She thought that it would be a polite gesture to open the door and hold it open and wait for the older woman to pass by. She saw her again when she stepped into the restaurant. The older woman was talking to the waitress, and she caught was she said as she passed by. She heard something that made her freeze.
What she heard had struck her hard, and she knew she had to do something about it.
Brook Ochoa lived in Texas and had been having a rollercoaster of a week. She had experienced a harsh breakup a little while ago, but the weather had started picking up, and she had just begun to feel better. She had started feeling comfortable in her skin again, and it wasn’t just her that noticed.
But as happy as she was to be feeling better, she had no idea what the day’s events would have in store for her.
Brook needed to run some errands and decided to get an early start to the day. She went to the bank and got stuck in some light traffic on her way to the grocery store. She was humming as she walked through the isles and realized that she was feeling hungry.
She had spent the entire week following a strict diet and thought she deserved a little treat. How bad could that be? But she had no idea what was to come.
She spotted a restaurant which she made a beeline for. While she was walking, she realized the elderly woman behind her. Brook strongly believed in respecting her elders, so it made sense that she opened the door and held it open for the woman, patiently waiting for her to come by.
Brook was the type of person who used every opportunity possible to be kind, so she was surprised when the woman gave her a puzzling look.
Brook was in such a good mood that she didn’t mind the confused look the old woman gave her. “Go on ahead,” she said and smiled at the woman. She gestured for the woman to pass.
The woman returned the smile and expressed her gratitude before she shuffled past Brook and the open door. In Brook’s mind, she would never see that woman again, but she had no idea how wrong she was.
Brook had to wait to be seated and decided to go through the menu in the meantime. She had started her diet in hopes of slimming down. She was in no way ashamed of her body, but she wanted to feel stronger and healthier.
She looked through the menu and debated whether she wanted to get the beef burger and fries or a salad. She leaned more toward the burger because it was what she really wanted. That’s when she heard what the old woman said to the waitress.
She was taken aback and looked up to find something even more surprising. It was the woman she had kept the door open for her. Brook looked at her when the waitress came to show her to a table.
The waitress was trying to control her emotions, but as happy as Brook had been at the beginning of the day, she could not. Brook’s entire world would change because of those five words.
Brook noted everything that took place on the day of the events. She wanted everyone to know what had happened and decided that Facebook was the best way to go.
She said she had seen the older lady coming from afar when she got to the restaurant for lunch. “I held the door open for her, and she thanked me when she passed. I thought she was sweet,” she wrote. However, this was just the beginning.
She had been kind to the woman from earlier, only to find that what she said to the waitress was unacceptable. She wouldn’t let it slide and knew she had to do something about it.
She initially thought she wasn’t up for it but then decided she had to approach her. This was something she had to do, so she mustered up all her courage and made her move.
Brook had no idea that what she had to say would make her an overnight sensation, but the Netizens had not expected the exchange between the elderly woman and the girl from Texas. Despite how much they saw on social media, this was something they were not expecting.
Brook had found herself in a situation not many would even think of confronting, but she did so in full force. She wanted to know what was happening and marched up to the woman.
The elderly lady was taken aback to see Brook marching toward her in all her glory. She looked sheepishly from the waitress and back at the girl striding purposefully toward her. The look on Brook’s face was crestfallen, but her body language said otherwise — She was going to sort things out.
The elderly lady began to wonder if she had done something wrong and began to stutter.
Brook reached the lady, whose name she found out later, and pointedly asked her if she had just heard what she thought she had heard. The look on Brook’s face said it all. She was angry and upset all at the same time but was trying not to let her emotions show.
The elderly lady, blindsided, repeated what she said and Brook’s face fell even further. Her assumptions were correct.
The woman had said, “a table for one, please.” Brook immediately knew that she had to take action. But what was it about this elderly woman’s request that had sent her spiraling into such overwhelming dismay?
Brook explains her feelings in her Facebook post before it became a viral sensation. Everyone who saw it was dumbstruck.
“She then told the waitress, ‘a table for one, please’, so I waited and hesitated, but then I walked over and said, ‘I’m eating by myself too, would you like to have lunch together?’” Brook continued. She wasn’t going to let this woman eat alone.
But it was the elderly woman’s reaction that caused a public outcry. Brook’s post brought a very real issue to light that day.
The woman, whose name was Delores, accepted Brook’s offer enthusiastically. She was so touched and happy to have some company while she ate her lunch. The pair chatted over the mains and Brook gradually found out that Delores had been going through a tough time lately.
She spilled all her troubles to Brook, and the two formed a friendship right then and there!
“Come to find out she spent the last decade living with her mom who recently passed away and her aunt who recently was put into a nursing home, so she has been having a hard time being alone. We had a wonderful talk, and she just kept smiling and saying thank you for listening to me, which made me smile too!” Brook wrote.
But she never expected her post to go viral.
Brook’s post was shared a staggering 279,000 times on Facebook, and it received over 2.2 million likes. Hearing Brook’s story about connecting with a lonely soul touched readers so much that they applauded her for her kindness.
“Thank you for sharing your story. It shows that there are a lot of good people in this world,” one person on Facebook wrote. But Delores wasn’t the only one who needed the company…
Brook realized that connecting with a stranger and listening to her hardships was exactly what she had needed that day, too. “Her words healed my heart just as much as I healed her lonely one. By far the best decision I’ve made all year!”
But what would become of her newly found friend? She couldn’t just leave her after all they had shared.
Brook resolved to keep seeing her new friend, Delores. She took her contact details and set up a standing lunch date: “… we will be having lunch every Thursday from now on,” Brook wrote happily.
But unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Fate had something much larger in store that would make Brook’s kind gesture even more meaningful.
Brook wrote an update to the post that had attracted so much attention on Facebook and indeed worldwide. The news was bittersweet for everyone following the story.
“Delores passed away soon after this post. I am delighted that it still touches so many lives in such a positive way. Thank you all for your support and your kind comments!” Brook wrote.
Delores’ passing made the fact that Brook reached out to the elderly woman even more powerful, as neither of them knew that Delores had only a little more time on this earth when they met.
And Brook is determined to keep paying it forward by inspiring millions of people every day. But what did Brook think of all the attention?
“I’m glad they got my intentions right though because all I wanted was to make a difference in one person’s life… to be kind, to do better, to see that being there for someone else can fill your heart with just as much happiness too,” Brook said in an interview.
“It was never a boast, just a post that I thought would make others take a step back, make a change, and smile. Glad that is exactly what happened.”
In the end, Brook’s story about reaching out to a stranger highlighted the plight of seniors everywhere. If more people reached out to these lonely souls, the world would be a better place.
The lesson here is to always be kind – after all, nobody knows just how much time they have left. It’s important to make it count. Our next story is about a man whose trip to the bank also had unintended consequences.
What was this, sitting on the counter? He picked it up and inspected it. It was an envelope. Curious, he opened it up, and when he saw what was inside his heart started to race.
He pushed past the line of confused onlookers at the bank and ran as fast as he could, past the security guards, gripping the envelope tightly to his chest.
Family man Rob Edwards couldn’t believe the week he was having. The weather in Florida was balmy, and life was good. He looked at his beautiful wife in awe as they sat and ate breakfast together. They had recently celebrated their 21-year anniversary, and Rob couldn’t be happier.
But there was something else to celebrate, too.
Cole, Rob’s eldest, had just finished high school and the family was gearing up for the graduation ceremony. Everything Rob did for his son in the last 18 years had been in preparation for this momentous day. His children were his pride and joy.
But Rob never expected what this particular day had in store for him.
Rob awoke early on the big day to run some errands. First on the list was a trip to the bank. He breezed through the traffic, humming as he drove. He pulled up to the concrete building and looked for a parking space, noting that the bank looked rather busy on this particular morning.
But not even a long bank queue could dull his spirits today.
As he entered the building he noticed a woman hurrying behind him, so he turned and held the door open for her. There was always room for chivalry, Rob thought to himself as she smiled and thanked him graciously.
Then he motioned for the stranger to go ahead of him, and she looked at him in disbelief.
Rob nodded and smiled at the woman, and said that she should get in line ahead of him. He still had time to get his errands done before the graduation ceremony started, so he was in no hurry.
At first, she refused, but when she saw Rob’s sincere and smiling face, she thanked him and accepted.
“By all means go in front of me. Today my son graduates,” Rob said happily. “I’m slowing down and want to savor every minute.” The woman laughed, and the pair began to chit-chat while they waited for the long line of people to move.
Rob told her about his son Cole and his daughter Taylor, and the woman exchanged some information about her own family.
Eventually, the line had moved up, and it was the woman’s turn to be served by the teller. She beamed at Rob as she broke away from the queue, waving as she went. Rob, thinking that their exchange was over, smiled back at her.
But he had no idea that this woman had a plan up her sleeve.
When it was Rob’s turn to be served, he strode over to the teller with a smile and completed his transaction. But just moments later, his smile faded to a look of confusion as he felt something being slipped under his left arm, which was resting on the counter.
He turned quickly to see the mysterious woman hurrying past him.
Rob looked down to see that a plain envelope had been slipped under his elbow, then the woman said something as she passed, but he didn’t quite catch it. He eyed the envelope, and his mind raced.
All his optimism had turned to suspicion as he speculated as to what it could possibly contain, but he was about to be completely blindsided.
Rob stood for a few moments, dazed. He turned to the confused people waiting in line behind him with a puzzled expression, but the blank faces had no more answers about the woman’s strange behavior than he did.
There was only one way to find out what was in the envelope. He had to open it. So he took a deep breath and tore the seal.
Rob held the suspicious envelope at arm’s length before gingerly peering inside. His heart started to pound. It was too late to go back now, but he knew that he just may have made a very big mistake. At first glance, he thought that the envelope was empty.
But when he pulled the sides of the paper apart his mouth opened in disbelief.
Rob’s mind had played out every scenario before he had opened up the envelope. He was, after all, in a bank. He glanced desperately over to the doors and was relieved to see two uniformed security guards standing there–just in case.
Thankfully, he wouldn’t need their assistance just yet. But the contents of the envelope were so completely unexpected that he took a double-take.
Inside the envelope was money…But why? Rob immediately grabbed his paperwork from off the counter and made a mad dash to the door. He had to find the mysterious woman, but as he stepped onto the sidewalk, he thought he was too late, and she was long gone.
But he needed to know why she had slipped him the envelope of cash.
Searching the crowd in both directions, there was no sign of her. Then, by sheer luck, he looked ahead and noticed her getting into her car in the distance. Without a moment’s thought, Rob ran across the road to catch her, but she was already pulling away from the parking lot.
She saw Rob running at her car and rolled down her window.
Rob reached the car and caught his breath while the woman watched in amazement. Then Rob said, “I can’t take this!” and tried to give the envelope back to her through the window.
But then, the woman calmly explained why she had decided to slip him the envelope with the $50 inside, and Rob was floored.
“When you talk about your boy, you glow,” the woman explained. “You’re a blessing to him, I want to bless him too!” Rob’s face, when he had talked about his son, had been beaming with pride, and the mysterious woman had been touched by his fatherly love.
When Rob understood, he was at a loss for words. So, he snapped a picture of the kind woman and went about his errands.
During Cole’s graduation ceremony, Rob was so filled with happiness he thought he might burst. But the day’s unexpected events played heavily on his mind. There was still one more thing to do.
So he uploaded the photo of the mysterious woman onto Facebook with a post explaining what had transpired between them that day, but he didn’t expect the response he would receive.
One commenter wrote: “First of all kid, I can’t believe your boy is 18! Second, I’ve been thinking a lot about the transformational power of love and kindness. Our life is like a vapor…it is here, and then it’s gone. Thanks for sharing your blessings…”
People loved Rob’s story about random acts of kindness and paying it forward.
“The whole point of life right here! And it could not have happened to a more deserving person. Great story Rob Edwards!” Everyone was delighted and endeared by Rob’s good deed and didn’t think twice before dedicating him their praise.
“When you write a book look me up. I reckon I got a few titles for you already!” one of Rob’s friends added.
“I was so touched. I don’t know her name, I’ve never ever seen her before. But I will never forget her love. I asked to take a picture with her. And hugged her neck. We need more of this in the world today,” Rob wrote, “…not the money. But kindness. I hugged a complete stranger today. My son who I love with all my heart was shown love.”
Then, Rob went on to explain how touched he had been by the stranger’s gesture.
“Many of you who know me know what I believe in. Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? It warms the father’s heart to love the son. I am blessed. Cole Edwards, I’m so proud of you! To my bank customer friend. THANK YOU!” Rob continued.
And his story is just one of many out there about paying it forward.
The tradition of random acts of kindness has gained popularity in the US and even has an entire day dedicated to it. National Random Acts Of Kindness Day is celebrated by groups, individuals, and organizations to encourage acts of kindness in the month of February. The principle is simple: perform a small act of kindness for a stranger.
But Rob’s story shows that people don’t need an excuse to be kind on only one particular day of the year!
“What a precious story! Thank you for sharing! God bless her for sharing love and being an example of what love looks like. We need more love in the world!!!” another commenter wrote on Rob’s post.
But surprisingly, Rob isn’t the only one to ever receive an envelope of cash from a stranger. It’s not the first time something like this has happened.
An Imgur user who goes by the name of gingersnap1316 had another heartwarming story to tell about an unexpected act of kindness.
One day, while she was home alone, the doorbell wouldn’t stop ringing. Annoyed, she finally answered the door on the third ring, only to see a stranger standing there. He then asked her a strange question.
“Are you Karen?” she describes the encounter on Imgur. “I told him no, that Karen was my mom and he gave a quick smile and handed me an unmarked envelope and walked away. I get inside and open it up.”
Thinking the encounter was somewhat strange, our Imgur user was flabbergasted to find $1,000 in cash in the envelope, as well as a letter.
“Please accept this gift as an act of random kindness,” the letter read.
“A cherished member of our family devoted much of her time and resources to helping people through ‘Random Acts Of Kindness’. She gave to others in many ways and always did so anonymously. One way our family has chosen to honor her memory is to continue in the tradition of helping others in the community with acts of random kindness.”
The letter then went on: “A ‘Random Act Of Kindness’ does not have to involve the giving of money. It can be as simple as sharing your time with someone, lending an ear, or offering a compliment.
The most important part is that the act is unsolicited and done so with no expectation of anything in return.”
Needless to say, the recipient of the Random Act Of Kindness was sure to pay it forward. And it’s stories like these that restore people’s faith in humanity–so always remember to be kind.
However, sometimes good intentions are not enough; sometimes, what one thinks are actions coming from kindness can be seen by others as selfish or even callous behavior. That’s what happened in the following story:
The protagonist of this story is a 24-year-old woman from Sydney named Chelcie Vera Cookson. She works as a personal trainer in the Australian metropolis.
Chelcie has recently experienced a lot of backlash for what she did and said to a homeless man she encountered on the streets of Sydney. After you’ve read the whole story, you can judge for yourself whether what she did was an act of kindness or a display of cruelty and selfishness.
Chelcie doesn’t spend all her time building up her body; she also volunteers at different homeless food shelters in her free time.
Although many people tend to overlook and ignore homeless individuals every time they come across them on the streets, Chelcie wasn’t one of those people. And on different occasions, she had noticed a particular man who used to hang around the same street every day.
Chelcie admits that, at first, she was “scared” to talk to that man. After working in several homeless shelters, she knew that striking up a conversation with a homeless person was something some would appreciate but might feel invasive to others.
So for some weeks, she didn’t say anything to him. But every time she saw the man, she couldn’t help but notice one particular thing about him.
The man was significantly overweight. Most of the time Chelcie walked past him, he was sleeping; when he wasn’t, he was just eating some snacks he probably got from the store down the corner.
Probably, for a lot of people who walked past him on a daily basis without paying him any mind, that man was pretty much like a piece of street furniture. But not for Chelcie.
For some reason, Chelcie felt like her destiny was tied to that man’s. She knew she had to do something to make his life a little better, to do whatever she could to make a difference in how things were for him.
However, she was faced with a question. How should she go about it? How could she help the homeless man without being invasive or awkward?
Chelcie didn’t remember ever seeing him in the food shelter where she volunteered. She figured that the best way to go about helping the man would just be starting a conversation.
So one day, instead of walking past the homeless man, she went up to him. She introduced herself and asked him about his name and his background. What the man told her totally blew her mind.
The man, aged 45, was named Steve. He used to play in several music bands in the past; but due to a chain of misfortunes, now he was living on the streets. He had been trying to get a job for months, but no one would hire him.
Chelcie listened to his woes for a bit. She told him about the food shelter where she volunteered and encouraged him to go for a visit sometime. However, the man’s response was disappointing.
“Ah, yeah, I might do that,” he said. He didn’t sound really convinced, but there was nothing else Chelcie could do.
At least for the time being. She said Steve goodbye and went back home, her mind filled with thoughts about what had just happened. Soon enough, she went back to her routine and forgot about it until a few days later when she was struck by a revelation.
Chelcie shared on Facebook how she came up with an idea to “help” Steve and how she went about it. “During meditation, it came to me – what could make him change?” she says.
“What could I do to make him effortlessly transform his life? And I realized: exercise! Exercise is the key to so many things! I can just get him moving. And I thought ‘I need to get him a hecking gym membership.'”
“The hook to get him there: shower facilities, so he’ll be able to use the showers, hecking awesome,” she explains in her video, which went viral over the next few days.
So one day, Chelcie walked up to Steve, sat next to him, and made him an offer to join the gym where she works. However, the man wasn’t having it.
“He said no five times. I was not leaving without a yes, so I said ‘Steve, you don’t have a choice.’ He looked at me like ‘who are you?’. I said ‘you don’t have a hecking choice. You’re coming with me.'”
“He said ‘I can’t, I haven’t slept all night,’ I said ‘What are you doing right now?’ he said ‘I’m going to sleep.'” But Chelcie wasn’t willing to give up.
“I said ‘Monday? Can you do Monday?’ He said ‘Ok, yeah, let’s go on Monday.’ ‘Ok, 10 am, Monday, you and me, we’re going to that gym. I’m signing you up. We’re gonna do the first workout together, and how many more you want after that.”
“‘Go get yourself a haircut, get a nice little wardrobe.’ I’m so hecking happy,” she recounted the episode on a video that has been seen by millions of people. However, not everyone thinks Chelcie’s action was that good of a deed.
One commenter asked: “What about somewhere to sleep? or is a gym membership more important?” “A gym membership won’t give this man a roof over his head or a hot meal on his plate.”
“With all respect due, she should have invested her time and money on something more useful long term.” Many have found Chelcie’s response to these comments baffling and even infuriating.
“Yes, a gym membership is more important,” she replied. “While a bed to sleep in may allow him to rest and the same s*** he’s always done, which is sleep every damn day, something he can do anywhere.”
“I’m providing him with a gym membership, something he would NEVER bother to do for himself and someone he wouldn’t invest in if he had the money to do.” But that’s not all.
“Food and shelter are a temporary, short-term fix. I’m trying to give him his energy and self-confidence back, to show that someone has faith in him. When someone has self-confidence and happiness they can conquer anything,” she said.
A commenter accused her of doing that for attention: “You could have just written a status, oh, but then no one would look at you and the 900 selfies you upload.” But is that so?
“This is not the first time I’ve done something like this. It’s just the first time I’ve posted about it,” Chelcie says. “I’ve had hundreds of messages come through from ex-homeless people saying they’ve had their whole lives transformed after people took them in and made them exercise,” she says.
However, many people think that her action didn’t come from kindness and a willingness to help others but from selfishness and a lack of sensitivity. What do you think? In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.