There’s something about a random act of kindness that holds a special kind of beauty. Maybe it re-affirms our faith in the goodness of humanity. Maybe it serves as a reminder that we don’t need to know another person to brighten their day. Whatever the reason, these stories have the power to inspire us to pay it forward, making the world a better place in some small way.
Here are 10 real random acts of kindness that are too good not to share.
1. No postage required
A 7-year-old Scottish boy attempted to send a letter to his deceased father through the mail. Rather than returning the letter to its heartbroken sender, the Associated Press reported that Royal Mail official Sean Milligan sent a letter to the boy. Milligan’s response read, “This was a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects en route to heaven. However, please be assured that this particular important item of mail has been delivered.”
2. She’ll need a bigger tip jar
Danielle Franzioni, a waitress at a small-town Michigan restaurant, didn’t expect to get rich on her new job. One day, according to the AP, an anonymous stranger left a $2,020 tip on a $23 meal. Written on the credit card receipt was a note: “Happy New Year. 2020 Tip Challenge.” A single mom, Franzioni said she was living in a homeless shelter a year before receiving the surprise tip.
3. The gift of work
A Louisiana store clerk noticed an autistic teenager was watching him shelve bottles of orange juice one day. The clerk, Jordan Taylor, asked the teen, Jack Ryan Edwards, if he wanted to help. “The guy’s patience and time with Jack Ryan was just beautiful,” the boy’s father told The Advocate. “He talked to him. He encouraged him. He worked with him.” The story went viral, and a GoFundMe campaign was launched to help Taylor pay for college. It raised $134,935.
4. Toe-warming tale
A police officer patrolling the streets of Manhattan noticed a homeless man sitting barefoot on the sidewalk on a chilly night. The 25-year-old officer, Larry DePrimo, bought the man a $75 pair of boots and socks. The gift warmed the man’s heart―and feet. A photograph captured the moment for perpetuity, and DePrimo received a 25 percent discount from the owner of the now-famous Sketchers store.
5. Police escort
An 82-year-old Pennsylvania woman got lost on the way to pick up her sister-in-law, crashing her car more than 200 miles from home. Police in Elizabeth, a borough near Pittsburgh, found Janet Fennegan cold, hungry, and unable to drive home. According to WHTM, the cops got Fennegan some food, contacted her family, and drove her halfway home to meet up with relatives.
6. Florida man provides jolt
Mike Esmond, a small business owner in Gulf Breeze, Florida, never forgot the one Christmas he couldn’t afford to pay the gas and electric bill for his family. So, he went to the city and requested a list of all past due utility accounts. Then, according to the AP, he paid off all 36 of them, totaling about $4,600. The city sent notifications to the random beneficiaries.
7. Soothing sounds
Concert violinist Martin Agee volunteers his musical talent to a special audience: an animal shelter in New York City. Dogs at the shelter are rescued and rehabilitated from medical issues that stem from cruelty and neglect. Agee, an animal adoption coordinator, finds his non-human audience particularly captive to his soothing violin. “It’s an emotional experience,” he told Today. “And it has been since day one.”
8. Treasure hunt
A 5-year-old girl and her mother decided all they needed to spread kindness around town was a piece of chalk. The girl, Alaya Kish, dictated a series of inspirational phrases―”be strong,” “be courageous,” “laugh often.” Her mother, Annie, wrote them in public spaces in their hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Kishes also pass out kindness stickers, hand out inspirational quotes, and leave small gifts in hiding spots around downtown.
9. Tax break/lunch break
At one Vermont elementary school, 116 students had negative balances on their school lunch accounts. They were all erased with a single check. The anonymous donation of about $2,000 was issued just before the New Year, according to the AP. Count it as a nifty tax write-off and a means for feeding the masses.
10. Coffee chain
One weekday morning, a Starbucks customer in Florida paid for her own drink (an iced coffee) and that of the customer behind her (a caramel macchiato) at the drive-through. The barista asked the next customer if he also wanted to pay for the next customer’s drink. The pay-it-forward succession continued for 11 hours―a chain of 379 customers, according to the Tampa Bay Times.