We asked people to share the nicest thing a stranger's done for them. The stories are pure humanity.

The kindness of strangers is one of the most beautiful things about being human. Sure, there are selfish jerks out there, but the vast majority of humanity are good people who truly care about others. We just sometimes forget to look for the good that's all around us.


We asked our Upworthy audience on Facebook to share their stories of the nicest thing a stranger has done for them, and their answers didn't disappoint. Hundreds upon hundreds of comments poured in, with incredible stories of selfless kindness.

If you need a pick-me-up today, these stories might help. You can read all of the comments on our Facebook page, but here are some highlights:

"When my son was little my son saw a pair of sneakers on clearance. They were every color of the rainbow and $3. I had no money and he needed the shoes. So we hid them in a cabinet under the display and I told him if his dad could get work this week (he lost his job and was doing odd jobs at our apt complex to get money towards our rent—I was working part time and was pregnant with my fourth child) I told him if dad could get a little job that week we could come back and get the shoes. He was going into kindergarten in a few weeks and the other kids told me they didn't need new shoes to try to get them for their brother. As we left the mall after we got my little bit of groceries and started to walk home an elderly lady handed me a bag, I told her it wasn't mine and she said it was and walked away. In the bag was the shoes. She must have been watching and listening. My son was so proud to wear those shoes because an angel lady gave them to him." Michelle T.

"When I was 9, I was on holiday with my dad. I spent ages in the arcade on the claw machine trying to get this one toy. I ran out of change, so dashed to the change kiosk, and when I got back to the machine, the toy I was trying to get was gone. I was starting to tear up, when there was this tap on my shoulder and this woman handed me the toy I had been trying to get. She'd watched me trying to get it all that time, managed to get it on her first go and felt bad for me so she gave it to me. I loved that toy so much!" – Kimberly H.

"I was heading up for my daughter's wedding weekend and stopped at a lovely gift shop for a card and maybe a little something extra. I asked how much the beautiful, green milk glass cake stand was and it was over 100.00. I decided I had spent enough money and just went to pay for the card. She came out from the back room with a gift bag all wrapped. She said please take this. I can tell you're a great Mom. I broke down in tears. I've been paying it forward ever since." – Jeannie J.

"3am walking home alone from a club. A guy who had slowly been catching up to me apologised and hurried past me, saying he could see I was nervous with him walking behind me. I thanked him and relaxed a little. Not a hundred yards later, a second man shouts from a passing car, pulls up in front of me and GETS OUT OF THE CAR, beckoning me into the back seat. The previous man is now a while ahead but turns round and shouts "babe come on, I wanna get home!" And starts walking back towards me. Man #2 hurriedly gets back in his car and speeds off.

The first man just gives me a thumbs-up and goes on his way. Nice." – Ruth C.

"Almost a decade ago I was abused by my husband for the last time. It was the first time I had gone to the hospital because of the abuse and I went via ambulance. I swear, every single person I spoke with—every medical worker, security guard, cop, and any person I spoke with in the waiting room as I waited to be picked up to go home shared stories with me about domestic abuse. I was still in such denial but my face was so wrecked, everyone could see what I had been through. My ex went straight to jail from the incident and I have not seen or spoken with him since. Those strangers treated me with respect and dignity and were a huge driving force in me getting out with my children alive. I have come so far and now work in the medical field and share my stories of abuse and escape in hopes that I can help even just one person to get out. I don't know any of their names or faces. I am forever grateful for the time that they all took to save my kids and me." – Mya F.

"Comforted me in the lobby of the veterinary clinic where my dog had just been euthanized. I was standing there sobbing, unable to walk out, and she asked if she could give me a hug. I told her she could and she did. It meant so much to me—I will never forget her." – Amy D.

"A pharmacist paid for my prescription when I was fresh out of college and broke. I was crying counting my change and he just told me to take it." – Lindsey M.

"After I learned that my Mother chose not to have a life saving procedure, that she wanted to let go and die peacefully and I only had hours left with her, I walked into the hospital hallway and emitted painful, wailing cries and fell to the floor. A complete stranger asked if she could hug and hold me because I was breaking her heart. She didn't want me to be alone. After five minutes she told me to be strong, wipe my eyes and not let my mama hear or see me like this. She was an angel during a time of serious need. I will always be grateful for her words, comfort and strength." – Nicole R.

"I was 15 y.o and just landed in Seattle from boarding school in Utah. I decided to hitch-hike alone from Seattle to Denver. A trucker picked me up in Spokane and took me to Billings MT where I'd lived as a kid briefly. He toured me around town to see my home, my school, my piano teacher's house. Then we went to where his trucker buddies all hung out to try to find me a ride to Denver. After a few hours, he told me to get into his rig. He drove to the airport. Told me to wait while he ran inside to 'do a chore.' He returned with a plane ticket and handed it to me and told me 'No argument. You're getting on that plane. I don't trust any of those guys to get you there safely' His name was John van der Horne. He gave me one of his bank deposit slips. His parting words to me were 'You'll think of me someday.' When I was in my 20's (I'm 63 now) I sent him a check and a huge 'thank you.' He never cashed my check and I never heard from him again.

Thank you, John van der Horne. Wherever you are." – Terilee H.

"I was in town one day—we only live in a small town and it was the day the farmers market was there so it was quite busy. I took my child with ASD with me to pick up some things and pop into the bank. Halfway through the town he had a meltdown and threw himself on the floor, rolling around and screaming. Lots of people walking by would stare and make comments, and I reached the point that I just wanted to cry. I couldn't get my son to walk any further and had big bags of shopping to carry so I couldn't carry him. I was exhausted because I'm a single parent and my son had never slept through the night and I have a neuralgia condition meaning I was in constant pain.

A lady with her young child came up to me with flowers and said that she'd had a tough day the day before and someone had bought her flowers, which cheered her up, so she'd done the same for me. She offered to put the bags on her pushchair and carry them to my car so I could carry my son. That made such a difference to my day." – Holly L.

"My husband died unexpectedly at home about 18 months ago. One of the initial first responders to arrive was a police officer I did not know. He sat and held my hand for hours until my husband's body was removed. Had never seen him before, and have only bumped into him one time since that day." – Denise M.

"I was on holidays in San Anselmo, California when I got food poisoning. The hospital staff were so lovely. Two people even offered to give me cab fare back to my B&B. This Aussie was so grateful for their kindness. I wrote to the hospital when I got home and thanked them." – Myrna H.

"Had a stranger pay for my family's and myself's appetizer/dinner/drinks/dessert at a mid-priced restaurant. There were six adults and one child. It was absolutely incredible. They even paid the tip! I was dumbfounded when I asked for the check and was told that there wasn't one." – Holly F.

"Years ago I was shopping with my 3 kids. I had a list and was adding up the cost as I went along. Single mom, little money. When I checked out the cashier said the woman in front of me gave her $25 to help cover my groceries. It was such a quiet kindness." - Dana S.

Here's to the "quiet kindness" of strangers, reminding us that people are awesome and humanity at its best is pretty darn amazing.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves
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It can be expensive to have a pet. It's possible to spend between $250 to $700 a year on food for a dog and around $120-$500 on food for a cat. But of course, most of us don't think twice about the expense: having a pet is worth it because of the company animals provide.

But for some, this expense is hard to keep up, no matter how much you adore your fur baby. And that's why Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves decided to help.

Kenneth had seen a man scraping together change in a store to buy pet food, so he offered to buy the man some extra pet food. Still, later that night he couldn't stop thinking about the experience — he worried the man wasn't just struggling to pay for pet food, but food for himself, too.

So he went home and told his wife — and immediately, they both knew they needed to do something. So, in December 2020, they converted a farm stand into a take-what-you-need, leave-what-you-can Pet Food pantry.

"A lot of people would have watched that man count out change to buy pet food. Some may have helped him out like my husband did," Jill says. "A few may have thought about it afterward. But, only someone like Kenny would turn that experience into what we have today."

"If it weren't for his generous spirit and his penchant for a plan, the pantry would never have been born," she adds.

A man with sunglasses hands a box of cat food to a woman smiling Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

At first, the couple started the pet food pantry with a couple hundred dollars of pet food they bought themselves. And to make sure people knew about the pantry, they set up a Facebook page for the pantry, then went to other Facebook groups, such as a "Buy Nothing group," and shared what they were doing.

"When we started, we weren't even sure people would use us," Jill says. "At best, we were hoping to be able to provide enough to help people get through the holidays."

But, thanks to their page and word of mouth, news spread about what they were doing, and the donations of more pet food started flooding in, too. Before long, they were coming home to stacks of food — and within a couple of months, the pantry was full.

Yellow post-it note with handwritten note that reads: "Hi, I read your story on Facebook. Here is a small donation to help. I have a 3-year-old yellow lab who I adore. I hope this helps someone in need. Merry Christmas. Meredith" Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"The pounds of food we have gone through is well, well, well into the thousands," Jill says. "The orders from our Amazon Wish List alone include several hundred pounds of dry food, a couple of hundred cases of canned food, and thousands of treats and toys. But, that does not even take into account the hundreds of drop-offs, online orders, and monetary donations we have received."

They also got many 'Thank you notes' from the people they helped.

"I would like to thank you for helping us feed our fur babies," one note read. "My husband and I recently lost our jobs, and my husband [will] hopefully [find] a new one. We are just waiting for a call."

Another read: "I just need to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I haven't worked in over a month with a two-year-old at home. Dad brings in about $300/week. From the pandemic to Christmas, it has been tough. But with the help of beautiful people like you, my fur baby can now eat a little bit longer, and my heart is happy."

Jill says that she thinks the fact that the pet pantry is a farm stand helps people feel better.

A woman holding a small black dog and looking at the camera is greeted by Jill Gonsalves Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"When we first started this, someone who visited us mentioned how it made them feel good to be able to browse without feeling like they were being watched," she says. "So, it's been important to us to maintain that integrity."

Jill and Kenneth aren't sure how many people they've helped so far, but they know that their pet food pantry is doing what they hoped it would. "The pet owners who visit us, much like donations, come in ebbs and flows," Jill says. "We have some regulars who have been with us since the beginning. We also have some people that come a few times, and we never see again."

"Our hope is that they used us while they were in a tough spot, but they don't need us anymore. In a funny way, the greatest thing would be if no one needed us anymore."


Today, the Acushnet Pet Pantry is still going strong, but its stock is running low. If you want to help out, visit their Facebook page for updates and to find ways to donate.
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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!