing a book about four years ago. It sat as a manuscript for a long time. My girlfriend stole the manuscript and had six copies printed in high quality hardback, which she surprised me with for Christmas. I couldn’t speak for about a minute then cried like a baby.” – Redditor its_a_metaphor_morty
“He told me to cheer up because it’s just a bad day and not a bad life.”
“Possibly the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me would have been after my wife cheated on me and left me. I was sitting in a bar drinking some whiskey and trying not to cry at a booth. I saw something on the television that made me instantly burst into tears. The very chipper server comes over and asks if I needed a refill, notices I’m crying, and goes to the bar and grabs another full glass of the same whiskey. He brings it back over, no longer chipper, and he tells me to cheer up because it’s just a bad day and not a bad life. He has no idea how much that gesture meant to me.” – Redditor link_123
“My 5-year-old daughter handed me a note that said ‘You are the hero of my life dad.'”
“Got ready to go to work one day and wasn’t feeling super stoked about things. On my way out the door, my 5-year-old daughter handed me a simple note that she had written on the front of an envelope. It said ‘You are the hero of my life dad.’ Nobody will ever top that compliment, and I hope I live up to it.” – Redditor kevlarbuns
“My coworker asked if it was ok if she got something for my brothers.”
“Around December, I was going through a really rough time in my life. I was working extra hours to get my mind off things and I really wanted to get presents for my three younger brothers. My coworker asked if it was ok if she got something for my brothers. I told her ‘No, it’s ok’ because she has three kids of her own, but she insisted she wanted to help out.
“About two weeks before Christmas, she comes up to me at the end of our shift and hands me an envelope. I open it up and it was a gift card for $US150. I tried to give it back to her but she said she wanted to make sure that I was able to get my brothers the presents they wanted. She’s by far, the sweetest person I ever met.” – Redditor _hybridthe0ry
“When the PS4 came out they were sold out all around town. My stepdad waited in line for Best Buy to open.”
“A few years ago back when the PS4 came out they were sold out all around town. My stepdad waited in line starting at 4:30 a.m. in 30-degree weather with a blanket, a fold-out chair, a headlamp, and a book so he could get me one of the few coming in that day. I was 30 years old.” – Redditor ShaggyTraveler
“A stranger paid for my groceries when my debit card was declined.”
“A complete stranger that was behind me in line paid for my groceries when my debit card was declined. I didn’t even get to thank him. I ran to the atm to get money out of savings, and when I got back the cashier told me my groceries were paid for. Thank you stranger!” – Redditor BWBHAMMER
“My mum drove me a half hour to school every day, and picked me up every day so I wouldn’t get bullied.”
“When I was getting horribly bullied freshman year, I had to switch schools. My mum was a stay-at-home mum who certainly didn’t have to do this, but she drove me a half hour to school every day, and picked me up every day. Two hours of driving, more often than not it was three because of traffic, and she did it so I wouldn’t get bullied and could go to a school I liked.” – Redditor alalal982
“People from work took up a collection to help us with medical expenses.”
“After my youngest son was diagnosed with cancer, a bunch of people did some amazingly generous things. People from work took up a collection to help us with medical expenses. Some people set up a schedule to pick my oldest son up for school. My son was diagnosed a few weeks after my water heater leaked and destroyed my subflooring and a bunch of people got together to make my house livable again. My wife’s grandfather paid to have a system installed in our heating/air system that kills germs and viruses. My son had basically no immune system for about a year but remained fairly healthy, and I believe this is largely because of this system.” – Redditor HeMightBeJoking
“My wife stuck with me for 30 years through gangs, addiction, prison, and bipolar.”
“I know this will sound corny, but my wife sticking with me for 30 years through gangs, addiction, prison, and bipolar. She stuck by me through it all. I’m years clean and sober and do a lot for the community now and see what she went through. The nicest thing anyone did was just be there while I seemed like a monster.” – Redditor slickgreenthumbs
“My boss paid for my family’s insurance.”
“I was on disability for six weeks and insurance was due. My boss paid for my family’s insurance – $US1300! He is the best person I know.” – Redditor Visionbuilder
“I once got in a wreck and a family stopped and assisted me while I was lying on the side of a bridge”
“I once got in a wreck and this family from a different state who saw it happen stopped and assisted me while I was lying on the side of a bridge. They put a blanket under my head and kept reassuring me I was going to be ok. I wish I would have gotten their names because they were truly the best people I ever met. I’ll always be grateful.” – Redditor bigfatgato
“The woman ahead of me quickly added my soup and soda to her items.”
“Last week was terrible. I had family issues, work issues, overwhelming depression. During my lunch break at work, I went to a local grocery to grab a bowl of soup. As I got to the front, the woman ahead of me quickly added my soup and soda to her items. After thanking her profusely, she just said ‘Pay it forward, and thank you for your service.’ (Mail carrier, we very rarely get recognition for how hard we work.) To that lady, thank you. I sat in my truck and cried, her $US6 lifted me up and I promise to pay it forward.” – Anonymous redditor
“She gave me $US1000 to help with my kid’s education.”
“I was talking with a driver who comes into my workplace regularly. She was asking how my kids were, and in the conversation, I had mentioned that my oldest was thinking about taking some exams at a local college, and if she passed, she’d get full credit for the relevant college course. Then I said something about being unsure as to how I’d pay for the exams, as they’re several hundred dollars each. We finish the conversation, she leaves, then comes back in and hands me a personal check for $US1000. No, the check didn’t bounce. She legit gave me a grand to help with my kid’s education.” – Redditor nakedwithoutmyhoodie
“He put his arm around me, led me away from danger, and helped me find my hotel, definitely saving my life.
“As a kid, I was on vacation with my family and got lost, sunburned, and delirious walking alone on the beach. Two men started following me saying profane things to me and getting closer and closer. A different man ran up to me and acted like he was my father. ‘Where’ve you been? Your mother’s worried sick about you.’ He put his arm around me, led me away from danger and helped me find my hotel, definitely saving my life. To this day, I think he might have been a guardian angel.” – Redditor scarletdragonflyfl
“A complete stranger paid for my $US20 garage bill.”
“I was stuck in a parking garage, had lost my wallet on the train, worked 14 hours straight, and had only $US3 in quarters on me. A complete stranger paid for my $US20 garage bill without a second thought. Heard me breaking down in my car at the toll booth, walked over and gave me a $US20, said ‘just get home safe’ and drove off.” – Redditor TUB1230
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