From giving away vacation lottery win to a coworker, to secretly buying new clothes for a poor friend, 28 people share their most wholesome secret.
A small act of kindness can really turn someone's day or life around.
1. A bit of research and a whole lot of confidence boost
During the middle of my junior year of high school a girl transferred from another nearby school because she was bullied and harassed both in person and online. After a lot of digging online, I found her old ask.fm and eventually used a variation of her url to find her Tumblr. After scrolling through her blog, I found out she was actually super into singing and that her idol was Haley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore. So one day in class I causally said that she reminds me of “this singer from a band I like” and the look of absolute joy on her face when I said Haley Williams from Paramore was absolutely incredible. After that, she was visibly way more comfortable and confident and she even got a few people together to rehearse as a band! They played at our school's talent show senior year and the first song of their set was by Paramore.
2. Free toys!
When I was a kid I used to always twist the quarter machines on the way into stores just in case. Got lucky a couple of times and a few free toys. Now that I'm grown if I'm leaving a store with them I like to drop change into them if I have it and leave them half twisted.
3. The secret penny dropper
I secretly drop pennies. For many years, my Uncle used to bend down and pick up every penny he came across, which was maddening to my Aunt who was worried the neighbors would see him and assume they were poor, needing every penny the could find. They used to tease each other about it.
My Uncle got cancer and passed away after a very long struggle. After the funeral we were walking to the car and my Aunt saw a penny, and said, “Oh John is thinking of me. He left this penny for me today.” So whenever I am around my Aunt, I purposely drop pennies on the ground for her to find. I haven't been caught yet, and I hope I never do.
4. The best weekend surprise
I'm taking my science geek housemate to Switzerland to go to CERN on the weekend.
I've tricked him into taking Friday and Monday off work, stolen his passport, slowly been stealing his clothes from him when he's hung them up to dry.
I'm an expert packer so I've fit all we need for the weekend in one backpack so it won't look unusual when we leave for our ‘day out at the beach' on Friday.
I was ill for a while and he was practically my nurse so I owe him. I LOVE surprises.
5. Father of the year
My almost 16 year old thinks he's saving for a car. He's actually saved about $11,000.
He doesn't know I'm going to buy him a car and he can use that money for something else.
6. Free drinks for mum
Every year for my mum’s birthday when we go on a night out, I give people money to buy two shots. One for them, one for my mum. I just ask them to go over and wish her a happy birthday and give her the shot. It's great watching her talk about it to everyone that will listen, how so many people knew it was her birthday and she got all these free drinks, how special she felt. It’s worth the money just to see her face light up and get that sparkle back in her eyes.
7. Thankful and helpful
When I can afford to, I tuck extra $20s in my parents' and boyfriend's wallets, so they think they forgot they had extra money. They've done so much for me, including covering my bills when I wasn't able to, and none of them will let me pay them back, so it's my way of secretly thanking them for their help and support.
8. Helping indirectly
A friend of mine has problems with paying his bills. His parents don't support him that much and he can't get a good student loan because of stupid regulations. He often containers food at a local super market and then invites me to dinner and to hang out. He is about to get his bachelor degree, and has to be in lab almost all day, thus he cannot work more than a few hours a week. I sometimes leave behind 5-20€ randomly lying around in his room to support him. He wouldn't take the money if I gave it to him directly.
9. The love of a cat
I've had my cat for 18 years. I've had my husband for 3 years. He always wanted a cat and never had one.
Their love is strong and true, but obviously the cat is slightly more attached to/familiar with me.
My husband loves that cat so much, and gets a little bit of a thrill out of the idea that the cat loves us equally even though I had a 15 year head start.
What my husband doesn't know is that I sometimes intentionally annoy the cat so that he will go snuggle with my husband instead, because it is so damn cute how giddy my husband gets about it.
10. A small kind gesture
Aunt was gonna be short for her rent. I paid the landlord and told him to say that she paid it earlier in the month. She was so happy about it. Made steaks for supper and paid extra on other bills so she'd be ahead of them.
11. Valentine gift
Me and my friends once bought a valentine for a boy who wasn't very popular in our class. We didn't put our names on it, but he was so happy to have received one, he kept turning it over and over in his hands all day.
12. Everyone deserves some love and attention
When I see two girls walking by and one is clearly more beautiful than the other I keep the eye contact with the less attractive one and smile.
In school I was not very attractive, not very athletic and not very popular. There was a company of popular girls and a couple of them would always say hi to me, although they were not friends with me, congratulate me on my birthday, invite me to events. These little gestures can mean a world to people with low self esteem.
Those small tokens of attention from those girls inspired me to get my life together in college, do sports, socialize more, pay attention to details, and not be a jerk.
13. Need a lift?
I offer people I know lifts home even if they're totally the opposite direction to where I'm going, because walking home in the cold and dark sucks way more than an extra ten minutes in the car, and it's nice having a chance to get to know people in that setting.
14. Saving up for their future
My kids have bank accounts into which I deposit their Christmas and birthday money. Sometimes their mom and I will agree to use some of that money to buy things for them, but I actually pay for it out of my own money and let their savings build up.
15. So sweet!
When I'm in the car with my military-hardened dad, he will occasionally go on long rants about how much he loves, respects, and appreciates my mom for everything she does, and he'll start saying these things completely unprompted and out of the blue, and my mom has no idea.
I've started recording these with my phone without him knowing, and plan to throw them all together into one big file and play it for them on one of their anniversaries.
16. Her vacation pictures look great!
Without revealing too much information, my previous job had a major perk: a lottery system in which the winners got to accompany a group to various locations in the world for a hybrid vacation/work trip.
I won the lottery one year and was selected to go to Istanbul.
I heard a coworker talking to her spouse on the phone about how bummed she was she did not get it (she was selected as my backup, but did not know who she was backing up). She had hoped to visit a long lost family member. She is a quiet, sweet, helpful person. Very behind the scenes, rather under-appreciated.
I gave up my spot due to a “prior commitment”. She got to go instead. I had a great time looking at her pictures.
17. Pizza is true happiness
When my girlfriend and her kid come to visit, I don't order pizza because I'm feeling lazy. I order pizza because it makes the kid super happy. I always make sure to get extra pineapples, because that's the kid's favorite, even though her mom and I don't really care for them that much.
It's worth eating pizza that is mediocre to see a 4-year-old beaming because she gets pizza.
18. The tickets to a long-term happy relationship
I'm about to have “the talk” with my girlfriend's dad before I propose. He's a huge hockey fan, so I bought two tickets to the Blackhawks' first playoff game. He's only had daughters so he's never had the bonding dude experience of a few beers and live sports. Screw a casual get together, we're going big.
I'm so excited to just show up at the house and be like “GET UP, GET YOUR GEAR AND LET'S GO! I HAVE TICKETS!”
It's super secret but I have to tell someone.
19. The beer saver
One time when I was like 14, on my dad's friend's land, I was sitting on my quad parked next to my dad and his friend T. T's nephew (9) and stepson (13) were riding their motorcycles around about 100 yards off when we hear a loud crash, and the kids yelling.
T drops his last beer, gestures to commandeer my four wheeler and he and my dad take off over there. I notice that the beer tipped over, so I pick it up, brush all the dirt off of it and sit it back up right where he dropped it. After everything's said and done, scrapes and bruises accounted for, he comes back to find his beer standing upright. The look on his face was priceless, he thanks the ale gods for saving his beer, and told the story of his magic beer.
I decided I'd never ruin it. I'm the beer god. Sometimes I swap the almost empty beers in friends' coozies out with fresh ones without them ever noticing. Nobody's sure who does it. Gotta keep the magic alive.
20. The love of a grandfather
Not about me, but it's a secret that nobody knows except me. My dad walked out on me when I was 14, but he kept in touch with my older brother. He bought my older brother a car, a $3,000 DSLR camera (when they were a new thing), took him on trips, etc. He hasn't said a word to me since I was 14, though. It's messed up.
Anyway, when I turned 16 my grandfather went out and bought me a car. He'd have me over a couple weekends every month to help him around the house, help work on the boats with him, etc. At the time I thought he just needed help. I thought my problems with my dad were my fault for misbehaving for something, and that nobody in my family knew about them except me and my mom. The older I get, the more I realize my mom must have gone to him over the way my father was treating me, and he stepped in to help raise me. He was the best man I ever knew.
21. The best “surprise” gift
Several years ago my wife totally surprised me for my birthday with a fully planned trip for me and my brother to visit a friend of ours that moved to Colorado. She booked the flights, rental car, and she worked with the other 2 to make sure I had a full weekend planned. She was so proud of herself.
Except it wasn't a secret. 3 weeks before the date, Delta Airlines called my phone to inform me of a change to one of my flights. When they said Denver, I started putting the pieces together. As the day drew closer, I went along with everything she told me to do. The day of she woke me up real early to go shower and while I did she packed my bag and loaded it in my brothers truck who was outside waiting on me.
She wrote me a long letter explaining what where she was sending me, but only after I had left. It was really really sweet, and she put a lot of effort into the whole thing. I acted as surprised and shocked as I possibly could.
I'll take this secret to my grave, at least from her. She talks about it sometimes, and still to this day claims she has done the best surprise gift. I agree 100%.
22. Helping them live the life they want
There's a certain place in my town where the homeless guys and girls go. I save £100 a month and spend it on essentials for them. Most of them are addicts and probably won't ever get back into a stable place. So I just wanna help them live the life they have, however I have helped a very few get into night and day shelters, which in turn they got the help they needed. Of course, I've never told a soul. The guys and girls I help think my name is Justin. I love seeing them smile every other Friday that I visit them.
23. The stolen birthday money
My then best friend had her birthday money in her locker in middle school and it got stolen ($80, yes it was dumb, I think her mom was taking her shopping after school or something). She was really upset, of course, so I dipped into my very limited babysitting savings and slipped $40 into her locker with a nice note the next day without ever telling her it was me. I think I was 14 at the time.
24. Clothing a good friend
Have a really poor friend. Wear the same size clothing. I give him my old clothing but what he doesn't know is I go out and buy new clothes just for him and I just say they're stuff I got lucky with at thrifts stores, on super sale, or just stuff I got and didn't like enough to wear more than once.
25. A hot free lunch for the homeless
Bus tickets here have vouchers printed on the back of them, and I can get a ticket to the next town for £1.40 with my SU (Student's Union) card. Whenever I get a McDonald's (which is pretty often now that the monopoly is on) I use the voucher to get a big mac meal for £2.99 (iirc, it's around there), and my SU card to get a free cheeseburger which I give to the homeless man sat outside. He's getting a hot free lunch twice a week from me when I'm on my way back from the gym.
26. It’s a good feeling
Once I saw an old lady rummaging trough the trash looking for some food. I asked her what could I buy her and after insisting she asked me some meat to make some broth. I went in the nearest supermarket and gave her, and she thanked me profusely saying that she would remember me in her prayers (I'm atheist but obviously didn't tell her, I thanked her). I'm a poor student and that week I ate a little less than usual, but it felt good. Happened 3 years ago and I never told anyone until now.
27. Fulfilling a best friend’s wish over a trip to Hawaii
My best friend's mom passed away from cancer 4 years ago on Easter Sunday. She was like a second mom to me. She was very religious and always dreamed of going to Jerusalem.
When she passed away, my best friend became reckless and would try to drown his feelings in booze and cover up the dark with the bright lights of clubs and women. This went on for a couple years.
Eventually, my best friend hit beyond rock bottom to where he was living in his car with only a backpack of clothes and his mom's ashes. I let him stay with me and he turned it around. He stopped going to bars. He started caring again. He started saving money. He decided he would spread his mom's ashes in Jerusalem.
Well, he got into a car accident last month and totaled his car. Not his fault. Someone plowed through a red light. Medical bills and attorneys fees drained his savings. But it's okay. He told me how there was a bank error and someone deposited $3000.00 into his bank account. He's all set to be in Jerusalem around Easter and my Hawaii trip was postponed.
28. Helpful angels in the snow
When I was 17 years old my best friend and I decided to take the snowmobiles out for a ride in the blizzard. We thought it would be amazing to hit some fresh forming powder and drifts. The visibility was low so we stuck to the main roads.
We ended up on a desolate road with two homes and acres and acres of farm land. As we got close to the homes we noticed some lights and went over to see what was going on. It turned out that the old couple living there had ventured out to the store to get food in case they got snowed in. They made the long drive and everything went fine (they had to have hit several drifts that were 1-4 feet tall). Things only went wrong when they slowed down to turn into the drive. They didn't dare leave their car out because they feared a snow plow would hit it. My friend and I in full snow gear, helmets and face masks dug the car out and shoveled the driveway and made sure they got the car in the garage.
I thought that was the end of the story. I didn't even mention anything to my parents. Lo and behold the next day at church this couple was there. Our church gives time for the congregation to get up and talk about their beliefs/faith building stories. Sure enough the old man gets up and starts telling about their trip to the store last night. He talked about getting stuck and worrying he would never get his car unstuck and destroyed by a snow plow. He then said two angles appeared, barely spoke, unstuck his car and disappeared as quickly as they arrived. He said that he had been pleading with the Lord for some help but figured it could never arrive because no one ever travels the road. My mom looked at me and knew it was me. She didn't say anything, I didn't say anything.
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