Inspirational stories of random acts of kindness

Small, random acts of kindness such as thanking a bus driver can brighten up a person's day and make life nicer for everyone. Occasionally, however, some truly massive acts of kindness are performed; these can reach out and inspire larger groups of people.

In some cases, the internet and the popularity of video recording on cell phone helps publicise a random act of kindness. These selfless acts caught on tape will often go viral and inspire others around the world.

 

The flower seller

A woman selling flowers on the New York City Subway was surprised by a man who offered to buy her entire stock. Handing the hawker over $140 for the dozens of roses she was carrying, the man told her to hand them out to everyone on the train for free. The woman broke down uncontrollably, overcome by the gesture. The act of kindness was captured in a video entitled 'Miracle on 6 train'.

 

The police officer's boots

In another story from New York City, a police officer was filmed by a tourist giving a pair of boots to a homeless man with bare feet. Officer Lawrence DePrimo paid for the pair of all-weather boots to help a homeless man he saw without shoes out in the cold. Since that day, the officer has been inundated with praise for his selfless act - he even put the boots onto the man's feet.

 

The generous dry cleaner

It isn't clear which dry cleaner started the trend but many others have since followed: putting a sign in the window offering free dry-cleaning for unemployed people who have a job interview to attend. It's a trend that seems to have started in the States and has since been offered by Timpson's, a chain of dry cleaners in the UK. This trend emerged during a time of high unemployment in both countries, making it a particularly timely gesture of goodwill.

 

Suspended coffees

The idea of buying a coffee for a stranger in need, probably one you'll never meet, has spread widely. The way it works is when you go to buy a coffee in a cafe participating in the movement, you also pay for a second coffee. When a person in need next comes into the cafe, that coffee (or even a meal) is waiting for them. It's a kind way to show a person in need that someone in the world cares.

When a man called John Sweeney heard of the idea from friends, he was inspired to set up an entire movement and dedicated Facebook page to encourage other cafés to join in. In only a year, the Suspended Coffees movement gained over 1400 supporting cafés, and more than a quarter of a million Facebook fans.

 

A kind business owner

Realising a person was regularly going through her bin in search of food scraps, one cafe owner left a note inviting that person inside for a meal. "You're a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster" the note read. Strangers inspired by the contents of the note spread photos of it around the world.