Paying it forward goes so much further than you may realize. Whenever it feels like you are surrounded by the chaos and stress of life, it’s important to take a step back and recognize all the good in the world too. Stories of selfless kindness are one of our favorite ways to make us smile. When in a position to give back, offer support, or do the right thing, it can make someone’s day and sometimes change their life.
Here are 5 of our favorite stories of kindness that will warm your heart and inspire you to go out and pay it forward.
Leaving a store, I returned to my car only to find that I’d locked my keys and cell phone inside. A teenager riding his bike saw me kick a tire and say a few choice words. “What’s wrong?” he asked. I explained my situation. “But even if I could call my wife,” I said, “she can’t bring me her car key since this is our only car.” He handed me his cell phone. “Call your wife and tell her I’m coming to get her key.” “That’s seven miles round trip.” “Don’t worry about it.” An hour later, he returned with my key. I offered him some money, but he refused. “Let’s just say I needed the exercise,” he said. Then, like a cowboy in the movies, he rode off into the sunset. —Clarence W. Stephens, Nicholasville, Kentucky
I saw a dress in a consignment shop that I knew my granddaughter would love. But money was tight, so I asked the store owner if she could hold it for me. “May I buy the dress for you?” asked another customer. “Thank you, but I can’t accept such a gracious gift,” I said. Then she told me why it was so important for her to help me. She’d been homeless for three years, she said, and had it not been for the kindness of strangers, she would not have been able to survive. “I’m no longer homeless, and my situation has improved,” she said. “I promised myself that I would repay the kindness so many had shown me.” She paid for the dress, and the only payment she would accept in return was a heartfelt hug. —Stacy Lee, Columbia, Maryland
Kelly McGuire and her husband Sean were leaving a Bears game in Chicago when she spotted a homeless woman across the street. The woman held a sign reading, "I am in need of winter boots and winter clothing items."
McGuire had a bag of warm clothing with her because she had worn layers for the 30-degree weather and then took them off while she was eating dinner. She wrote on her Facebook post, "I had everything in that bag that she needed. Shirts, sweatshirts, gloves, scarves, etc."
After giving her the bag of clothing, McGuire sat down next to the woman and removed her boots, intending to walk to the train in her socks. That's when the woman stopped her and offered her the old, dirty boots she had been wearing. McGuire wrote, "She, who had nothing, offered me these boots. Her boots. I wore them all the way home."
When a 12-year-old was saddened after a school year yielded him just two signatures in his yearbook, A-lister Paul Rudd stepped up to support the youngster.
A flood of well-wishes and support for the teen arrived after his mom Cassandra posted about his tribulations on Facebook, including Marvel’s Antman himself, Paul Rudd.
Rudd had a video call with Brody last month and sent him a handwritten note afterward with a replica helmet of the one Rudd wears as the Antman character in Antman and Avenger’s Endgame.
“It’s important to remember that even when life gets tough, things get better,” wrote Rudd. “There are so many people that love you and think you are the coolest kid there is — me being one of them!”
According to Brody’s mom Cassandra, her son keeps the helmet on a special display stand in his room and is very proud of it.
“Saw this man sitting by himself at a Waffle House in Midway, Florida. So I said hello and asked him what he was doing with that money,” Kevin Cate, an ad maker based in Florida, tweeted on July 9.
“I saw him sit down by himself, and I gave him a wave because he was eating alone and, you know, just wanted to be friendly,” said Cate. “When I was checking out, you know, I saw him organizing gobs of money in front of him, and I just struck up a conversation.”
In time, the conversation turned to the green elephant in the room.
“Eventually, it was like, ‘What the heck are you doing with all this money?’” Cate explained. "And that’s when he told me the story."
“He told me that since 2014, he’s been handing out $1s and $5s to strangers, here and elsewhere,” Cate tweeted. “He said he’s given away more than $13,000 to strangers, kids, and people he meets at Waffle House (his favorite) and elsewhere. And they all come with that note you see in the picture. He copies and cut(s) these out every few days.”
Kindness is in the name at The Kindness Cause, and we live by the mission of doing good and treating people with kindness. We encourage you to seek the good in people, the world, and even the simplest gestures. Be kind and inspire one another!