(Photo: Daniel Lobo)
Redditor becauseisaidiwould posed this excellent question. There were many heartwarming responses written in the resulting comment thread.
Pollyannatoothpaste describes a deeply empathic man that she met on an airplane:
I boarded a last minute flight to my hometown not knowing if my brother was going to be alive when the flight landed. I was sitting in shock thinking about how this was going to be one of the longest hour and twenty minutes of my life and it must have been written all over my face.
This particular aircraft had two emergency seats then a space before the door (no window seat) giving the person who sat in the window seat behind a huge space for leg room. A guy sat down and commented how he loved to get that seat, extra leg room etc. Then he leaned forward and said, I saw your face when I was walking up the aisle and can tell you can really do with talking to someone to take your mind of something, so I'm just going to talk, at any point you want to talk about it you can, otherwise I'm just gonna chat to you.
I don't know if that guy will ever have even the tiniest bit of understanding of how deeply he touched me with his actions or his parting words. Six years later I still think about what a touching thing he did by just chatting to a stranger who looked like she was going through hell. My brother is alive and well but for the duration of that flight I had no idea if that would be the case.
TL;DR: Shot the shit with me on a flight to take my mind of the fact my brother might not be alive when the plane touched down.
Heliocentrizzl was hit by a car at the age of 12. A kind stranger decided to track down the criminal responsible:
When I was 12, I was on my way back home from school. I was riding my bicycle, and at this crossing, a car in a traffic jam made space to let me through. While crossing the road, I got hit by this driver, trying to overtake the whole lane, so he wouldn't have to wait out the traffic jam. The car hit me, scooped me up, launched me into the air, which resulted in a broken kneecap, a broken nose and a broken rib for me.
The driver fled the scene, the driver who let me pass took care of me till the Amber Lamps arrived, and made sure I stayed awake.
Now that's not where it ends. The guy who took care of me was so mad about the driver fleeing the scene, that he actually put some advertisements in a few national newspapers, describing the car, and where the car might have possibly been damaged. After 3 days, the guy turned himself in, claiming that the advertisement lead people to figure out what he did and threaten him.
So a random stranger spent quite some money on getting an advertisement out so the guy who ran me over could be found. I never heard of that stranger after, but I'm pretty sure the driver wouldn't have turned himself in if it weren't for the ads.
Amanasro describes surviving a carjacking in Kenya:
I was carjacked at gunpoint, bled dry of my valuables and dropped in the middle of nowhere. After the carjackers drove off in my car, I picked myself up from my prone position and went to a nearby lit house (it was night). The family that lived there believed me when I told them my story, let me in, gave me words of comfort, fed me and made me tea, called the police for me to report the crime and called me a cab (which they paid for) to the police station and absolutely insisted on giving me a bit of spending money to tide me over until I sorted out my stuff.
That's probably the nicest thing a stranger has done for me.
bland3000 tells a more ordinary but nonetheless touching story:
When I was about five in the mid 70's, I was sitting on one of the mechanical horses that rock back and forth outside of a Woolworth's (i think) and playing while I was waiting for my mom who was in the store. Some lady walked by and put a quarter in to make it go. I was over the moon. It is a moment of pure joy that I've remembered vividly. I still even remember what that glorious kind stranger looked like.
What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?