Most of us can't change the world to be the way that we want it to be. Not everyone can be President of the United States because there's only one job to be had. We can't all be captains of industry because then the work would never get done and so on.
However, while we can't change the world on a global scale. We can make a difference to the lives of some other people.
These stories come from Redditors who were asked, "What have you unknowingly done that meant the world to someone else?" They're quite lovely and show that we can all be the change we want to find in the world.
1. The Graduate
/u/kkuan sent a thank you note to a college lecturer, "He came up to me and gave me an enormous hug. He was also in tears, sobbing and telling me that was the first time anybody has sent him such a thoughtful email in all his years of teaching.
"It turns out he was going through a serious time of depression, and he was not sure whether or not he wanted to continue to teach since he did not feel that many students really appreciated his time and effort. But my email gave him more hope, and refueled his passion and motivation to continue to teach."
2. A Life Restored
/u/banzai_aphrodite may have saved her uncle's life, "I recently saw my uncle who I hadn't seen since I was 4 years old (I'm 23 now.) He pulled me aside and told me a story about the last time he visited when he was outside smoking. He said, 'I remember a little 4-year-old girl coming up to me and saying, 'Why are you smoking? Don't you know it's bad for you?!' ...And that was the last cigarette I ever smoked.'"
3. The Shy Girl
/u/clown_6 says that he once told a shy girl that she was beautiful when she was young, "Fast forward years. We're in high school now. I'm a freshman going to get my schedule for my day. This stunning girl walks up to me with a huge smile. "Hi cutie, how was your summer?" We start talking, and I find out that that day had changed her life. She told me no one had ever said much of anything to her, especially not calling her beautiful. We ended up dating, and she was a wonderful person, inside and out."
4. No More Feeling Down
This anonymous Redditor took a young girl under her wing at camp when she realized that the girl had been bullied, "By next year, I'd completely forgotten about the girl. I arrived at camp and was hanging around, waiting to get my room key, when a girl bounded up to me and gave me a huge hug. She was smiling and confident and happy and she was so excited to see me. She started thanking me and I realized it was the scared little girl I'd talked to the year before. She said I'd been the final push for her to find her confidence."
5. A Visit To The Store
/u/ilurksoyoudon'thaveto shares, "While I was working as a clerk at a grocery store, I took the job very seriously. I always took an interest in everyone that came in my line and always tried to converse with them, when they desired it. One day I finished with a customer and as she leaves she looks me in the eye and says "Every time I come in here you are so helpful and kind, and that means a lot to me." Onions... onions everywhere..."
6. A Friend In Need
This anonymous Redditor tells of the time that she spoke to a friend she called late at night. "Fast forward 5 years, and I run into her at the shopping mall. We talked for a bit and I ended up bringing up that moment, joking that I've always been overly worried about my friends. She broke down in tears in the middle of the store and told me that she was going to kill herself that night. She was moments away from hanging herself when I called asking if she was okay. After that call, she couldn't bring herself to kill herself. She said that she's always owed her life right now to me, and that she wouldn't be alive right now if I didn't make that simple phone call."
/u/musictomyomelette tells of his time volunteering at on old folks home, "One lady stayed behind, came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. She said that she was lonely after her husband passed and that her children died before any of them could get married so she never got to have grandkids. Every time she saw me, she would think, "my grandchild would've been just like him." I cried even more, hugged her, thanked her for all the experiences."
8. Nice One
Western Kansas News
/u/panicky_disaster found an act of kindness repaid itself, "I was in marching band in most of high school, and when I was a sophomore a freshman named Kyle joined my section. I don't really remember us ever having any kind of meaningful interaction, but he was new to the instrument so I helped him when I could.
"He turned out to be the half-brother of the guy I had a crush on, but they had different last names and didn't look alike so I didn't know this at the time. At the end of that school year we started dating, and when he told me about his family I said, 'Kyle's your brother? He's in my section in band.' The guy replied, 'I know. He told me you're the only one who's nice to him.' I had no idea."
9. Lighting A Fire
When /u/coldsandovercoats fought with his boss and refused to fire a member of staff, he spoke to the staff member and his efforts were rewarded, "He really appreciated having that second chance, more than we realized. He was only with our team for six-ish months before he went off to basic training, but when he left, he wrote in his notice that we were the best managers that he'd ever had and that this was the best job he'd ever had."
10. An Act Of Simple Kindness
In These Times
/u/Swatywan tells of the day she served a "special needs" adult in the same way that she would serve anyone else. "The next night, the guy's younger brother came back into the restaurant. I recognized him and welcomed him back. As I'm getting ready to make his meal, he stops me with a hint of tears in his eyes and says 'I'm not here to order; I wanted to come back and thank you for the way you treated my brother. He likes talking to people, but mostly they just ignore him. You really made his night and I can't thank you enough for what you did.'"
11. Saying Hello
/u/Irishluck722 proves that it's the little things that count, "Walked into a [store] and bought some typical stuff for home. When I got to the register, the girl at the register looked so tired and sad. I just looked at her and before she could ask me first, I said a simple 'Hi there. How is your day going?'
"She almost started crying. She then said 'You're the first person who has even spoken to me today. Thank you so much for being so kind. You've made my work day.'"
12. Compassionate Friend
/u/kidtenmom explains how she once told a male classmate to stop worrying about painting his nails and just be himself, "The last day of class he came decked out in full drag. We gave him hell, but no one said anything mean or spiteful. He pulled me aside and thanked me, telling me that because of what I said, he felt like he could be himself without worry.
"She is engaged to a wonderful woman, has a new baby, and is about 1/2 way through her gender reassignment surgery now."
13. Basketball Friends
/u/gfdf explains how she started playing basketball with a lonely girl at school, "So when graduation day rolled around years later, Amanda gave me a card (it was more like a small book) detailing how those basketball games helped her overcome her depression, feel welcomed by peers, and have a sense of self-worth. I think I still have the card somewhere. It was pretty cool."
14. Random Act Of Kindness
/u/kimbo412251 tells this lovely tale, "I work at a pharmacy that also has a lunch counter. One time I was unusually working early during the day and a woman that I had never met came over and bought a scratch off.
"She handed me 2 dollars and asked me to pick her a random ticket (from a selection of about 20). The ticket that I chose for her won $5000. Her husband had died from cancer a few weeks prior and she was struggling to raise her 6-year-old daughter by herself. The money from that ticket helped her keep her car so that she could continue working."
15. Complimentary Change
/u/the_rev_28 got this wonderful compliment from his teacher, "My teacher asked if he could see me out in the hall. Naturally, I began to wonder what I had done wrong, but he assured me it was nothing to be worried about. When we stepped out, he told me that his toddler son was growing up, and asked if my parents did anything special when raising me.
"I was a little uncertain of what he meant so I asked him to clarify. He said, 'Well you're a pretty smart kid, you seem to get along well with most people, and I just wanted to know if there was anything special your parents did when you were a kid I can do as a father, so maybe my little guy will end up like you.'"
16. Sticking It Right
Well Rounded Fashion
/u/beefwich decided to give some stickers away that they bought in Walmart, "I walked past a girl I'd never seen before and peeled off a sticker that said 'You're Beautiful!' and featured a chipper little flower on it with a smiley face. I walked over to her and stuck it on her shirt and 'Have a great day!'
"I took a step to walk away and she grabbed me by the back of my shirt and just started sobbing. I turned around to hug her and she just fell all to pieces in my arms. We stood there, in the hallway, embracing each other for a minute or so. She took a step back, dried her tears with the back of her sleeve, touched the sticker and croaked a feeble 'Thank you.'"
17. Customer Chat
/u/Rage_in_Peace used to talk to a customer they thought of as "Double Vanilla, Marsh Mellow Topping Guy" at work, "Double Vanilla Marsh Mellow Topping Guy suddenly stopped coming in for about 6 months, until he finally stopped in once and we talked for awhile on how things were. I gave him his ice cream and he whipped out this yellow envelope. He told me not to open it until he left.
"Once he was gone I opened it up and there was a note and a golden horseshoe with golden nails. It explained how he got sick many years ago and did not like where his life was going. He got better and began making these horseshoes, numbering them, and giving them to people he met as a memory and to show the appreciation of how they have affected him."
18. Special School Bus
/u/6degreestobillmurray shares why being a bus driver is so cool, "Kids I drove when I started 5 years ago still wave at me and call me by my name, and that feels awesome--that I made a positive impact on a kid's life. I don't get paid a whole helluva lot to do what I do, which is basically to pilot a huge, hot, 20-ton vehicle with the lives of upwards of 40 children's lives in my hands on a daily basis, but it's compliments and recognition like that that make it the best job I've ever had."
19. Healing Magic
/u/XPostFacto1776 was sick as a child and then encountered someone he met back then later in life, "A girl comes running up to me and goes 'Oh my god!' To my knowledge, I had never seen her before so I simply responded 'Yeah, I'm sorry do I know you?'
"She looks at me and says 'We went to preschool together. I remember when you were in the hospital, the entire class made Get Well Soon cards. I didn't fully understand so my parents sat me down and explained to me then what death was. I was so scared for you that I cried for days. I'm so glad you're ok!' Then she hugged me. Apparently, because I inadvertently introduced her to the concept of death and survival, it allowed her to deal with other tragedies she came across early in life."
20. Cooking With Gas
/u/oogmar used to comfort a trainee chef with the words, "I've got you, baby, I've got you, just breathe." Years later when he met that chef, "He thanked me for showing him how to effectively lead and take care of his employees without holding their hands or doing their jobs for them."
It's strange how the smallest kindness can often have the biggest impact, isn't it? We hope someone is kind to you today.
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