These generous deeds, done anonymously by neighbors and strangers, are so inspiring!
We all know the commandment “Love thy neighbor.” It’s one that almost everyone learns in grade school. And it’s easy enough to understand as a general concept, of course, in the sense that we should be good to one another and treat non-family members with love and care. But what does the commandment really mean on an everyday, local scale? Should I offer a hug to my neighbor every morning the same way I do for my kids before they head off to school? I don’t think so. But there are practical, subtle ways to be kind. We just have to look for the right opportunities.
Luckily, there are people in the world already leading by example. Sure, you’ve read the local news stories about people who pay for the coffee order of another customer, but that’s just one glimpse of the many anonymous tales of kindness that unfold each day that should be celebrated. So here are a few more inspiring stories, all with humble acts of love and kindness, that you haven’t heard …
The reverse birthday gift
“I was going to be alone on my birthday, so I gathered some $10 bills, headed downtown with intentions of spreading cash to homeless folks. It was rainy so I didn’t have much luck. Disappointed, I started back toward my car, and a young woman was at the bus stop, crying. She was on the phone with someone telling them she didn’t know how she was going to get groceries for her family. I reached in my pocket and handed her the whole wad of cash. My blessing was seeing her face light up with relief and joy. I walked away knowing that I helped someone at the right time, and the right place, just like I had been helped in similar fashion many years ago.” – Angie Nuttle
“While I was busking at the Times Square subway station, a blind man joined a group of passersby gathered around me. The blind man’s face lit up to the sound of my music. A lady from the crowd, unrelated to the blind man, saw his joy. She came over to me, bought one of my CDs, put the CD in the blind man’s hand, and said, ‘This is the music you are hearing now. This is for you.’ To think that in a small way, my music was the impetus for such an amazing, selfless, beautiful act of kindness between two strangers — priceless!” – Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz
A good deed for a good deed
“Years ago, during my second two-year layoff (as a single mom), I stood before my Bible study group and asked for help for another single mother who suffered debilitating chronic pain from MS and financial difficulties. I asked if anyone could make a donation to help her out, from which I’m happy to say a lot of money was raised. Much to my surprise, the following week I received a check in the mail for $1,500 from a couple I had never met, with a note saying they were moved by my advocating for this woman’s needs, despite my own hardships. Little did they know just how much I needed that money.” – Mary Kaarto
Thankful for bankers
“I was a single mother for several years on a very tight budget. Because I don’t drive, I would load my little darlings into a red wagon and walk the mile to and from the grocery store, with the groceries sharing wagon space with my kids on our return home. On one such day, I walked into my yard to find a box full of groceries and essentials (laundry soap, dish soap, etc.). I asked my friends, all of whom shrugged and shook their heads. Years later I found out it was a teller at the bank between my house and the grocery store. She provided a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and a couple of weeks worth of meals, never asking for a ‘thank you’ or for credit. She was a humble giver, one for whom I will always be grateful.” – Debora Dyess
“The store I shop at has a sloped parking lot with an inconvenient cart rack, as well as an older population of clientele. I try to pause when I am in the lot before I go into the store and help someone by returning their cart to the rack. Or as I return my cart, I look to see if someone needs help. In this season of life with no kids at home, I literally have free hands to be helpful to others. So I try to be aware of those around me rather than just rushing through my errand. I try to remember that in 20 years I might be the one needing help!” – Carla Foote
Lunch for two
“Just last month, while driving to St. Louis, I passed a panhandler on my way to eat lunch at a Panera. So I purchased two of the lunch I was ordering — a grilled cheese, apple, chips, cookie, and a water — and stopped on my way back home to give it to him. Before I even turned the corner, I saw that he had taken the lunch I’d offered, and was sitting under a tree eating it. He was clearly in need of a good meal. The experience made me feel like I had done a work of mercy.” – Leah Gleason
“When my husband and I went out for dinner, I was chatting with an older man. He was in town to visit his elderly mother. She was in a nursing home. He said he worried about her as he lives out of state. I really felt God pressing on my heart that I should offer to help if he ever needed it. Then the practical side of me said not to do that, it was probably not my business. Then the God-side won out. So I handed him a piece of paper with my phone number on it. I told him if he ever needed anyone to drive over and check on his mom I would do it. He started to cry. I didn’t feel like it was such a big deal, but it was a huge thing to him. And I’m so glad I listened to God’s prompting that day.” – Jamie Janosz
“One of my coworkers was broke, and talking about how he had no food in the house. So, having overheard, I used my lunch break to run out and get a couple of bags of groceries, then put it in his car. I never admitted it was me who did it, but it felt great. I’d been in a similar situation myself so I wanted to help. Today, I still have an open-door policy on my pantry for friends.” – Bonnie Muehleman
10 Simple acts of mercy to slip into your everyday life