A Reddit user asked people to share the little acts of kindness which have stuck with them, and the responses prove how small acts can have a massive impact.
Reddit is a weird and wonderful place. Whether users are debating the most beautiful sights in the UK or sharing stories of the most mind-blowing coincidences they’ve experienced, spending an afternoon scrolling through the platform is a seriously eye-opening experience.
But our latest find, from a question posted on the r/AskReddit forum on Sunday, has to be one of the most heartwarming yet.
“What’s a little thing that someone did for you and probably forgot about it right away, but you remember it years later?” the post began.
Within six hours, the post had received over 315 responses – with many people sharing paragraph long stories about the acts of kindness which had touched them the most.
From little moments of compassion during everyday events to support in times of crisis, the stories are a reminder of the power we all have to change someone’s day – or life – with one small action of kindness.
The responses are sure to restore your faith in humanity – so we’ve picked out a few of the best to get you started.
1. The gifts that stick with us
“One time I was in the summer school class and I became friends with two girls in the class,” begins Ashtronica2.
“Once for a whole week they were purposefully ignoring me and I felt hurt. When I went to confront them they surprised me with a poster board covered in magazine cutouts that spelled my name and had pictures of things I was interested in. Pictures of my characteristics and theirs too.
“They had been secretly working on it the whole time. Almost 20 years later I still have it somewhere.”
2. Simple does not equal small
“As a teen, I didn’t know how to read the bus schedule. I took the wrong bus and ended up in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I was super lost, overwhelmed, and trying not to panic,” says Brand-Spanking-New.
“A tiny, elderly black lady in a giant hat saw me freaking out. She told me to take some deep breaths until I wasn’t on the verge of tears, then taught me how to read the bus schedule. She told me which buses I needed to take to get back where I was going.
“I’m sure she didn’t think anything about it, but I still appreciate what she did for me that day.”
3. The best kind of friend
“I was trying to quit drinking,” begins this story by manymoth. “I came home form work and my friend had gone and bought all kinds of non-alcoholic drinks, soda and a bunch of flavors of fizzy water and stuff, and left them for me so I would have other stuff to drink without having to navigate past the beer aisle at the grocery store.”
4. A small action that helped to save a life
“I stopped talking with my best friend for almost a year because job and family issues kinda separated us both, and he randomly wrote me after months of no contact: ‘What are you doing? How are you feeling? We should meet sometime!’” writes Inevitable_Proof. “Not really that strange, but I was really contemplating about ending my life at that time. I was taking a bath thinking that I might not be alive next month when my phone suddenly vibrated next to the tub. I haven’t told him, but I cried a lot that day and thought about my life. I’m not in a better spot but I feel much better mentally. Don’t think he knew what was up because I’m an introvert and loner and my friends are used to not being able to reach me sometimes.
“It’s the small things that can change something big.”
5. When strangers become friends
“I flew home from California to North Carolina to visit my family,” says carter_daTHIRD. “My wife and I went out to eat at a local breakfast shop. While waiting to be seated, an old couple in front of us sparked some small talk with us. In that 20 minutes we spoke about my military career, life, sports, family, everything. Super cool people. Finally sat down to eat, enjoyed breakfast. I started looking for our waitress to grab the check when she informed us that the older couple had grabbed the check, paid for us, and thanked us for talking to them that day. Such an awesome feeling, and ever since, if I ever eat out on Sunday’s and hold a dope conversation with a couple, my wife and I will pay for their meal. Pay it forward!”
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6. The power of words
“I had a miscarriage and was devastated. It was after I had already been showing in my pregnancy so everyone knew. I was at my parents’ house and they had some guests over. When I came out of my room all the guests got really quiet and didn’t know what to say, so they all looked away and no one said anything,” writes bkwonderwoman.
“Except one guy, a family friend, who came right up to me and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” He probably doesn’t remember it, but I knew it took courage for him to do that and it meant so much to me to have someone acknowledge my loss. Even though this was more than ten years ago, I’m choking up as I write it. I thankfully have my beautiful children now but I think about my miscarriages from time to time and still get emotional.
“It also taught me to that you don’t need to say anything special, just acknowledging what someone is going through makes a huge impact. Before, I would have been like the others and not said anything because that’s so much easier and also because you know you won’t say the wrong thing. But since then I will always reach out, even if it’s awkward or uncomfortable.”
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.