Recently, Reddit user naturalenergybyproxy asked, "What is the nicest thing a stranger has done for you?" and nearly 9,000 people responded with inspiring tales of kindness. We decided to ask the same question, and Latter-day Saints had plenty of uplifting experiences to share. Here are some of our favorite responses out of the nearly 200 we received.
Editor's note: Some of the following responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Rachel Wilson: When my son was in high school, he went to a church dance. He saw girl who was sitting on the side not dancing and decided to ask her to dance and to make sure that she had a good time that entire evening. Apparently she never forgot that. Many years later when he was in the Air Force serving after 9/11, he was shot in the head. It was only by a miracle that he survived, but he did. We brought him home, and somehow with her living several states away she found out about his injury and that we were having trouble getting handicap upgrades that were needed to our home. She and her husband, who had served as a marine, took off time from their work, drove all the way to our hometown, made arrangements with a local business to donate all the materials, [and found] people to help with labor. She got a nice hotel in town to donate rooms for all of us and her family as well to stay in while the remodel was being done, and she even got restaurants to donate food for the workers. Her family spent a week remodeling our home to help with our son's needs. The week ended with a huge Fourth of July celebration that they hosted for us and all the workers, at which they honored my son's service to his country. Just goes to show that you should be kind to every person you meet because you never know when or where or how that kindness may come back to bless your life in ways you could never dream of.
Vincent Papequash: When I was 12, my mother got cancer, and the chemotherapy made her too ill to cook food. Our Muslim neighbors heard about it, and their mother started cooking meals for my sister and me. Sometimes we went over for dinner, and other times, when we were just too sad to be out in public, they let us bring some home. It was so kind!
Rebecca Powell: When my husband and I were married just a few years and had two small children, I happened to admire a fun singing and light-up snowman set at Hallmark. It cost $55, which was far more than I could afford. While I finished shopping, a kind lady bought it for me without telling me and left it at the front. As I was checking out, the cashier started bagging it up. I [told her] it wasn’t mine. The cashier, almost in tears, said, “A lady bought it for you and said merry Christmas!” I started crying. While this was small and pretty insignificant to some, it meant so much to me. I still set it up every Christmas, and it’s been more than 10 years.
Jasmine Cannon: We were at the zoo when a rainstorm came and soaked my feet. It was sunny again soon, so we were sitting on a bench and I was trying to let my socks air dry. A stranger came up to me and handed me a pair of socks and was gone as soon as she came. It was so nice, and so random, but I was very grateful I didn’t have to have wet feet. I still have and use those socks!
Laurie Baker: I had a friend who attempted suicide last August. Somehow I got put in charge of her life and her affairs. In mid-December I was in Walmart having an absolute meltdown on the phone over making decisions for her life. A woman stopped her cart, put her arms around me, and said, "You look like you could use a hug." We sat down on the floor, hugged each other, and cried together. It seems like the world stopped for just a little bit. I will always be grateful for that woman who wrapped her arms around me.
Courtney Hahne Groneman: The man sitting next to my two sleeping children asked if I needed any help getting off the plane. This kind gentleman carried my sleeping child through the airport from the farthest gate to the baggage claim while I carried my younger and much smaller child. It was no small task, and I will be forever grateful!
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Lisa Christensen Jackson: One night my husband and I were on a date, and our van broke down. A complete stranger started the van with a battery cable, but it was still slow and barely working. It was wintertime and bitter cold. He followed us home (about 30 miles), helping us recharge it about every 7 miles. This man lived about 60 miles in the opposite direction and had to drive all the way home. He was incredible.
Christine Madeux: I was living in Germany (18 years old) and still very new to the country. The train broke down one day, so I had to take a bus and the subway using an unfamiliar route. A woman saw my distress, so she rode the bus with me and made sure I got on the right subway train.
Rachel Poulsen: I was having a really difficult day and had just finished an exam. I flopped down on a bench and closed my eyes for only about a minute and a half. When I opened my eyes, there was a giant, delicious chocolate muffin next to me with a note that said, "A nap is always a good idea." It made my week, and I kept that note on my desk the rest of the semester to remind myself that there are people out there who care.
KaRyn Lay: I was trying to finish a graduate degree at the same time that I was working a full-time job that required a crazy amount of travel almost every week. I finally finished and successfully defended my thesis, but I still needed a bunch of signatures from my thesis committee in order to actually graduate. When I realized that I wouldn’t be able to collect the right signatures by the deadline for submission for graduation because of a work trip, I was more distraught and stressed than I’d ever been. My neighbor happened to be walking by my house just as I was heading to the airport, so we stopped to chat about what was new and I poured out my heart to her. She thought for a minute and then said, “I’ll ask my mom to do it. She loves to help!” This friend’s mother, whom I had only met once in passing, drove an hour to the university and hunted down each one of those professors in their various office buildings to get the signatures that I needed. She then helped me to submit the form to the graduation office and did it all without asking for anything in return. In fact, when I finally saw her to thank her for helping me to graduate, she brushed it off as though it were nothing. It was far from nothing for me. At a time when I felt completely and utterly alone and wasted, she embodied the Savior that we worship by filling in the gaps and going that extra mile.
Sheila Howe: A one-eyed motorcycle rider stopped in the dark in a scary part of town and changed the tire on my minivan. It taught me not to judge.
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jennam311: I was on a girls trip in NYC and left my wallet at a popular diner. I didn't realize it until they were closing, so they didn't answer the phone. Thankfully, a waiter found it and noticed my temple recommend inside. He gave it to another waiter who was a Church member. That waiter looked at it and called a person he knew that lived in my stake. They looked up my phone number in the stake directory, and he called me to say he had my wallet. On top of that, he took a cab to me and wouldn't let me pay him for it! I'm sure it was a sacrifice for him, but I was and am so grateful!
sdsanchez12: I loved my job as a high school teacher, but I had to retire due to Parkinson's disease. A mystery class gave me treats and uplifting messages all over my classroom. It was just what I needed to finish out the year!
tinampj: We moved 3,000 miles across the US when my third child was just three weeks old. While making the drive, my husband and I became ill somewhere in Nebraska. The next day (New Year's Eve), my husband put me and the baby on a plane. We landed in Washington DC with no place to stay, and all the hotels were booked. A woman who sat next to me on the plane took me in. She and her husband cared for my baby while I slept. They fed us and cared for us for 48 hours until my husband arrived to pick us up. I am forever indebted to this nonmember family in Maryland.