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SALT LAKE CITY — Service can lift your spirits in a way almost nothing else can.
Each week, readers share the experiences that have lifted their burdens and made a difference in their lives. Hopefully, it inspires you to do something good for someone.
On a generous gift:
"My step-mother, caregiver to 13 children, and sufferer of severe mental illness, passed away over a year ago. I wish to share a story that I am sure she would want to share if she were here. During one of her many long-term visits to a psychiatric facility, she accrued a bill amounting to over $20,000 which insurance would not help pay. Upon trying to set up payments with the hospital, she was told, 'An anonymous individual has paid your bill in full.' We never learned who paid this bill. The generosity is overwhelming."
On honoring a serviceman:
"While waiting to board a flight home I noticed an active military member sitting several seats down from me. An older gentleman went and sat down by the serviceman and just simply thanked him for his service.
"A few minutes later the older gentleman got up and walked away but returned about five minutes later. He informed the serviceman that he had swapped their tickets and that the serviceman would be flying first class. Neither of these fine men knew I was watching this interaction between them and it gave me a much-needed boost and restored my faith in humanity."
On consistently looking to help:
"After an exhausting week, my fiancée took me out for breakfast. We noticed an elderly man sitting alone at the table next to us. As we conversed between ourselves, he kept looking over at the man next to us. He walked over to him and asked the elderly man to join us. The man very politely declined, saying he didn't want to impose. We continued our conversation, but I could still see that he wanted to do more for the man.
"Our waitress walked over, apologizing for how busy it was, clearly stressed and expecting the same treatment that other upset guests were giving her. He told her she was doing a great job and that he wanted to pay for the man's meal, but didn't want him to know who had paid for it. When the elderly man was done eating, he walked over and thanked us for the invitation, proceeding to tell us that he wouldn't have been good company because there were so many bad things happening in his life. He had recently been forced to move his wife into a rest home, as she was losing her memory. He was on his way to go visit her. His story touched my fiancé so much that he felt the need to further pay it forward and, upon leaving, he left the waitresses each a $40 tip. I am really grateful for having such a kind, generous person in my life. He constantly reminds me that there is always something we can do for others, even if it's simply showing them that they matter."
On helping a stranger:
"Years ago I was driving a car, bought on eBay, from New York to Utah. Just before the west border of Pennsylvania the car suddenly died. There was an off-ramp, and I almost made it to the top of it.
"I put up the hood and started checking the engine, and it wasn’t long before a guy heading home from work stopped. He towed my car a few miles to his house, took me to the parts store to buy the parts (which was in the next town about 10 miles away), then let me work in his shed to make the repairs. When I had to make another trip to the parts store, he was gone with his wife but called a friend that took me.
"When I finished and was ready to leave, I tried to get names and addresses from the friend so I could send them something, he refused. He told me this was just something they did and would take no reward. I have never forgotten that kindness and wish I could have repaid them somehow, but I have tried ever since to do the same when I can."
On the small things:
"I was at the Liquor Store recently to buy some wine for Pioneer Day. I was on a strict budget so I only brought in cash so I wouldn't pay more than I could afford. When I got to the cashier the total came up to 51 cents more than the cash that I had. I felt really embarrassed because I didn't have the change and I had to put something back.
"Right as I decided what to put back the cashier started emptying his pockets with change and the two people behind me in line started doing the same. I was so grateful for this. Even though it was only change, it made my day and almost made me cry. I am so glad to know there are good people out there and we need to help each other out. Thank you for that change and I will for sure pass along the good deed."
Have you seen any moments of service or kindness? Do you want to share a story about something that made your day? Email a brief story (100 words or fewer) along with any photos or video to firstname.lastname@example.org.