Kindness of strangers: Unexpected, generous acts make a difference

We may not always see them, but kind acts abound all around us — and they’re made all the sweeter when someone shows kindness to a person they don’t even know. It can be as small as helping replace a beloved stuffed animal, holding the hand of someone in need, or making sure kids feel special. Here are some of our favorite examples of the kindness of strangers.

1. When boy loses his beloved stuffed sheep, strangers do an amazing thing to help

A 3-year-old Eoin Ekedahl’s lost his sheep, and didn’t know where to find him. But a new sheep named Lamby helped make the loss much easier to bear.

random acts of kindness boy restaurantAnn Parker

Eoin Ekedahl’s best friend was a stuffed sheep named Baa Baa, which he lost in a restaurant. The staff at the restaurant decided to replace Eoin’s beloved friend with this one, named Cousin Lamby.

2. Photo of stranger’s act of kindness toward special-needs man goes viral

Imagine you’re sitting on a bus when a stranger reaches out to hold your hand. What do you do? In this case, one man offered his hand back, and the response was heartwarming and explosive.

3. Girl asks late dad for a sign and gets one: Kind strangers answer ‘letter to heaven’

When a 16-year-old released a balloon in memory of her late father, she asked him to send her a sign. And she got one: Hundreds of miles away, kind strangers answered what she and her mom call her letter to heaven.

random acts of kindness daughter dad girl Courtesy of Lisa Swisley

Ashlynn Marracino’s balloon with a message to her late dad landed 400 miles away in a restaurant parking lot, where the owner shared the story online and readers offered to send her cards and gifts.

4. Boy’s lost toy tiger has awesome adventure, thanks to this airport’s kind staff

A stuffed tiger named Hobbes went on quite the adventure after his owner accidentally left him at Tampa International Airport.

Boy tiger airport random act kindnessCourtesy of Emily Nipps

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport.

5. Waitress’s act of kindness means the world to grieving parents

A 21-year-old waitress from Fort Worth, Texas took the internet by storm after a Facebook post about her act of kindness — picking up the check for two of her customers — went viral.

Waitress act of kindnessCourtesy of Debra Riddle

A waitress helped a grieving couple by picking up their check.

6. Virginia Tech football players get into the (random) act of feeding folks for free

A Virginia Tech offensive lineman was in line at Chipotle one day and, after talking to the man behind him, he suddenly decided, “I should buy this man’s meal.”

7. ‘Save my mom’s life!’: 13-year-old boy tries to find a new kidney for his mom

One teen had a hard time watching his mother slowly slip away for lack of a kidney transplant. So he turned to social media, and strangers immediately responded.

boy kidney momCourtesy Sticka family

A boy tries to find a kidney donor for his mom; strangers offer to get tested.

8. Mom to get kidney from stranger who spotted message on her windshield: ‘It’s pretty crazy’

A Maine woman is getting a second chance at life, thanks to a kind stranger who spotted an unusual request on her windshield.

car kidney kindness Courtesy of Christine Royles

The message a woman in need of a kidney left on her car.

9. ‘We all started crying’: Boy with autism gets best birthday surprise

An autistic teen got the ultimate present (for him) for his birthday: a vacuum-themed celebration, complete with a vacuum-shaped cake and an in-house product demonstration from one of his favorite vacuum brands.

vacuum kindness boy autism niceCourtesy of Jodie Greene

A boy practices shampooing the rug with a new Kirby vacuum.

10. Strangers share fire truck photos to cheer up boy with leukemia

A Connecticut fire captain created the Fire Trucks for Christian Facebook page and posted a photo of his new fire truck to cheer up a 4-year-old as he began treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

kindness Christian fire trucks leukemia boyKatherine Annunziato

People from around the nation have been posting photos of fire trucks to cheer up this boy who loves fire trucks during his treatment for leukemia.

11. ‘A final tribute’: Teens serve as pallbearers for homeless military veterans

A group of high school students are volunteering to serve as pallbearers for fallen military members who otherwise would have been buried alone.

Pallbearers for veterans kindness nice studentsUniversity of Detroit Jesuit School

“I am so glad I was able to help out those three brave men, giving them a proper celebration of the life they led,” said Michael O’Connor, one of the students. “I did not know these men, but being able to show them respect was important to me.”

12. Flying with autism: One airline’s kindness surprises mom

Shawna Wingert was used to preparing for the worst when she flies with her 12-year-old son, who has autism. But her experience with one particular airline was so good that it led her to write a blog post that has been shared more than 8,000 times.

airline autism kindness niceCourtesy Shawna Wingert

Shawna Wingert and her son, who has autism, anxiety and sensory processing disorders; flying used to feel like torture for them.

Need more inspiration? Check out the TODAY Pinterest board.

13. ‘To the teenage boy at the skate park’: Mom’s letter goes viral

Jeanean Thomas had her stern “You listen here” mom voice ready to go when her young daughter encountered a clump of intimidating teen boys at a local skate park. But then one of those young men stepped up with an unexpected act of kindness.

nice kindness mom daughter skateboardCourtesy of Jeanean Thomas

Mom’s ‘Dear teenage boy at the skate park’ letter goes viral after young man helps her daughter.

14. Hundreds surprise a little girl at her birthday party after no one RSVPs

Jenny Moretter didn’t expect a lot of girls to show up to her daughter’s 10th birthday party. But when absolutely no one RSVP’ed “yes,” mom’s heartbreak led to an outpouring of love that brought a whole town together in celebration.

mom daughter birthday kindness nice strangersKeighla Anderson

When nobody RSVP’ed to a girl’s 10th birthday party, her mom’s heartbreak led to an outpouring of love that brought a whole town together in celebration.

15. ‘A great thing’: Donations pour in after coin jar is stolen from preschool

For years, the children at one New Hampshire school have dropped spare change into a plastic jar — their small way of helping the school. But when the jar vanished, the school’s executive director turned it into a teachable moment for the kids.

kindness school students donations preschoolCourtesy of Angela Twombly

Donations began pouring in after news of the coin jar theft at Village Preschool spread.

16. Mom’s birthday party invite for son with speech disorder draws global support

Traci Eubank knew that getting people to attend her son’s 10th birthday party would be a lot more difficult than just filling up the 2,000 balloons he requested.

birthday party boy kindness niceTraci Eubank

Birthday wishes, donations and kind words poured in from strangers around the world for a boy with a speech disorder.

17. Older man gives heartwarming necktie lesson in train station

A young man in an Atlanta train station was dressed for success, except for his necktie. Fortunately, an older couple noticed his struggle and jumped in to lend a hand.

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