18 Feel-Good Stories That'll Make You Want To Pay It Forward, Too

Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their most memorable good samaritan stories. Here's what they had to say:

Haley Joel Osment in Pay It Forward

Warning: This post contains stories about suicidal ideation and domestic abuse.

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

1."I'm a nurse and had been working in a cardiac ICU unit. A lot of my coworkers left to take travel assignments over the years. We would often have going away parties at bars and restaurants when people left. One nurse threw a going away party at a local distillery that was close to the hospital. She had her family there and a bunch of coworkers. We all brought board games and were having a very intense game of Pictionary when the bartender came over to tell us that all our tabs had been paid by a man who owned the business next door."

Someone passing another person a restaurant bill

"Apparently, he would come in often for a drink after work, since they have a bar there too, and he saw our group and asked what we were up to. The bartender told him we were a bunch of nurses saying goodbye to one of our own and he relayed to the bartender that seeing such a large happy group made him happy and he wanted to pay it forward as he knew the healthcare field can be a stressful place. There were probably about 15–20 people drinking cocktails and he paid all the tabs. He slipped out before we could truly thank him."


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2."When I was younger, I'd often bike through this one dangerous intersection without stopping. I was in a really dark place and figured I'd either get through it or I wouldn’t, and neither one bothered me. One day I was nearly hit by a speeding car in that intersection. If I'd locked up my brakes I'd be dead. I skidded across the road and crashed in the driveway on the other side. The elderly lady who lived in that house came running to make sure I was okay, told me it wasn't my fault, and asked if I wanted her to call my parents or anyone."

"She had no idea that it was at least in part a suicide attempt, but her concern for a complete stranger stayed with me ever since. I still bike through there occasionally, but I haven't seen her in a long time. I wonder about her a lot, and wish I'd had a chance to thank her, and to tell her the whole story and that I'm getting better now."


3."About three years ago myself, my dad, and my two siblings were on a long drive. We pull up to go through a toll on the turnpike. He looks at me in the passenger seat and goes 'wanna see something funny?' And then pulls out two dollar bills. Hands it to the lady at the booth, and tells her to use the second dollar for the person behind him. We pulled away and he seemed just totally chuffed of himself."

A person opening their wallet with two dollar bills

"I hope the person behind him appreciated it and I sometimes wonder how long that chain may have run on for. It was a small act, but to see how proud he was of himself and knowing that likely brightened the day of the person behind him, was good enough for me."


Rattankun Thongbun / Getty Images / iStockphoto

4."A police officer paid for me to have lunch after I had a bad day."


5."The person in front of me at the coffee shop paid for the $750 order of coffee and pastries for my daughter's 13th birthday."

A box of pastries and donuts


Bohdan Bevz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."My 5-month-old daughter and I were coming home from taking care of my mom several states away after surgery. She couldn't drive so we got a ride from a neighbor to the airport near her house and were going to rent a car to drive to the airport we were flying out of that was about two hours away. Long story short, I didn't have a credit card so I was unable to rent a car. This was before Uber, so we were pretty much stranded."

"As I was on the phone with family, in tears, with an infant, trying to figure out what to do a woman and her teenage daughter came over and offered us a ride to the other airport. Total strangers, just overheard me and offered to help. They drove us two hours out of their way, got us to the airport on time, and refused any sort of payment besides a thank you."


7."I recently went for a job interview and was a nervous wreck. The lady who took me up to the manager calmed me down before I went in. It took her two minutes. It made me feel so much calmer."

Someone interviewing for a job


Sturti / Getty Images

8."I had to move home after some serious mental health problems and was pretty crushed about it. A friend of a friend reached out to me on social media and asked if I fancied a coffee. It turns out they had had the same problems, but were ahead in recovery."

"Since then, we've become friends and they've explained so much to me and my family about how to recover and what the journey looks like. I'm not there yet, but as soon as I feel able, I'll be aiming to help someone else."


9."When my twins were about eight months old, my ex-husband and I went on a babymoon to the UK for nine days. Midway through, we got a taxi to the train station and departed one city for another. At the train station, I realized I couldn't find my phone anywhere. It was on airplane mode, so I had no idea where I had lost it. I was a wreck trying not to cry in public because in my mind I had just lost precious photos and videos of my miracle babies after several miscarriages and fertility treatments. This amazingly kind German man came up to us and asked if I was alright. I gave him a quick rundown of the situation and he lent me a phone to call the taxi service who had it in their car."

A woman holding a cell phone

"The man legit took the phone and said he would be there to pick it up within the hour. He wrote down the address of the bed and breakfast we were staying at, contacted the manager, explained the situation, and asked if they would mail the phone to our next hotel if he brought it by. We had a great host, so he said he would absolutely be happy to do so. By the time we checked into our hotel in London that night, my phone was delivered to the room. Those sweet men saw a struggling young mom in crisis and totally rearranged their days to make everything right. I am forever grateful. Even though I've upgraded phones since then to be able to utilize cloud storage so I never have to worry about it, I saved that phone to remind me that there are truly kind and generous people out there. The twins are seven now and their little brother (also a rainbow baby) just turned five."


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10."This is something that I only found out recently had happened when I was a newborn. The pay-it-forward part, not the story context. My uncle has a best friend who I'll call Randy. He has a wife I'll call Rachel. (Not their real names). They live in my dad's hometown which is 10 hours away from where my parents live. My parents LOVE this couple and I never understood why they were so close with them despite the distance until now. Back when I was a month old our house burned down. We lost everything but the two cars, a jukebox, some photos, and the clothes on our backs. I've known that story since I was a kid."

"What I didn't know was that when Randy and Rachel found out what had happened to their best friend's little brother, they didn't hesitate to give my parents anything they needed to get them on their feet. They barely knew my parents because we lived ten hours away, but my parents NEVER forgot their kindness."


11."My boyfriend and his friend had been looking forward to attending a concert, and it's one of those indoor shows where you have seats but everyone is standing and dancing the whole time. Day of, the friend ends up getting unexpectedly let go from his job. To try to lighten the vibe, both decided to get merch right when we got there. Normally, I would have thrown everything in my purse but the handbag policy only allowed me to bring my wallet/clutch. Everything had to be shoved in coat sleeves or held. Near the end of one of the opening acts my bf goes to the bathroom, but is taking forever so I go to check and see what's up (taking his merch with me). He's in the lobby chatting with people he ran into and right when we are about to go back to our seats the friend comes out but left his stuff at his seat. By the time we got back, his merch is missing."

People at an outdoor concert

"Optimistically, we assume it has just fallen on the floor, but we can't find it anywhere in our area. Other people start to help look too, but it's definitely gone and he's super bummed. Right as the headliners are about to go on, the guy in front of us asks my boyfriend 'what’d you lose?' He explains about his friend having a bad night because he just lost his job, and now his shirt got stolen, and the guy is like 'what size was his shirt?' and then ran out to the merch table and came back with a replacement shirt. Faith in humanity restored!"


Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

12."I was in college trying to fly home for spring break. The only available flight home was at 5:30 in the morning, so the only way I could make it to that airport was if I stayed in a hotel. The next morning I catch an Uber, pay $40 for it, and go to check my baggage for my flight. Turns out my flight was canceled in the middle of the night and I never got a text. So my 19-year-old self is stranded in an airport at 4:30 in the morning with my parents not answering the phone because it's 1:30 a.m. for them."

"I finally find a way back to the hotel and ask if I can still have my room. The receptionist says 'yes.' I'm bawling my eyes out. I'm exhausted. I say, "can I grab a water? You can charge it to my room.' She says 'oh no, honey. Go get your water. No charge.' It was such a small act, but it almost made me cry harder for the kindness shown to me by a complete stranger."


13."I had a seizure in a foreign country where I didn't speak the language. A stranger accompanied me to the hospital in the ambulance, translated everything, and stayed with me for hours. Then he made sure I was safely in a taxi back to my hotel and had enough money to pay for it."

A photo of an ambulance
Randy Faris / Getty Images

14."This happened to me and I've never forgotten it. I was getting out of an abusive relationship. At the same time I was working, going to school, and caring for my young daughter. Life was overwhelming to say the least. I was leaving school one evening and I just lost it when I got into the car. I started crying and really losing my s--t in the parking garage. I pulled myself together to drive home and as I checked out with the usual parking attendant he asked me if I was okay."

"I started crying again, and he started telling me how he appreciated that I was always kind and chatted with him on my way out. He was just very, very kind when I was at one of the lowest points in my life. It was the pick-me-up I needed to get through that moment and keep going."


15."I was checking out of the hotel after my daughter's wedding, and there was an elderly lady at the front desk trying to get a room, but they were sold out. She was saying that it was too pricey anyway, and she didn't have much money. As we left, I was sobbing, listening to her story, and I gave her the only money I had, a $50 bill. She was very happy to get it. I often wonder what happened to her."

Man at a hotel front desk


Alistair Berg / Getty Images

16."I was 18 and had just gotten my driver's license. I was informed to go and pick it up on a specific day. When I went there, the people responsible for handing out my driver's license could not find it and insisted that I made a mistake. I showed them the message saying that my driver's license is ready for pickup, so they let me wait there until their shift was over. At some point, they even gave me all the records to look myself and find my driver's license. After spending my entire day there, they told me that my license was lost and that I should pay again to get a new one."

"A driving instructor (who I never met before) was nearby and heard the whole conversation and he jumped in pretending to be my dad and started complaining to them about their mistake. After hours of arguing for my case, he finally managed to make them prepare a new driver's license for me for free and acknowledge that it was entirely their fault. I never got a chance to ask for his details but I will always be thankful for him standing up for me and helping me out."


17."My mother has a disability and was going to physical therapy for her back injury for some time. It was not covered by our insurance and my mom was faced with an over $400 bill. She looked through her wallet frantically and tried multiple cards for a few minutes, only to be declined each time. She was on the verge of tears when the lady taking our payment behind the desk took out her own card and paid for my mom's PT appointment. I started tearing up. What a good person."

Someone paying with a credit card


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18."I was in the checkout line of a dollar store with my niece and we were buying snacks before going to a movie. I was a college teenager, she was about seven. I called my mom and asked her to put $20 in my account to buy the movie tickets since my niece's gift card was for the wrong theater."

"The lady in front of me, with four small kids around her, handed me a $20 bill as she left and said 'merry Christmas to you and your baby.' In her defense, the kid does look just like me. That was the nicest thing a stranger has done for me, even if there was a slight misunderstanding."


What's your most memorable good samaritan story? Share it in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger as a result of domestic violence, call 911. For anonymous, confidential help, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or chat with an advocate via the website.

Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386.