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Boy cleaning an old woman's yard | Source: Midjourney
Boy cleaning an old woman's yard | Source: Midjourney

5 Stories of How Selflessly Helping Strangers Changed People’s Lives Forever

Roshanak Hannani
Jun 10, 2024
05:09 A.M.

In a world where we often pass by strangers without a second glance, these five stories reveal the unbelievable power of simple acts of kindness.

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Most folks no longer take the time to help out strangers for several reasons, but the people below learned how rewarding it can be to help out with groceries, look out for a child, and even give away your last few cents.

1. Boy Paid for My Groceries One Day, and I Helped Save His Grandmother

I never thought my forgetfulness would lead me to change someone's life!

I was at the grocery store when I realized I lost my wallet. “Oh, geez. I’m so sorry. I’ll have to come back for these things later,” I told the cashier, who started putting the items back.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

But as I prepared to walk away, a young boy behind me spoke up.

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“Wait, ma’am. You don’t have many things anyway. I’ll pay for them,” he said. He couldn’t be older than 12, and he didn’t look well-off.

Oh, no. I couldn’t put you out like that,” I said.

“I insist, ma’am. Sometimes, we have to do good things, and karma will reward us later, right? That’s what my grandmother says,” he replied, paying for my essentials.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Outside, I introduced myself. “Hey, I’m Mary. What’s your name?”

“I’m Mark.”

“Thank you so much, Mark. It saved me a trip to the store. How about you give me your phone number, so I can pay you back?” I suggested, and he wrote down his number on the receipt.

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Later, I told my daughter, Anastacia, about the kind boy, and she said I had to pay him back. The next day, when my friend John returned my wallet after finding it in his car, she and I visited Mark to do exactly that!

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Mark’s house was small and old but clean. He answered the door.

“Hello, Mrs. Cummings,” he said.

“Hey, Mark! This is my daughter, Anastacia. Here’s your money. Again, thank you so much,” I said.

“Thank you. You didn’t have to hurry,” Mark replied. “Listen, I would invite you in, but my grandma would be mad.”

“Oh, where is she?” Anastacia asked. “Maybe, we can come back later to meet her.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“She’s at the hospital and needs a huge surgery. I started a GoFundMe, but it’s not that popular,” Mark explained.

“Oh, sweetie. You shouldn’t have to do that on your own,” Anastacia said.

“We don’t have anyone else. It’s only us,” Mark shrugged.

“Give me the GoFundMe link and your grandma’s name. Come with us to the bakery for pecan pie. We’ll visit her and see if the doctor lets her eat some,” I offered.

After buying the pies, we went to the hospital to meet Mark’s grandmother, Mrs. Strada, a lovely woman.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Anastacia shared the GoFundMe link with everyone she knew and posted the story online. At first, there were only a few donations, but soon thousands of people donated.

A news outlet picked up the story and interviewed us. The GoFundMe project reached beyond its goal, and Mark couldn’t believe it.

He had only paid around $20 for what I needed at the store, and we found a way to pay it back and more.

2. My Whole Neighborhood Thanked Me for Cleaning an Old Lady’s Yard!

Hi, there! I did something OCD the other day and changed my entire neighborhood! There was one yard in our neighborhood that always gave me anxiety. I'm a teenager, but for as long as I can remember, I never tolerated clutter.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

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This yard, which belonged to an elderly woman, was very neglected. She hadn’t been outside for a long time, as far as I knew.

When spring came and the snow melted, the yard became filthy, ruining the look of our neighborhood.

I met up with my friends daily to walk to the park and play basketball, but one day, I couldn’t stand seeing that messy yard anymore.

“You guys go ahead. I really can't stand seeing this yard dirty,” I told them. They laughed and asked if I was serious. But I was. I couldn’t take it anymore.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

So, while my friends went to the park, I went home and got my tools: a rake, a shovel, and other gardening stuff. It took me the entire afternoon to clear the yard.

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I scraped the melting snow, swept the leaves, and trimmed the bushes.

When I finished, I hesitated to ring the doorbell. I knew the old lady, Abigail, lived there alone, with a caregiver visiting her every other day. I didn’t want to intrude.

The next morning, I woke up to a noise at my window. Looking out, I saw all my neighbors gathered at my house. I immediately thought I had done something wrong. Gathering all my courage, I went out to face them.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

To my surprise, they were all smiling. Abigail was there, too, in her wheelchair. She reached out and touched my hand. “Thank you for helping me clean my yard. You are heaven-sent!” she said.

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Other neighbors chimed in, thanking me, too. “You helped Abigail out when none of us did. Thank you for reminding us to be mindful of what other people are going through,” one of them said.

They handed me pastries, fruits, and a huge pie as gifts.

Ever since that day, our street always remained clean and the yards well-groomed. The neighbors declared every Sunday afternoon "neighbor day," when we would gather on the road and help each other out.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I had no idea how things would turn out when I decided to clean that yard. But now, I’m glad I did.

3. Giving 20 Cents to a Homeless Man Led to a $740K Villa for My Granny!

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I'm here to tell you that giving back really pays forward! My father and I used to play baseball in the park every Saturday. On our way home, we always gave money to a beggar named Wayne, who knew my dad.

“One day, I’ll pay you back, Mr. Landry, every cent!” Wayne would say.

My dad would smile and reply, “I’m counting on it!”

One Saturday, I asked my dad how Wayne knew him.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

“Jimmy, I knew Wayne in college. He was always on the brink of a big discovery, but things didn’t go well for him. So, I give him what I can. He tells me it’s for lab supplies. I know it’s not true, but I pretend. And when he says he’ll share his profits, I say I believe him.”

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That story really made me think hard about life for the first time.

Later that night, my dad had a heart attack during his evening run and passed away. Since my mom had died when I was born, I was left with my grandmother, Wendy.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Dad’s software company failed after his death, and we lost everything, including our house. My grandma managed to find us a trailer she could pay for with her pension and started working at a laundromat.

But her health began to decline, and I was very worried.

One day, Gran Wendy tried to cheer me up. “Let’s go to the park this Saturday,” she said. So, we went to the park and then to the ice cream parlor. On our way out, I saw Wayne.

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“Wait, Gran Wendy!” I cried. “There’s something I have to do!” I walked up to Wayne and turned my pockets inside out, finding only twenty cents.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

“I’m sorry, Wayne, but I only have twenty cents!” I said with tears in my eyes.

“Hey there,” Wayne said. “That’s okay! Every cent helps! How’s your dad? I haven’t seen him around.”

I started to sob, and Gran Wendy came running. “He’s dead,” I cried. “And we’re poor, and I’m afraid Gran Wendy will die too, and I’ll be all alone!”

Wayne looked shocked. “Listen, when my patent registration comes through, I’m going to be rich. I promised John he’d get a big chunk of my cash. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re all right!”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I nodded, while Gran Wendy smiled and gave Wayne our address, but neither of us believed him.

A year later, a limousine pulled up in front of our trailer. Wayne got out and handed Gran Wendy a check for $5 million. Then he drove us to a luxury villa by the sea, which he bought for $740,000.

I promised John he’d get his money back,” Wayne said. “A company bought my patent for more money than I can ever spend, so I’m keeping my promise!”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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With the money and the new house, Gran Wendy’s health improved, and I stopped being so anxious. Meanwhile, Wayne often visited to play baseball and shoot hoops with me.

So, my father’s kind heart and Wayne’s promise changed our lives forever.

4. Girl Waited for Her Mother at the Park for Days

I never imagined I would gain a family from my job! Here's my story: As the custodian of a lovely old park, I spent my days ensuring it was a little corner of heaven. I loved my job.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

But one afternoon, I saw a little girl, no more than five, sitting quietly at a picnic table, coloring. She was alone, so I approached and greeted her.

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"Hello there, little miss. What are you doing out here all on your own?"

"You're a stranger, and I'm not supposed to talk to strangers," she replied.

"No, you are not," I agreed. "But where's your mom, and why are you alone?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"She had a job interview across the road and asked me to wait here," she said. "I'm waiting for her to come back."

"What's your name, little miss?" I asked.

"My name is Margaret, but my mom calls me Meg," she giggled.

"I'm Albert. I'll be keeping an eye on you, making sure the fairies don't pull your pigtails," I said, trying to make her laugh.

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However, evening arrived, and Meg continued to sit in the same spot, waiting for her mom, who never came. I couldn't leave her there.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

It was freezing at night, so I decided to take her to live with me for a while, hoping to find her mother later.

A month passed, and I almost lost hope of finding Meg's mother. All my attempts were fruitless.

But Meg never gave up and refused to do anything other than visit the park daily, waiting for her mother from dawn to dusk.

"How will mommy find me if I'm not there," she often argued. I couldn't say anything after that.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

One morning, as we left for the park, it started raining. "Sweetie, I'll take you to the park tomorrow. You'll catch a cold," I told Meg, but she was stubborn.

"No, we'll go and wait there. Mommy will come," she insisted, and I couldn't say no.

We took a bus to the park as we couldn't walk in the rain. This was a much longer route and passed several stations.

While crossing one such station, Meg started shouting, "There she is! There's mommy!"

Startled, I asked the driver to stop the bus. Meg tugged my arm and pointed to a billboard on the sidewalk. "There... That's my mommy!"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The words on the billboard read: "Do You Know Me? Please Call This Number," next to the name "Cadence."

I realized Meg's mother’s name was Cadence, not Candy. People were trying to find her family members!

"It's an advertisement for lost people," I explained. "It means we are going to find your mother!"

We ended up at a hospital and were told Meg's mother had already left. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury, causing amnesia, and had been discharged to a homeless shelter.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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We rushed to the shelter, where Meg ran to her mother. "MOMMY!!" she cried.

Cadence remembered Meg as soon as she saw her. I introduced myself and told her everything I could, and because of Cadence's faulty memory, they lived with me until she got better.

A few years later, she married Frank, a widower with two children, and they moved into a new house. Although I missed having them at my house, they visited me often and became my real family.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Helping Meg and finding her mother brought a new purpose and joy into my life. Every summer, we vacation together by the sea.

5. Helping an Old Lady with Groceries Led to a $265K Home for My Mom!

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In our small town in Oklahoma, people often went about their business without paying much attention to one another. This was the norm until, one day, I decided to change that!

While my friends played baseball after school, I spent time in the library. I loved reading in peace and learning about different morals from books.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

That week, I was reading "Good People Everywhere" by Lynea Gillen, which teaches children to be caring, kind, and grateful to everyone around them.

As I walked home from the library, I passed the local grocery store and saw an old lady struggling to carry her grocery bags.

The woman swayed from side to side as she walked. Several people walked past her, and while they noticed she was struggling, they didn't stop to help.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I decided to run up to her and take the bags from her hands. "Let me walk you home," I told the old lady.

The woman, Linda, was extremely grateful and on the brink of tears. "Oh, dear. You're heaven-sent. Thank you, sweet boy," she said.

I smiled at her, and we walked together as I carried the bags. After that, I returned to my home, an old trailer where I lived with my mother, who was proud of me for my selfless deed.

A few days later, we heard a knock on our door. On the doorstep stood a stranger who would change our lives forever…

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

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Meanwhile, that evening, Linda was cooking dinner when she saw a poor, homeless man outside her window. She remembered the young boy who had helped her and decided to offer the man some dinner.

The man, James, was so grateful. "Thank you, ma'am. I haven't eaten in days," he said, and the chain reaction continued.

The next day, James was eating breakfast outside when he saw a man in a business suit drop his wallet. James picked it up and was surprised to see it filled with hundred-dollar bills.

He thought about keeping it but remembered Linda’s kindness. He ran after the man and returned the wallet.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The man, Richard, was grateful and gave James some money. "Thank you for being honest. May you be blessed," Richard said.

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A few days later, Richard, who owned a construction company, saw me and my mom living in a small trailer.

He overheard me telling my mom that I went to the library every day to read because I couldn't borrow books to keep in the trailer since it was so tiny.

Richard was the stranger on our doorstep. He introduced himself and learned about our situation. Later, he started visiting us and getting to know us. I think he liked us.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Days later, Richard told us to move out of the trailer. My mom was upset, thinking he wanted to take our home.

Instead, he took us to a big house and handed my mom a key. "This is yours," he said.

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Richard explained that he developed houses for a living but couldn't sell this particular house, worth $265k, because it was his mother's. He wanted to save it for something special.

My mom and I cried with gratitude, but we couldn’t understand why we were suddenly blessed with such a gift.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

We had no idea until much later that all of this started with a simple good deed. Every act of kindness makes a difference and can inspire people to pay it forward!

But wait! If you enjoyed reading these, you might also like these stories of seven wedding guests who completely ruined the big day!

We're curious: What do you think about these stories? Tell us in the comments!

And if you have a crazy story to share, too, we’d love to hear it! Send it to info@amomama.com.

Note: These pieces are inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only.

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