People Share The Greatest Small Act of Generosity They've Done Anonymously
Generosity is a great test of who a person is. Generous people give without any expectation of receiving in return. Often, generosity accompanies anonymity. You've probably been inspired to give anonymously before, but let us try to reinspire you.
Here were some of the answers.
There was a guy in my company who just got hired in, young kid. Very poor. I noticed he was wearing 2 different shoes, both very old looking sneakers. I managed to find out his shoe size roughly by comparing his to mine standing next to him one day. I bought him a new pair of work boots and put them on his work bench early the next morning so no one would find out I did it. Put a quick note that said they were for him.
I stayed away from giving anyone a clue it was me. I did see him crying some happy tears, made me feel really good 😊
For The Kids
When I see those red coin-op candy and toy dispensers you see in supermarkets and the foyers of restaurants I like to fill them with quarters or just put a stack of quarters on them. I usually don't get to see the results but I've seen it twice and it was really great both times.
The first time I saw the results, I had filled every machine and a kid saw so he got very excited. His parents noticed and after he cranked one they told him to only take one so other kids can enjoy it and he asked his parents if they could replace the quarter he used, so that other kids wouldn't be less happy than he was.
The second time I thought was wasted but ended pretty okay. I put a stack of quarters by the coin op machines in a Denny's at 3AM because I have my life together, and it was noticed by a group of extremely drunk bro types who immediately blew it all on the claw machine. They depleted the quarters then one of them asked "wait, what if those were there for kids" and the whole group got kinda sad so they changed a $20 for quarters and put the whole pile of it there.
Acceptance From Within
I was 17 and college acceptance letters were rolling out. I was lucky and got in early decision to my school, so I was coasting since December.
When everything came out in March, it was a sh*t show. Hardly anyone in my class got into where they wanted to go.
One friend in particular didn't get into any school and felt no choice but to enlist. He was devastated.
The day he got rejected from his last option, he was at a play rehearsal. I put a gift card to Starbucks on his windshield and wrote a note saying I still believed in him and that he deserved a little something to make him feel better.
He tweeted about it and had absolutely no idea who did it. Still doesn't know. Probably forgot about it.
It was the least I could do. He's had some mental health things come up and I've been moving all over since I graduated high school and we've lost touch. Hope he's doing alright. I think I heard he just transferred into that last school, actually!
Paying It Forward
If I see someone who doesn't have enough money to buy their groceries/gas/etc, I'll pay for it. It's happened a few times, most recently at a supermarket petrol station - this lady was at the other cashier from me, buying some bread, milk etc along with her petrol, trying to figure out what to put back to afford it so I handed the cashier £20 (the total was 20-something and she'd just been a few pounds short). She said I couldn't just give her that, and I said I just did.
There were a bunch of people in there that I hadn't noticed and the cashiers thanked me along with the lady, one of the people in the queue said what a nice thing it was and it had cheered him up so see some humanity.
Didn't need the recognition, but it is so nice to be able to help someone and cheer people up like that.
A Real Tree For Christmas
Few years ago I was picking out a Christmas tree. There was a pregnant girl and her mom looking too. I'd overheard some of their conversation. Apparently the girls bf had dumped her because she "got fat" .
Her mom had taken her in but was on disability. No one would hire a pregnant girl so the 3 of them (there was a boy too. I think the pregnant girls little brother)
Anyway mom figured they had $10 for a tree, or they wouldn't have one or two meals. But "we will have a tree for that babies first Christmas!" mom was adamant. Well the $10 trees looked like road kill. I saw the girl ooing and ahing over one tree. Not too bad. Wasn't the best on the lot but I'd looked at it myself. Anyway, I got my tree and told the attendant that I was also buying the tree she'd looked at. He gave a little smile and helped me put my tree on the car.
As I was getting in the car I saw them dragging this little Charlie Brown scrub thing and heard him say "Sorry folks. That trees been recalled." I didn't hear the rest but I heard the girl scream and saw the mom crying. The boy was jumping up and down. Good Christmas.
It's The Little Things, Honestly
Tiny tiny little things. Never big things.
Back when toll booths were manned I would pay for the car behind me when I crossed.
Back when parking meters were manual, I would throw an extra dollar in when I left for whoever might park next.
When I fill up my 'buy 10 get 1 free' coffee card I tell them to use it on the next person who comes in the shop.
I would buy donuts once a month and leave them in the break room.
I buy special flavoured coffee pods and leave them in the break room.
Tiny little things to make someone's day just a tiny bit better because I don't really have the capacity to do big things.
A Bad Deed For The Greater Good
A few years ago I worked at a shipping store. An older man (70ish) came in to ship a package, which was just a white envelope full of something. He seems visibly upset and looking around and at his watch constantly. He was quite well physically for his age so my first reaction wasn't that he was acting that way due to age/health but that something was actually wrong.
I asked him who he was shipping to and he said his grandson in NYC, so I asked him the full name and he only gave me a first name and said didn't know the last name. This was really weird and kind of threw up a red flag to me. Next when I asked him if he wanted insurance he said yes, but when I asked him for a description of goods he said he changed his mind and didn't want to insure.
We put his envelope into a box at his request and ship it. But for the next hour or so I just couldn't shake the odd transaction. So I went to the package and opened it up, and found over $10k in cash inside the envelope. No one should be shipping money as there are much better and safer ways to ship it, and this package and his demeanor kind of led me to a conclusion. I called the police and told them that I thought this man was being scammed and gave them his info.
An hour later a cop showed up and asked for the package. It turns out that the man spilled the beans when the police called him and said some man had called him and said his grandson was hurt and at a local hospital and needed to pay $11,000 right away or they couldn't save his grandson. The man said he had called his grandson but he didn't pick up so he panicked and did it. They told him name and address to send the money.
Apparently this is a very common scam and they target older people and confuse them and say their family is at risk. Luckily the police were able to set up a sting op on the mailbox address we had and caught the guy who was scamming them.
My boss wasn't too happy because technically we aren't supposed to open packages unless we smell something. But the story blew up and I got interviewed by a bunch of media and they even did a piece on how the scam works to raise awareness. So in the end it all worked out. I'm glad I was a bit nosey because I for sure saved that man an extremely large amount of money and we helped spread some awareness in the process.
Save A Life
It wasn't me. It was a friend. My wife was going through an incredibly hard time and we couldn't afford therapy. A friend of mine told me about a place that did therapy the first time for free so we took my wife there to get her some therapy. The secretary accidentally let it slip to me that it was not free the first time. My friend paid for my wife's therapy out of his own pocket because he knew she wouldn't go if it wasn't cheap or free. I believe my friend saved my wife's life. He still thinks we don't know he paid for it. I'm not going to tell him we know he paid for it. The secretary felt awful for letting that spilled but when I found that out. I genuinely cried. That act of kindness changed the life of my wife forever.
The Christmas MiracleGiphy
A few years ago I had a co-worker who was in a very large family (like, 12 kids total) and it was during the recession, so the successful family business that supported their large family became incredibly slow. We carpooled to work and one day in my car, she privately asked me if I had any extra flour/sugar/chocolate chips/etc left over from my Christmas baking so she could make some Christmas cookies for her little brothers and sisters as well as her nieces who also lived in the house.
I knew about their ongoing problems and that Christmas was going to be hard on them, but for some reason, that question just broke me. I went to my mom's house and told her what my co-worker/friend asked me, and she said no one deserves that on Christmas, so the day before Christmas Eve, we cooked a Turkey and a ham, filled up one of those popcorn tins with cookies, bought 5lb bags of flour and sugar as well as a grocery store gift card, and went to 5 Below and spent some money on little toys and gifts for the kids.
We packed it all up in a box and put it at the end of her long driveway on Christmas Eve Morning. I then googled the number of the family business, blocked my number, and called the office telling them to go check the end of their driveway. She probably knew it was me, but she never led on. She posted pictures on Facebook of her "Christmas Miracle" and we never spoke of it again.
To Move The Line
Probably not technically anonymous (even though they were total strangers) since it was in person, but I paid for the groceries of the people in front of me in line at the grocery store. It was in the weeks leading up to Christmas and they had tried a few different methods of payment they were all declined, even removing a few items and trying again just to have their cards declined each time. While they were on the phone trying to maybe see if they could get funds elsewhere or have someone else come and pay I just paid the $100 or so and sent them on their way. I've had to leave a full cart of groceries at the till because I couldn't pay for it, and didn't want them to have to go through a similar thing, especially at such a stressful time of year.
A Reminder To Self Love
This act remained anonymous for a few hours but I'll tell it anyway.
Years ago, my girlfriend was a cosmetologist living at home (I used to live with her and her parents due to my home life, long story) and was struggling with her career. She had quite a few clients but wanted to start her own business one day and wasn't quite making enough to cover the expenses.
So for Christmas, I found a Christmas card that said something like "To my favorite cosmetologist" on the front. I had my roommate fill it out for me in cursive with what I told him to write because his hand writing was much better than mine. In it, he wrote, "Don't worry about your bills for once. Go out and spend money on yourself. Life is what you make of it, so make it a good one." I put a $50 bill inside and her address on the envelope but no return address.
I went to her house for Christmas, and after they opened all their presents, I asked her if I had any mail there. She said I hadn't but she found the letter I addressed to her. She read it to herself then began bawling. Her mom asked who sent it and she saw there was no return address. She asked if I sent it and I told her I couldn't afford it.
Her mom caught me later in the kitchen and said, "That was you, wasn't it?" I told her it was in fact me and she started crying and gave me a hug.
The McEye Of The StormGiphy
During Hurricane Irma last year, our city was in absolute chaos. We usually don't get hurricanes, so everyone was overreacting, and the city had been over-preparing for the worst. The day after the storm, I drove around town to see the damage, and see what places were open to get food. I pulled into a drive-thru and ordered food, and there was a police officer behind me. I passed it forward and told the girl in the drive thru to pay for the order behind me. When I was pulling out of the drive thru lane, the cop pulled up behind me waving his sirens to "pull me over" in the parking lot so he can flag me down. He got out of his car and came up to thank me, telling me he had been on duty for the last 48 hours because of the storm, and this was the first time he was eating all day (it was night time when I went out). I know it wasn't much, but to know that he was out making sure that people like me were safe during the storm made me feel good. It was the least I could do!
When I was at the beach, I had a board I was floating in and bobbing the waves. At heavy set man starting shouting that he couldn't fight the current. I swam over to him and told him to hold on to my board and I tied the leach around my shoulder/bicep.
I swam him out, further than the pier goes and told him to just relax. I pulled this man over 100yds back to shore from the rip tide. I offered him water seeing he appeared to suck in a fair amount of salt water.
I told my parents but they didn't believe me until the man came over to thank me. They were baffled seeing a small 125lb 18 year old pulled a 250lb+ guy through the water and a rip current.
Ego Ego Mania
I live in Northern California and bought some toys for kids who lost everything in the wildfires here. Donation centers are kinda overwhelmed with food/clothes, but people often forget about the kids who lost an important need: comfort.
Anyhoo, I am not the type to blast my good deeds on IG or virtue signal on facebook. My ex bf on the other hand decided to tag along. Then take a sh*tload of pictures of his 'good deeds', post them, and wait for his "friends" to tell him what a great guy he was. It was really gross to watch his in-person ego satisfaction to the comments. Why did he need that?? The kids in front of him were smiling. The smiles were the magical moment. Not your IG friends pumping up your popularity.
Not to mention he is taking pictures of people's kids receiving toys, posting them online, WITHOUT THEIR PARENT'S EVEN KNOWING! I tried to stop him and he felt totally justified "my friends need to know that the fire is really bad. We are helping!". No. Just no. You do not get to put a random kid's face, exact location, and the fact that they lost their house making them now extremely vulnerable on IG. Classless at best. Dangerous at worst.
Anyone else get annoyed that some people cannot handle doing a good deed anonymously? They simply cannot function if they don't document it on instagram??
This thanksgiving break, While I was spending an all nighter the Airport, A girl from my college (she had some Identifying stickers on her laptop and a college hat on) sat down next to me and was kinda crying/visibly upset on Facetime.
Turns out her flight had been cancelled, and she was about to head back to the college instead of spending time with her family. The wifi was down and for some reason the fire alarm kept going off (not sure if the two were related -- basically our thanksgiving morning was awful), she couldn't check flights on her laptop and couldn't really plan anything.
So I kinda turned to her and said, "oh hey, you go to 'X' college? I'm heading home too -- you need some wifi?"
She turned out to be a junior, I'm a first year.
So I set her up with a hotspot, and helped her kinda plan an alternate flight path -- she ended up getting a seat on my flight and then flying one state over to her home.
In my 20+hours of being awake I forgot to ask her what her name was. I hope she had a wonderful thanksgiving with family -- I was passed out as soon as I got on the plane and didn't see her, but still!
Wee Small Wallet HoursGiphy
Walking home kind of drunk one night very late (or very early, depending on your point of view) I saw a wallet in the street. There was no money inside, but there was a driver's license. I don't remember what else but there were at least a couple of credit and/or debit cards. The address on the DL was for an apt. building one street over from mine. I stood outside the building for a few minutes wondering what to do. I wanted to get it back to the woman before she started canceling things. It was close to 5AM at this point and a woman came out, presumably to go to work. Being very aware that I was a sketchy-looking man approaching a woman alone in the dark, I said, "Excuse me, sorry to bother you, do you know [woman's name]? I found her wallet." She said yes, she thought she lived on the 2nd floor. I asked if she would let me in so I could leave it at the door (stupid request, but my thinking was kind of fuzzy). She said she couldn't let me. I asked if she would leave it in front of her door or something. She took the wallet, we thanked each other, she went back inside, and I went home. I hope she got it back, and in time, but I felt like I did what I could.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.