Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We live in a world where strangers help one another.

There are many things that can shake our faith in humanity, from the inane bickerings of people on social media to the fact that humans are still trying to war their way to peace.

But amidst the negative news and division-pushing algorithms, we find glimpses of hope, gems of human decency and kindness that don't make the headlines but are happening every day, all around us. There are so many people who are willing to go out of their way to help out others—not just their friends and neighbors but perfect strangers as well.

Someone on Reddit asked people to share the nicest thing a stranger has done for them, and it's a mood-boosting, faith-restoring collection of human goodness.

The question was posed with a story of a mom who was at the mall with her toddler, watching a train ride that you could ride for a $1. She was broke and didn't have any cash, but her kiddo was content to watch. A group of loud teens went by, and then one of them came back to put some money in the machine for her son, saying, "I always liked watching trains too." Her son lit up, and the teen went on his way.

"I never would have expected that action from a stranger, let alone a teen with his friends in a mall," she wrote.

Another parent added a similar story, but from an older couple instead of a teen.

"When my son was a toddler he loved the mini merry-go-round that operated for 50 cents or something like that.

We happened to be at the mall, and this elderly couple asked if it would be okay that they could pay for a few rounds for him to play on it cuz they just wanted to enjoy watching a child play.

That memory has stuck with me as clear as day even though my son is now a young adult. I have every intention on being that kind of elderly couple." – ThatCanadianRadTech

The teens are often more helpful than we'd expect, though, as another person shared:

"One time my wife was at the mall with our autistic then 4 year old. They went to get on the escalator. My wife thought she was there with her, but at the last moment she backed off, and didn't realize until she was well on her way up.

This is one of those escalators where the up is not right next to the down, it's on the other side of the hall.

My wife is freaking out over our kid stuck at the bottom, who's afraid to come up on her own, but my wife doesn't want to leave eyesight to go around to the down.

A rowdy group of teens walks by, sees what's going on, immediately stops being rowdy and helps our girl go up the escalator.

The teens are alright." Helagoth

basketball booth at a carnival

Carnival basketball is a losing game, but not for man who shared his prizes.

Photo by Documerica on Unsplash

It's amazing how a simple kindness shown to a child can make a lasting impact.

"When I was maybe 6 or 7 I was trying to win a mini basketball at cedar point at one of the basketball carnival scam games. I obviously failed and then this guy next to me was like “great shot kid, you deserve this” and gave me a mini charlotte hornets ball he had just won. He had a bag of them he had won and was going around giving them to the kids that were playing and failing. I’m 39 now and never forgot this. And because of that one random day I have always made an effort to gift any random prize to a kid so maybe he’ll do the same for someone else. The only thing I’m any good at is claw machines so I’ll hand off my prize to anyone that’s trying and failing or anyone that stops to watch me try. But random carnival basketball savant changed my life for the better just a little bit." – TheMayb

And it's even better when you're single parent struggling to make ends meet.

"When I was a single mom going through my divorce, I saved up enough to bring my 4yo to an amusement park. At the light show my kiddo asked for a cotton candy I couldn't afford.

An older couple was sitting behind us, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked if they could get my daughter the cotton candy.

I turned to thank them again after the show and they were gone.

25 years I've never forgotten that."A-typ-self

And it's even more heartwarming when it's kindness from one kid to another. Those kindnesses stick with us forever.

"When I was a kid, I remember going to this girl scout event that had a bunch of different stations with activities and crafts and all that jazz, and we each got a balloon to take home too. We didn't have a helium thing at home, so we never had balloons so getting a balloon to take home was the shit. (Remember when Applebee's used to give a balloon to every kid to take home? Them were the days.) Anyways, my mom came to pick me up, and as we were walking across the parking lot to the car the balloon string somehow slipped through my fingers, and my precious balloon was lost to the sky. I was devastated. I'm pretty sure I even cried. And then this little girl who was also leaving with her mom walked over and gave me her balloon. I'll never forget that.

Such a small act of kindness, and from another child. We have such power to brighten a stranger's day, and it truly takes very little effort from us to do that. We should all strive to be just a little bit kinder to each other. It could make such a difference."k_shon

someone holding housekeys

Sometimes the key to kindness is an actual key.

Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

Kindness doesn't always look like doing something for someone, but simply opening your home to them.

"My coworker's mom let me stay at her house overnight on the weekends between my work shifts as I used to live an hour away from my workplace (my old job did me dirty on the schedule change). I used to go to her house at midnight and leave at 4 AM the next morning, and she never charged me. I had my own room and key to come in and out without disturbing her and her husband.

Before, I was bouncing around sleeping at Airbnbs, motels, and even my workplace for several months, whatever I could afford. I couldn't leave my job because I was under a two-year contract. My coworker's mom let me stay at her house for 8 months, but I only met/saw her once when she gave me the key to her house during that whole time before I finally broke my contract.

I will never forget her kindness to literally let a stranger into her home." – 8-bit-butterfly

Sometimes just having a stranger notice when we seem to be struggling is enough to touch our hearts.

"I was having a bad day and was trying not to cry in public but sometimes it's hard not to when I get amped to a certain point. I was just coming home from integration course and was having a hard time dealing with estrangement from my family and adjusting to life in Germany at the same time. Unfortunately the sniffles started coming out and another young woman stopped and asked if I was okay. I really appreciated her kindness even though it was embarrassing. I eventually got home and ugly cried." karmamarmafarma

And it's just as touching even if we're not actually struggling emotionally.

"Was going towards the bus stop at like 6am on a freezing winter morning, it was dark, the wind was biting into my cheeks. I'm super sensitive, so immediately I started sniffling, trying to keep my nose from running, but my eyes went straight into water mode. Usual for me, just put headphones on and thanked the inventor of waterproof mascara.

A young woman walking the opposite direction saw me, and in a split second was next to me, hand on my arm, asking if I am alright.

I still think about her to this day and I hope she is doing well. The pure concern and care of a stranger really moved me, and I am thankful for pure beautiful people like her." – TaoKitt

And it's extra touching when kindness comes someone who's been there and knows exactly what you need in the moment.

"The day my wife died, I left the hospital to go home to meet our families. On the way I realised that after 20 days going in and out of of the Icu my presses were bare of food and such. I pulled into the local supermarket to pick up some essentials. I remember walking into the store and completely blanking Just standing in the aisle. It was as if the adrenaline or something just vanished.

Suddenly a elderly lady hooked my arm whispered in my ear, 'I know that look, let's just get you some essentials.' Picking up milk tea etc. Paying for it, walking me back to my car where she hugged me telling me that she was sorry for my loss. I never got to thank her and for months I went to the store on the same day at the same time hoping to see and thank her. Nine years later every so often I go to the store at the same time looking for her. I can never forget her kindness."ben0368

As another commenter put it, we never seem to hear enough about the good people of the world. If that seems true and if you enjoy collections like these, Upworthy's book "GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity" is full of them. It's coming out in September and is available for pre-order now here.

via Pexels

Work at it every single day folks.

The best advice isn’t always obvious, or else we would have thought of it ourselves. It often comes out of left field and can be counterintuitive. When it comes to marriage, the best advice tends to be centered around keeping a focus on the long game.

One of the best pieces of marriage advice I ever received was, “Buy her a bottle of shampoo from time to time without her asking.” Now, that doesn’t mean to get shampoo specifically, but just pick up something here and there to show you care and are thinking about her.

Marriage, if done right, is forever, so that often means taking a loss in the short-term to enjoy the long-term benefits of a happy life with someone. This is great as a concept but in practice can be pretty darn hard, day in and day out.

Hence why about 50% of American marriages end in divorce.

Reddit user thecountnotthesaint put out a call to the AskMen forum for some of the best marriage advice that “sounded absurd” but was actually helpful.

The question was inspired by some advice the Reddit user had received from their father, who claimed that a king-sized bed is the key to a happy marriage. "I'll be damned if that wasn't one of the best decisions we made aside from getting married and having kids," they wrote.

A lot of the advice was about being careful not to escalate small disagreements into larger arguments that could turn personal and ugly. A lot of people think that to have a successful marriage means being able to compromise and to let things go quickly.

Here are some of the best responses to the question, “What random marriage advice sounded absurd but was actually spot on helpful?”


"Dad said 'Be kind even if you’re not feeling it. Maybe especially if you’re not feeling it.'” — semantician


"At my wedding, my wife's Grandmother offered so funny, weird, solid advice. She said, 'If you get angry with each other, go to bed naked and see if you can resolve it before you go to sleep.' So far, so good. Anniversary on Monday!" — drizzyjdracco


"The advice I’ve given people is this: if you can go grocery shopping with your person and have the best time ever, you have yourself a keeper. It’s all about making the best of the mundane things, because after years of being together, life becomes predictable. You’ll need to keep the spice going, regardless of what you’re doing. Source: married 15 years." — LemonFizzy0000


"My grandfather told me 'Never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.' What I learned is that he would always help my grandma and that is when they did their most talking." — t480


"When our kid was about to be born, someone told me to change the first diaper. If you can handle the first one, the others will be easy.' So I did. I didn't know what I was doing, so I asked the nurse at the hospital to teach me, and I changed the first several few diapers while my wife recovered from a difficult labor. The advice was correct, no other diaper was as disgusting as the first one. It got very easy and I never minded doing it, and my wife was really really grateful. And I loved that I could take on some of the parenting chores, since there was so much that she was the only one... equipped to provide." — wordserious


"Focus on tackling the problem, not each other." — bobbobbobbobbob123


"Don’t have too high of expectations. My dad told us that, but we found most of our early fights were when one or the other had unspoken expectations of the other or marriage. It is positively life changing to be married, and an amazing experience, but still life goes on."— nopants_ranchdance


"Marry him for who he is. Not his potential." — There-is-No-beyond


"My stepmom just passed away, and dad said something that has profoundly changed my attitude: 'The little things that annoyed me are the things I now miss.' So, like, yea for some reason she squeezes a massive glob of toothpaste which mostly falls into the sink basin and she doesn't wash away the toothpaste spit. If/when she's gone, that little constant annoyance that reminds me she's there will be gone too. Don't nag on the little things, rather, embrace them. (still, let her know she has made progress on other things I've pointed out, as I try to adapt to her wishes)." — drewkungfu


"Say thank you for day to day things, even taking out the trash, sweeping the floor, or folding laundry. Audibly hearing thank you reinforces the feeling of being appreciated." — BVolatte


"Randomly give your partner a cold beverage on a hot day. It's the little things that show you care." — Purple12Inchruler


"You don't just marry her, you marry her whole damn family."
— crazypersn


"One of my colonels told me: 'Just buy two damn pizzas, instead of arguing over the toppings.'"— MgoBlue702


"Be honest. Don't lie to your partner." — Mikeydeeluxe


"Don’t marry a woman whose dad calls her 'princess,' because she probably believes it. Much to his regret, my brother ignored this advice from our dad." — Toadie9622


"My fiance always says that 'just because' flowers are the best kind of flowers." — agaribay1010


"My Gramps who was married for over 50 yrs said: 'tell her you love her every single day.' Kind of obvious, but I definitely took it to heart." — sorellk


"Love isn’t about having 'nice feelings for each other.' It’s about acting for the betterment of someone else, even if you don’t feel like it. Emotions will change. Your willingness to treat your spouse a certain way doesn’t have to." — sirplaind


"Bill Maher said "The three most important words in a relationship aren't 'I love you', they're 'let it go.' Oddly, this has proven to be some of the best relationship advice I've ever heard."
— KrssCom

This article originally appeared on 05.30.22

15 things Europeans really like about America.

Even though European countries and America are roughly on the same level regarding development, there are still some stark differences in their ways of life. Americans may look to Europe and feel a bit jealous over their free healthcare systems and more laid-back approach to their professional lives.

But Europeans who visit America are also in awe of some of the everyday things that Americans take for granted, which seem to be luxuries.

A Reddit user named Prof_XdR asked Europeans on the AskReddit subforum to share the everyday American things that they believe are luxuries, and the question received nearly 13,000 responses.

Clearly, Europeans admire many things about the American way of life.

Here are 15 of the best responses to the question: “Europeans of Reddit, what do Americans have every day that you see as a luxury?”

1. Disability access

"Disability access everywhere. I can go to any place -- theater, store, office, school, whatever -- with confidence that I'll be able to navigate fine in my wheelchair. They'll have ramps and/or elevators." — 5AgainstRhoneIsland

"Of all the things in this thread, the disability access is it IMO. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was an absolute game changer, and European countries and the EU as a whole should be embarrassed for not having something like it." — Jedrekk

2. Climate changes

"You can pretty much choose to live in any climate you like when you live in the USA and still be in the same country. You like 4 seasons: Move to the Northeast. You like the humid ocean climate - move to Seattle. You like dry warm weather - move to Los Angeles. You like deserts, move to Arizona. You like warm and humid weather - move to the Southeast." — DachauPrince

"I work as an ecologist and the amount of biodiversity in California is insane. I'll do biological surveys a few hundred miles apart and see so many different plants and animals at each site. I've even done work at sites fairly close to each other (sub 50 miles apart) and will still find stark differences between sites. It's a magic state for wildlife biologists." — Skinsnax

3. Big kitchens

"Big kitchens and big refrigerators/ freezers. Even in my student apartment, we had a pretty good-sized kitchen. I was dating a Czech girl and her parents came to visit. When they went to my apartment for dinner, the mom was just amazed at the size of my fridge. They were amused when I dumped the scraps in the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. They’d heard about it but had never seen one." — Granadafan

4. Square footage

"The massive houses, a special room just for your massive washer and dryer units, 2 car garage, basically you have tons of space." — Howiebledsoe

"The size of your homes in places like Utah and Texas. There's a dedicated room for everything. Kids playroom that isn't the living room or the kid's bedroom, walk-in pantry room, a laundry room." — mcnunu

5. Free refills

"As an American, it's so easy to take this for granted. Similarly, getting free ice water in the US as well is something I often forget isn't exactly a thing in many other parts of the world." — Gaveuptheghost

6. National parks

"There’s just human development on virtually every inch of large parts of Europe. So even when there are parks, they’re not always as untouched as American parks. And the population density in large parts of Europe means you see a lot more people in the parks. America has national parks that are so untouched and massive that you can really be alone if you want to be." — CactusBoyScout

7. A/C

"Americans pump it all summer long." — Websurfer49

8. Two peaceful neighbors (Mexico and Canada)

"Remember, the world's longest undefended border is between Canada and the United States. That says something about our relationship." — Dervishler

"We Europeans both love and hate each other in ways that Americans will never understand. But basically, not being French should be enough." — TitanFox98

10. Big schools

"My high school just had a pool, 3 gyms, an agricultural barn with stalls for students to keep the animals they were raising to show at the rodeo, a few labs, a theater, a full-size kitchen that was used for the culinary classes to share (not the cafeteria), 3 tennis courts, 2 soccer fields that were also used for football practice, and a football stadium with a Jumbotron. At the end of the year, the culinary classes would cook breakfast for the graduating class." — Elephantepiphany

11. Free bathrooms

"As an American who lived in Europe with little kids, this was frustrating. My wife found an app of free public restrooms in Europe." — QuotidianPain

12. Mexican food

"Real Mexican food. We have Mexican restaurants in my home country, but the owners are usually not Mexican and it’s just not the same. Now, I’m living in Japan and it’s the same problem… Mexican food is so delicious." — punpun_Osa

13. Supermarkets

"Enormous supermarkets with abundant choice. I always feel like I'm in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory when I enter one. There's so much stuff!" — Better protection

14. Big showers

"This stands out - I have two really great friends (an expat woman and her husband) that live in the UK, and when I went to stay at their first place together, their shower was like a 2-foot-wide plastic shield outside of the bathtub. I had to stay so close to the wall, so I didn't spray water all over the bathroom." — IGNSolar7

15. Money

"There’s a huge gap between the volume of physical/material stuff Americans count as normal and what Europeans consider normal. An American home might have three TVs versus one, six or seven rooms full of furniture instead of two or three, extra small appliances added all the time like air fryers and espresso machines, new PCs and phones every couple of years because of constant upgrade marketing … the American perception that there’s not enough money is partly down to the giant volume of things Americans regard as minimum equipment." — AnotherPint

"In effect, when you account for wages and cost of living, luxuries (which usually have similar prices around the world) are proportionally cheaper for Americans. They make up less of their wage and, therefore, make less of a difference. Standard of living is completely different for a working-class American because they can afford luxuries people from working class in other countries can't." — ltlyellowcould

This article originally appeared on 1.24.24

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.

Here are 18 of the best answers.

1. They draw wisdom from multiple sources.

"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer

2. They know their audience.

"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99

3. They develop a keen sense for their job.

"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon

4. Curiosity.

"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461

5. They're great at conveying ideas.

"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi

6. Considerate questions.

"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73

7. They make hard ideas simple.

"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator

8. They know what they don't know.

"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy

9. They ask great questions.

"They can ask really good questions."

"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran

10. They don't pretend to know everything.

"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx

11. They change their minds with new information.

"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure

12. They pivot well.

"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch

13. They are open-minded.

"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29

14. They use analogies.

"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488

15. They don't argue.

"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun

16. They learn from mistakes.

"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979

17. A sense of humor.

"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967

18. A love of learning.

"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough

This article originally appeared on 12.04.21