Nothing is kinder than picking someone up when they’re down and out.
These stories of incredible acts of kindness just when problems seemed impossible to surmount will inspire you this holiday season.
The best part is: They came from YOU. When TODAY put out the call for the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for you, this is how you responded.
It’s all part of #ShareKindness, TODAY and NBC Universal’s celebration of acts big and small. Share your own tales on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #ShareKindness. Together, let’s fill the feeds with just this sort of positivity to close out 2016 on a super kind note.
“Someone paid our bill”
Two years ago on Christmas Eve, my mom, sister, and I were at a local diner after my dad was admitted to the hospital and someone paid our bill. We have no idea who or why (maybe they heard us talking about the many times dad had been in the hospital that year or maybe it was just "the season"). I often participate in acts of kindness but never fully understood how it can change someone's day like ours was that day. -Krystal Johnson
“I will never forget her kindness”
I was grocery shopping with my older son who was 2 or 3 at the time, and on the autism spectrum, though we didn't know it at the time. He had a speech delay, so couldn't put into words what he wanted. He started to cry because I wouldn't let him get something as we stood in line to check out. And older lady in front of us yelled, "Be quiet!" to my son. I probably should have taken him out, but my items were on the conveyor belt to check out and I needed the items. I checked out finally, put my son in his carseat, shut the door, and stood outside and cried. A lady came over to me and said, "I can't offer any advice, but I can give you a hug," and she hugged me, then went on her way. I will never forget her kindness that day. -Margena Holmes
“Someone had my back”
My sister Mary showed up at my radiation treatments for cancer, without being asked. I'd show up daily, and there she'd be. Made me feel that I wasn't alone, and that someone had my back. -Meg Brandley-Falcone
“I am still paying forward”
When I was a young mom, nearly broke, an early freeze ruptured all my water lines. I couldn't afford a garage door to block the cold air and certainly couldn't re-plumb my half finished home. My neighbor brought a reclaimed carpet to close the opening and another friend patched dozens of leaks in the water lines until I could afford to buy new pipe. One man donated a used cut off valve. I am still paying forward their incredible kindness. -Darlene Young
“I was so touched”
I have a brain injury and I walk pretty awkwardly. I go to a gym and someone there that I barely knew told me I inspired him. I was so touched that I nearly cried. -Holly Michelle McCarthy
“I think we were both moved”
Once I was shopping for a new car seat for my son. As I was reading the specs on them, another lady was trying to wrangle 2 of them into her tiny cart. I offered to help her get up front to pay and then followed her to her car, feeling good that she didn't struggle all that way by herself. When we got there she thanked me more than once, we chatted as she put the seats and her child in the car, and she turned and said "I want you to have one of my seats. It's just an extra for my husbands car. I wanted two that match but the one he has now is fine and I feel impressed to give it to you.” I tried so hard to turn her down, but she insisted and I felt she was just trying to thank me for helping her, so I finally accepted. I'll never forget that. I think we were both moved. I just wish I hadn't been so flabbergasted that I let her leave without getting her name and number. I think we could have been good friends! -Kristy Kita Whitlatch
“It has inspired me to pass it on”
Yesterday we were at a "box store" trying to load a big bulky item to our flat cart. A man came through the front door, left his cart and came to help us. When we left the store much later, the same man met us and said he waited to help us get the box into our truck; and he did! People just don't do this anymore!!! It has inspired me to "PASS IT ON" in the very near future. -Nettie Olson
“I was a new mom so I had no extra money”
I believe several people have done very kind things for me but what stands out is an incident when I was a new mom. My son was maybe a month old. He had been up crying and crying. I took him to the minor emergency by where I live. We waited there for a good two and a half hours. They prescribed him some ear drops to relieve pain and help with an infection in his ear. After we left the minor emergency (it was already closed when I left), I went next door to Walgreens to fill the prescription. My son is still crying from the pain. I get to the pharmacy window and they tell me that my insurance would not cover the ear drops...that it would be $129 for them. I was a new mom so I had no extra money. They told me I could call the doctor and ask for something else but I told them they were already closed. I just stepped aside and started to call my mom to see if I could borrow the money from her. While I was on the phone, a lady came up to me with a bag and said, “here, I don't want him suffering.” She had paid for the ear drops. I asked for her address to pay her back. She just said, "don't worry about it, just trust in God and pay it forward.” -Vicky L Garza
“It doesn’t get much more thoughtful”
Almost ten years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer in December, and when I was in the hospital for days, my dear friends from work got into my house, dug out my Christmas decorations, put up a tree, and decorated my house inside and out for when I got home. They didn't find them all....but their thoughtfulness will NEVER be forgotten. They also arranged for dinners for my family when I arrived home. It doesn't get much more thoughtful than that! -Barb Williamson
“I just started to cry”
The day after my father passed away, I had just left the funeral home and was in the Starbucks drive thru and someone in the car in front of me paid for my coffee. As I got to the window to pay, they told me it was already paid for. I just started to cry. It was a very nice gesture and I'm sure that person had no idea what I had been thru in those last 24 hours. -Kara Davis Rillos
“It made me who I am today”
I graduated from vocational school in 1984 with a degree in electronics. I was hired at a local factory. I was the first woman to hold that position and there were a bunch of people who were NOT happy about it to say the least. Even though 1984 does not seem that long ago, it was eons ago for women's rights. My bosses at the time sent a memo around that told everyone that they were all getting together to get rid of me. Everyone was to write down negative things about me. One engineer that got the memo stood up for me and he told them that he would not join in and that I deserved a chance just like every one else in that job. It stopped the gang of opposition to women in skilled trades in its tracks. I went on to work in a "man's job" for 25 years until back problems sidelined my career. But I was able to raise a family and pave the way for more ladies in "skilled" jobs. But for the integrity of one man, I would not have been able to do this. I will never forget his act of kindness and it made me who I am today. -Johnnie King Billings
“Everyone stopped picking on me"
When I was in 3rd grade, I had to start wearing glasses. Kids started picking on me as soon as I walked in the door. I started crying and took them off. One little boy asked me why I wore them. I said cause I couldn't see the board or read books. He said it's pretty stupid not to wear them then and pretty stupid to pick on someone who needs something so they can see. Everyone stopped picking on me immediately. Classes started for the day and no one picked on me (except me; I knew I looked dorky. But I could see.) about them again. Stopped as soon as it started. -Robin Cochrane McCulloch
“Greatest thing anyone has ever done for me”
As a kid I had always wanted to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. My parents told me every year they would take me but unfortunately were unable to do so. Just a few years ago a friend of mine heard my unfulfilled childhood Christmas wish and decided to surprise me one year. She arranged for us to visit NYC to visit the MoMa. So we get to the city and start walking toward the museum. But she suggested that we stop by Radio City to see it decorated. When we get there she gets in this long line and tells me it's to get a tour inside. So we get in and I start getting curious as to what's going on. That's when she explains that she went and bought us tickets to see the show. Low and behold she got us first row seats! I think it's safe to say I teared up though out the whole show with the biggest child like smile on my face. Greatest thing anyone has done for me! -John Delaney
“We had nothing for Christmas"
I had recently started at a collection agency (those mean people who call when you haven't paid your medical bills). My husband wasn't employed. My kids were little, 1, 2 and 6. We had nothing for Christmas, barely enough for gas for the piece of junk minivan. When asked to participate in the gift exchange, I just couldn't. A few days before Christmas, I walked out to go home and found my back seat filled with garbage bags full of toys for all 3 kids!!! I cried!!! Those mean old bill collectors!!! Bless their hearts!!! -Kathy Collier
“Someone paid your bill”
My husband/I was down on our luck last winter & wasn't able to pay our full electric bill. We went in & talked to the electric company. We was making payments on it but it didn't seem to matter. At the end of paying it. Still owing 300$ plus dollars. We went in and ask if there was still anything they could do. The lady said you have 10 days to pay before we shut off. We went to the car very upset. Nothing they can do. The next thing I know the electric lady is running outside hollering at me. I stopped and she said I just wanted to let you know that your electric bill has been paid. I said what. She said someone heard you was having problems & when you left paid your bill. So you are at a 0 balance all this person ask is you pay it forward. I have paid it forward for the past year every chance I get. -Peggy Lynn McElwain
This story is part of our #ShareKindness series. Help us grow the good this holiday season by sharing this story and other stories of kindness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.