Oh God I can’t even tell this story and not cry.
I used to manage an LGBT bookstore, when bookstores were still a thing. One night, a caller says he thinks he might be gay and is considering self-harm. We were not a crisis center!
But as long as we’re talking, he’s safe, right?
So I talk to this guy and I answer questions, and I try to be encouraging and I’m maybe sounding a little frantic and I’m definitely ignoring the 4-5 customers in the store, and this angel of a woman puts her hand on my shoulder and asks for the phone.
“My turn,” she says.
And SHE, this 50-something lesbian talks to this stranger on the phone. And a LINE FORMS BEHIND HER. Every customer in that store knows that call, knows that feeling, and every person takes a turn talking to that man.
That story comforts me so much to this day.
TweetChizone / Via twitter.com
I fainted on the subway once and a kind, elderly Chinese woman who spoke no English waited with me, held my hand, and fed me grapes while we waited for the EMTs. When they finally came, she patted my hand three times and put my hand on her heart before leaving.
laurenarankin / Via twitter.com
I was 8 and at the park district pool and boys were making fun of me for being fat and as I started walking away crying this gorgeous college-age woman sprung to my defense and got them kicked out and then she had me come over to hang out with her gorgeous coed friends.
They were so sweet and patient with me. Who was like. Deeply anxious and needy and abused and unloved and all sorts of things. But they just shared their tab and trashy magazines and painted my nails blue and told me I was pretty and they liked my bathing suit.
madamradams / Via twitter.com
When I was married to my first husband, I had a year-old baby and it was Christmas, and I was flying Delta from Montgomery AL to Columbus OH. Ex was deployed in the UAE and I was tired and depressed and a mess. The flights got delayed due to snow, then cancelled.
We ended up sitting around the gate sharing sob stories. One guy was in the army and headed home post-deployment for Christmas to see his little girl. We got to chatting and he was very kind.
Then the announcements: a bunch of people got seats for the next flight, but not me.
My tired daughter was crying; I kept it together and was barely not crying with her. Then the airline rep called my name and gave me a ticket.
Army guy gave up his seat for me. I tried to insist he take it to see his family: “Any military husband would do the same for my wife.”
I was able to spend Christmas with my family. He didn’t.
I’m still choked up about this 15 years later.
twoscooters / Via twitter.com
Saved my life by breaking a window and pulling me out of a burning house when I was 7. Broke his wrist. Cut up both hands. Saved two children, my brother and I. I don’t know his name, just that he was a biker, and he dropped his bike in the street when he saw us in the window.
TheWhitneyBrown / Via twitter.com
When I was 9 on the bus to ballet, an older guy sat too close next to me & started whispering. I was freaked, but stuck. An elderly woman came over, sat down & said “Louise (not my name), how is your mom?” She stayed there chatting until my stop and walked me off the bus. Savior.
nycbubbles / Via twitter.com
I will forever think fondly of the unknown woman down the street from my mom’s house, who brought me cups of hot tea while I sat on the porch on a chilly February night while the coroner was in the house with my mom’s body–I couldn’t bear to go in.
washingtonkate / Via twitter.com
When I was 8 mos pregnant I slipped on some ice & fell, knocked out cold. When I came to, there was a crowd of strangers around me, all without coats (this was in Saskatchewan, Canada in December). Their coats, I realized, were all on top of me, except the one under my head.
krausesuzy / Via twitter.com
Getting off the Subway in Toronto, I stopped for a minute to stare at the big suicide prevention hotline poster. I have a long history of dealing with That Stuff, but was okay, just reflecting–but this elderly Somali man saw me staring…
He came up to me and with the GENTLEST VOICE IN THE WHOLE WORLD asked me if I was okay, if there was anything bothering me, and if there was anything that I wanted to talk about.
ourladyofcoffee / Via twitter.com
A stranger stopped me from jumping from an overpass over the autobahn when I had a stillborn. He listened. He let me cry as much as I needed. Than he told me that he doesn’t understand why bad things happen to some, but to keep hope that things will get better. He was right.
Shuff154Lea / Via twitter.com
I once sneezed while walking past a construction site, and then received a loud chorus of “bless you!”. It was awesome.
beamish_girl / Via twitter.com
I’ve told this story before but it remains the best: One time when I was living in San Francisco I had a panic attack downtown and a kindly hipster rescued me and escorted me home, concerned that I might get even more lost and freaked out.
The best part of the story, though, is that his friends kept saying he should just call the cops and he said something along the lines of ‘we don’t call the cops on people in mental health distress, it isn’t safe, I’ll meet up with you guys later.’
sesmith / Via twitter.com
I was grocery shopping with my 3 year old and he really wanted some gummy treats. I explained to my son that we couldn’t afford it because daddy lost his job. A man came up and said, “You dropped this,” and handed me a $50 bill.
tiana_smith / Via twitter.com
Dude in truck honked at me at intersection while I waited for older woman to cross street. I gave him the finger. He honked again. I gave big middle finger wave. He followed me to parking lot. Blocked my car. I got out ready to throw. He got out. HUGE MAN. I thought I’m dead.
He put out his hand to shake. Explained he honked but noticed his error when he saw the woman so honked again to say sorry. He followed me to personally apologize so he wouldn’t ruin my day. We shook hands. Changed me forever. And I was glad he didn’t waste me.
MrPaulBae / Via twitter.com
Mine: one baby of mine used to get airsick and the first time it happened we were just leaving the gate and there was puke all over my pants and the seat cushion so they had to BRING THE PLANE BACK to replace the seat and seatbelt and everyone hated me and…
I was standing, covered in puke, holding my now only diaper-clad baby & trying not to cry while business travelers glared at me, and then a flight attendant took my baby and gave me a pair of yoga pants from her carry-on & wrote her address on a napkin so I could mail them back.
I firmly believe that she will go to heaven no matter what she may do in the rest of her life.
Nicole_Cliffe / Via twitter.com
Grocery shopping alone after major arm surgery, in heavy bandages & sling. Get in line to check out. Woman in front of me looks at me, says something sharply to her daughter in Arabic. The little girl (9? 10?) proceeded to unload my groceries. 16 years, I remember like yesterday.
BerkowitzBT / Via twitter.com
Mom agreed I was old enough to go to the (small-town) grocery store by myself. I had what I thought was enough to buy a Mad Magazine. It was so scary when I got to the register and she said I didn’t. A little old lady passed me a dime and I wish she knew that I never forgot that.
Ali_Davis / Via twitter.com
Oh, and once someone ran me off the road into a snowdrift and I couldn’t get out and no one stopped for EVER until a Latino couple with a baby did, and insisted on staying with me until the tow truck came. They did not speak English. They gave me some soup from a Thermos.
Nicole_Cliffe / Via twitter.com
Had 1 day to start IVF with no warning due to aggressive cancer diagnosis. Private cost $10,000; Doc made a call to Public hospital; got in same day. Nurses all stayed late to get my treatment underway. Cost: basically free. Got two eggs and 3.5 years later had my baby daughter.
AmNowIncognito / Via twitter.com
I was a single mom, just laid off, and really hurting for cash. Then my engine went. A friend of a friend heard about me, and GAVE ME A CAR, a Ford Escort. She saved me. I will never forget you, Marilyn.
SusieMadrak / Via twitter.com