There’s no denying that the world can be a dark and scary place sometimes. But, there are also glimmers of light, which shine brighter the more we celebrate and are inspired by them.
However, no light shines brighter than that of people who show kindness to others – and thankfully, there’s no shortage of those. In fact, a global study of people on five continents found that humans help each other every two minutes and answer calls for help far more often than they reject them.
The University of Sussex’s kindness study also revealed that 43% of people said that someone had been kind to them within the last day, and that 70% of people in the UK felt that the pandemic had made people kinder.
With that said, we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate some of the most heartwarming acts of kindness from across the globe.
From the woman who’d given a loving home to 900 stray animals in Morocco to the UK village who collected money for a retiring postman, here are 16 wonderful ways people have spread smiles.
1. People are committing random acts of crochet kindness
Almost 300,000 members of the UK-based public Facebook group, Random Acts of Crochet Kindness, have been sharing their crochet creations with strangers in an attempt to brighten someone’s day.
Crocheted items have so far included everything from bumble bees and worms to aliens and gnomes – and a note is attached to each one to let the finder know that the gift is theirs to keep. Some notes also encourage finders to share photos of their treasure with the Facebook group, so they can see what’s been found and understand how it might have helped.
One crochet fish, which the finder named ‘Silva the Salmon’ was left with a note that read, “I’m not lost, I’m just alone. If you found me and I make you smile, please take me home.”
2. Villagers collected £1600 for a retiring postman
When villagers in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, heard that their local postman was retiring, they surprised him with a party in their local pub and a cheque for £1600.
Terry Grazier, who had worked delivering mail in the area for over 40 years, was met by a chorus of cheers and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow – and councillor Karen May, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, presented his cheque after villagers donated online.
In an interview with the BBC, Ms May said, “A postie is front and centre of your community. They’re the person that checks if they haven’t seen someone for a while. To have collected this amount of money as well just shows how much he is cared about and how much we will miss him.”
3. Plumber set up free plumbing services for people in need
In 2017, plumber James Anderson set up Depher – a registered Community Initiative Company, which provides free plumbing services for elderly, disabled, and vulnerable people during the winter. This includes emergency works such as installing new boilers and heating systems, repairing gas leaks, and providing running hot water to those without it.
Depher relies on public donations and has so far supported over 17,000 people. During the pandemic, the team also helped to distribute food and personal protective equipment to their local community.
4. Stranger left a note for a woman struggling with her ‘hopeless love life’
Twenty-one-year-old Karyn Vallantyne, from Basildon, Essex, experienced an act of kindness from a stranger on the train. Karen was on the phone, telling her friend about her ‘hopeless love life’ when someone dropped a note in her lap which moved her to tears.
The message said “You’re worth more! Move on”, with a small heart drawn beside it.
Speaking to The Mirror, Karyn, said, “[…]When I read it, I just burst into tears. I looked up to see if I could see her. There were loads of other people looking at me and I got really embarrassed.
“My friend was on the phone asking if I was still there because I couldn’t speak. It was really lovely, I was in fits of tears.[…]”
5. Woman feeds local dogs for free in Canada
Kaya Kristina lives next door to Toronto’s High Park, which is popular with dogs – and after noticing how thirsty they looked after their walks, she began leaving out bowls of water.
Then, during the pandemic, Kaya decided to extend her offerings, leaving a menu of free ‘treats’ for the pups to enjoy, which included liver bites and 100% natural chicken tenders. She also added a ‘stick library’ where dogs could come and select their stick of choice.
You can check out the success of her efforts on the @highparkpups Instagram account.
6. Former teacher is helping children learn to read at 91
Ninety-one-year-old Diana Iddles is teaching children to read from her living room. The former teacher, who lives in Wolverhampton, works with five children online through the Bookmark Reading Charity. She’s delivered more than 230 reading sessions since she signed up as a volunteer in 2021.
Diana told the BBC that the work filled a “huge hole” in her life after her husband passed away. She said, “It’s made life worth living, I’ve got some purpose and it’s so rewarding.”
7. ‘Lonely bouquets’ are left by kind florist
In May this year, florist Fay Trowbridge, began leaving ‘lonely bouquets’ around the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil to help shine a light on Mental Health Awareness Month.
Fay said she wanted to spread positivity and happiness, telling the BBC, “Even if I only make one person smile, to me that’s better than none.” And that she did!
Expectant mother, Jodie Warren, was out for a walk on her baby’s due date when she found a lonely bouquet of tulips. She said, “It really brightened my morning and felt like such a coincidence that I had found them on such a special day.”
“Flowers can symbolise so many special things without needing any words.
“I was feeling impatient and wondering how much longer I’d have to wait until he arrived and the flowers felt like a sign or message that he wouldn’t be long…then I went into labour the next day.”
8. London charity, Cardboard Citizens are offering the homeless free theatre tickets and workshops
For over 25 years, London-based charity, Cardboard Citizens, has been working to make theatre more accessible to people experiencing homelessness, inequity, and poverty, and help change lives as a result.
By becoming a member for free, people can access art and theatre workshops.
Cardboard Citizens have also organised an initiative called Ticket Bank, which provides free tickets to music, theatre, dance, and comedy in London for people who can’t afford to go. Before a show, unsold tickets are offered to those in need for no charge.
9. Woman donated her wedding dress after getting married in a hospice
Sharon Arrowsmith, from Aylesbury, married her husband Russ 13 days before he passed away at age 68. Russ had a rare blood cancer and, after having a stem transplant, the cancer returned and he was told he was terminal.
Speaking to the BBC, Sharon said, “My beautiful, funny husband, Russ, proposed to me on a hospital trolley. Russ was ill, really ill, but I said yes anyway – because he wasn’t just my partner, he was my best friend.”
Sharon and Russ got married in the hospice that cared for him, and the staff helped them make the arrangements. Then, after Russ died, Sharon donated her wedding dress to the hospice so it could be sold to raise funds. She said, “I hope the person who purchases my dress feels as special as I did on my wedding day.”
10. Man used bare hands to rescue trapped gold miners in Africa
Earlier this year, following heavy rain, a gold mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, trapping nine miners. In an attempt to free them, a man was captured on video using his bare hands to clear the rubble and debris from the entrance.
In the video, people can be heard cheering, as one by one, the trapped miners are able to crawl to safety.
11. Woman gave her kidney to a stranger she met on the beach
In 2019, 44-year-old Lucy Humprey was told that, without a kidney transplant, she may only have five years left to live. Lucy, from Caerphilly, had been living with lupus for more than a decade and a half – a condition that causes the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys to become inflamed.
But, in 2021, Lucy and her partner, Cenydd, took their dogs and went for a staycation in their campervan. And after setting themselves up in a spot overlooking Cold Knap Beach, in Barry, their dog Indie took a particular interest in a woman called Katie James about 100 yards away.
Lucy invited Katie – who was going through a difficult time herself – to join their barbecue and a chat revealed that she had just joined the kidney donation register. So, in a twist of fate, the women swapped numbers, and it later turned out that Katie’s kidney was a match for Lucy.
In an interview with the BBC, Lucy said, “[…]I really needed this transplant, I’d been on the waiting list for several years. It’s completely changed my life already.[…]”
12. Team of bakers provided free bread to those in need during the Ukraine war
Anna Makievska is the owner of an artisan bakery in Kyiv, Ukraine, called The Bakehouse, which she spent years and US$1.5m building.
But when the Russia-Ukraine war started, The Bakehouse was forced to close. So, instead, Anna and her team baked in the basement and gave it for free to soldiers, hospitals, the elderly, and people who had been injured in the war.
In her article in The Guardian, Anna explains the challenges of baking in a war zone; from finding and delivering good quality ingredients to members of the team being unable to make it into work. Yet, despite this, Bakehouse staff were able to make 450 to 1,000 free loaves every day.
13. Stranger rescued man’s teddy bear from a peak near Glencoe
This summer, a teddy bear was rescued from a peak near Glencoe after his owner, Alastair Tyson, accidentally left him at the top. Alastair has climbed 50 Munros with his mascot ‘Mini Tyson’, taking a photo of him on every summit – and he even took the bear on his honeymoon.
As someone who’s very camera shy, Alastair used the teddy bear as a stand-in for holiday photos. But after leaving him behind on Buachaille Etive Beag, he put out a post on social media, calling for help.
People began sharing the post and tagging friends who might be able to help – and, the next day, a man who lived nearby got in touch to say that he had found and rescued Mini Tyson.
Alastair told the BBC, “He said he was a bit wet but he was safe at home and recuperating in his front room. I offered him money to say thank you but he said no and asked that it be donated to his local playgroup. Which I think is just wonderful – obviously it’s a child’s toy and I’m quite happy to donate that money to a children’s playgroup so they can get some new toys too.”
14. German empowerment project teaches women to bike ride for free
The #BIKEYGEES e.V. is a German empowerment project that’s offered free cycling lessons for women and girls since 2015. The aim is to help break down borders around origin, religion, and status so that every woman can learn to cycle.
#BIKEYGEES e.V. is financed through donations and run by volunteers, and they’ve so far provided 1024 bike lessons and donated 602 bike sets.
15. Two nurses rushed to help newborn babies during an earthquake in Turkey
In February of this year, a series of huge earthquakes struck south-eastern Turkey, near the border of Syria, killing thousands of people.
Instead of fleeing to safety, two nurses at a Gaziantep hospital ran into the neonatal unit to hold the baby incubators steady and stop them from falling over.
The nurses have been recognised by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) for their “courage and dedication” as they continued to work through the devastating aftermath.
16. Woman provides a safe haven for over 900 stray animals in Morocco
Growing up, Sally Kadaoui, always dreamt of being able to end the suffering of stray animals by taking them home to love and care for them. So, in 2013, in Tangier, Morocco, she began rescuing them and getting them the vet care they needed.
Before long, she had rescued 50 animals and needed more space to keep them, so she moved to a large piece of land 23km outside of Tangier.
SFT Animal Sanctuary is now a loving home to over 900 animals – many of which were at risk of being euthanised. This includes 400 dogs (15 of which are on wheels), 120 cats, 30 donkeys, and many more.
SFT is also passionate about changing attitudes towards animals by going into schools to teach children about their work and explain how important it is to care for any living creature. Anna and her team hope that, in doing so, they will encourage human empathy towards animals and end cruelty and mistreatment.
It’s sometimes easy to forget about all the good that goes on in the world – but we hope that this article has been a helpful reminder.
For more positive news stories, you might want to check out our list of 20 happy facts to make your day a little better.
Which of the kind acts above was your favourite? Do you have any other acts of kindness that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.