36 Parents That Took Care Of Poor Strangers And Changed Their Lives Forever
Random acts of kindness can restore anyone's faith in humanity. Makes sense, doesn't it? 'Cause when you think about it, the easiest thing to do when nobody is expecting anything from you is to continue minding your own business. And we people really like easy. However, every once in a while, someone breaks the status quo, offering help to a person who needs it the most.
Recently, a wholesome story went viral on Reddit when someone shared what happened to them decades ago. Basically, a stranger "became" their parent for the moment, providing them with much needed financial help. After shedding a few tears, people started replying to it with their own similar experiences. Now, the post on r/HumansBeingBros has over 117k upvotes and 1.3k comments, restoring faith in humanity with nearly every single one of them.
This was me as a kid. My mother was mentally ill, and I lived in a very poor, very abusive household. My mother woukd allow me to go to parties, but much like school, I would arrive dirty and empty handed. I was never prepared for anything...I had no one responsible to take care of things like that. There was one particular party for a disabled girl in my class. She was wheelchair bound, and very sweet. Her mother gave me a gift to pretend was my own at the party. She then called my mother to ask if I could stay for a "sleepover". There was no sleepover planned.. It was just me. She bathed me, gave me new clothes and shoes, fed me, and showed me what a Mommy was supposed to be. She let me cuddle with her and watch movies. I didnt get a lot of physical contact at home of that nature. After the first night, she invited my sister to stay the next night as well. She did the same kindnesses for my sister and then took us to the park for a photo shoot,(she was a photographer). I still have those pictures, and I keep them up in my bedroom to remind me. I am that Mom now...to whomever I can get my hands on. I have 3 kids of my own and I always say "no gifts" for parties. I have had many kids stay at my house, and I always think of that angel that gave me hugs when I needed it the most...and I return those hugs to anyone who needs them. Thanks Chrissy's Mom.
By the official poverty measure, there were about 40M poor Americans in 2017, or 12% of the population. According to The Economist, America also does a worse job than its peers of helping the needy. "The official measure of poverty in America is inherently flawed," the magazine wrote. "It does not take cost of living into account, nor does it include benefits, meaning that the poverty-reducing effects of the earned-income tax credit or food stamps is ignored. The nature of poverty has also changed: in recent years, it has moved from cities to the suburbs."
When i was 9 years old, my primary school, my teacher and class, planned a "bring your own food" lunch. This meant that you were supposed to bring snacks, soda drinks, or even your own recipes. I didn't explain it properly to my mom, so she said "take this half empty bag of chips", which is completely unnaceptable to take anywhere, for obvious reasons. I brought to my class with a "One Punch Man face" of complete lack of understanding of how ridiculous i looked, and how humillianting and poor my family made me look like. My mom didn't try to make me look bad, nor she is a bad person, she just thought i was going somewhere with my friends and might have thought i wanted to eat something. I showed half a bag of chips to my teacher, she freaked out and told me to leave the room because if i had no food i couldn't participate. (Where the f#%k am i supposed to go now). I was the only one to leave the room and sat near a big wall outside of the building facing towards the school's gate, still inside the school perimeters. Then this random woman (probably a visitor to the school or something) came in the school, talked with me and i told her what happened. She just got up, said "I'l be right back", came back and gave me a plastic bag full, with at least 5 different chip brands (Lays,Cheetos,Ruffles, Doritos and Pringles). I had no idea what was happening, i didn't know her, and i was a total NPC just saying yes and following her around. She took me back to my class AND PRETENDED TO BE MY AUNT WHO LEFT WORK TO HELP ME, SHE LIED TO MY TEACHER. To this day, i wonder who that lady was! That is the weirdest most beautiful moment of my life.
Sadly, children are the likeliest age group to experience the effects of poverty—there are nearly 13M impoverished children currently living in America. So, while there isn't a new war on poverty in sight, efforts like these help when individual people take action and provide the hope some people desperately need.
There was a poor immigrant boy at my high school with a horrible cleft palate. He was teased constantly. One day my Mom picked me up and saw the boy. She asked me about him and I gave her some brief answers.
My mother contacted the school and got the parents information. They spoke no English, and so were too intimidated/scared to take him in for government supported health care. She walked them through the entire process over a few weeks.
He was gone for a week and returned to school looking very different. Remembering my mother's interest in him, I came home and told her "hey, that boy got surgery" Only then did I find out what she'd been up to for the last few weeks.
Caring mothers ftw.
My mom was that kind of mom. To this day, she has friends of mine that I grew up with that call her on Mother’s Day.
One of my friends lived with us for his entire senior year because his mother couldn’t deal with him being gay. He was suddenly failing school because he was just getting yelled at from the second he got home, and he couldn’t concentrate. My mom gave him a place to stay, and worked hard getting him into college. He’s doing very well now. He calls my mother “mom”, and calls his birth mother “Linda”.
I grew up in a home where no one would buy food for fear the other one would eat it. No toilet paper for the same reason. Afraid the other parent would use it. They eventually got divorced. But while living there, an elderly couple lived next door. I remember the old lady giving me PB&J sandwiches over the fence. She hand made clothes for my Barbie dolls.. I loved animals . When her poodle has puppies, she let me into her house to pet and play with them every day. This was over 50 years ago. I've never forgotten her kindness.
Holy sh*t I just helped my mom with something similar recently. We live in the Deep South, so poor kids usually don’t have heavy coats for when it drops below 40 a dozen days a year. Instead of handing coats to the poor kids and making them insecure, my mom hosts a fashion show at her school for coats where the kids get to keep them after. I spent my whole day last Monday as a judge for the fashion show where a bunch of poor kids got to pretend they were rich models for a day, and got a winter coat out of it. I swear my mom could find a way to make kids feel good about receiving any charity.
This is wonderful. I grew up poor and in fifth grade there was a gift exchange. I privately asked the teacher if I could not participate because I couldn’t afford a gift for another child. Of course I knew I wouldn’t receive a gift either. When the gift exchange came, to my surprise my name was called. My teacher had bought a few small gifts for me so I wouldn’t be excluded. I’ve never forgotten that act of generosity.
Grew up the same, never had special clothes or gifts for friends parties/bat mitzvahs/etc. When I was in 6/7th grade a friends mother took me out the day before our grade groups dance and let me buy anything I wanted from Macy's. I had just moved to the US, a very rich area, from the EU in a low income area. I got the least expensive dress in my size I could find, planning to pay most or all of it out of my own pocket, when the mother said "its easier to pay all on one (her) card". I said thank you and offered to pay for our dinner but she said no again. This continued for two years. The next morning before she left she gave me tights, shoes etc that I hadn't thought of. Thing's I'd only ever owned second or third hand. At the time I didn't realise she knew my family were broke. Its 10ish years later and I still think of her every time I buy something lavish. She never made it obvious to my friend that I was broke. Never made me feel ashamed or pittied. I keep in touch with both her kids, though we have gone different paths, I dont think they know how much their mother fed, clothed, and homed me for several years. To this day she checks up on me. It was the kindest thing a stranger with no motive has ever done for me.
Had a pretty tough growing up too. Around 6th grade went from having plenty to living in a studio apartment with my mom. Had 2 pairs of clothes to start a new school with. Moved 2 more times after that. Moved to nicer area in last one and made great friends whose parents didn’t judge when they heard about the things that had happened. When I graduated my family had no plans for party or anything. Hell my dad left right at end of ceremony because my brother was bored and they lived 3 hours away. I went to one of my best friends grad parties and his parents pulled me off to the side. His mom, step dad, and brothers had cake congrats on it for me. That family was amazing to me. They later took me in when I didn’t have place to live. And most thankful for them helping me leave the area we lived in. They were moving to another state and asked if I wanted to move with them. That was best decision I ever had. I truly believe if I stayed where I was my life would have just got worse.
I was poor growing up as well, i was good friends with my neighbors, they had 2 sons that were brothers, one brother , he was same age and we went to same middle school. His older bro was cool with me too, he was 3-4 years older , so we all would hang out and play outside and different videogames.
I didn't think i was very poor but i was. Maybe my parents raised me to a point where i thought we were ok. Then i realized how my neighbors had so much with little struggles, unlike my parents. I wouldn't think much about it, but hanging around so much, i saw it.
On a Black friday morning, my friend came early to my house and invited me to play video games, he had all the good ones too.
His mother was like " Hey, want to come shopping with us?" I didn't say much , " I can't, i dont have money and my parents would not buy me stuff i dont' really need, thanks." She convinced me to go with them for breakfast, then off to the outlets we went for the hot sales. I didn't have a dollar to my name, i was maybe 14-15 yrs old.
She bought me new Puma shoes, couple of Levi's pants and i was in disbelief as we got home. I thanked her and said i'm not sure why she bought me these things.
She sat me down , told me that i'm a real friend with nothing to hide . She said everybody needs help one way or another. She told me of kids in school bullied her younger son, name calling, hitting, just aweful things. I kind of knew this to a smaller level, he rode in a small bus, he had a hard time reading, i knew he had secial classes, it never mattered to me. We were close because of living next to each other, not sharing classes nor hanging out in lunch times.
She told me of evil things i was not aware of. She said how her son really loves playing with me, how i defused one situation when another dude was trying to hit him, talks of me all the time. He mentioned to her that my shoes were over a year old
and in school, i used same pants for like four days straight at times.
She thanked me for being a real friend to her son.
I'm 36 now, 'till this very day, every holiday, i remember her and what she did for me. It literally changed me.
I call my friend and say hello to all his fam at least twice a year. I help others in need when i can help.
I'll get a couple coats for the homeless, buy food for them when i see them hanging around the store i buy from. Heck, i'll even feed their homeless dogs. People sometimes do need help in one way or another.
When i was growing up we had close to nothing. Then came another sibling like it wasn't bad enough that 1 couldn't be supported now add on one more kid. I didn't like going to school because of the language barrier and kids are assholes, i didn't like people for what i had to endure from a very young age. Anyway i use to force myself to go to school so i can collect lunch from those that didn't eat it, i would ask for their left overs and put all that food in my backpack so i can go home after lunch and feed my sibling and myself. A lunch lady took notice after a few months and one day she had a care package for me and asked me why i would dig in the trash for food sometimes. I broke down and explained that we didn't have food to eat sometimes and we sometimes had nothing to eat. I told her that and from that day forward she would take me home after school with a box of food for a week. She also gave my mom info on how to get help and free food when needed. She became my angel sort of speak. Also had my 1st Christmas that same year and now when i notice a kid struggling i just give them what i have even if i don't have anything for myself. That lady changed my whole life and I'm really grateful that she did that. I think of how i would have ended up if she hadn't done that for me and my family as a kid and the options where pretty much just jail. Now i have my own kids and family and even if bbn i don't eat i make sure my family has what they need and mostly what they want. Yet we still help others in need when we can. Those things do have a great impact on a person for sure.
Our house always had the door open. My parents always welcomed people to join meals or just stop by.
My best friend never had a good relationship with her dad. Throughout high school my parents would invite her to stay for dinner or to stay the night so that she didn’t have to go home. Another friend’s parents kicked him out because his stepdad was a dick. He ended up living with us our whole senior year. Yet another friend got caught with pot at school. When my parents found out they had her come over, sat her down, and gave her a come to Jesus talk. She was shocked because her own parents didn’t care.
Even after high school my parents did these things. A married couple I was friends with hit hard times. My parents let them move in and live with them for a year. I moved out 4 months before my friends did. I’d come home to visit after I moved away and would always bring friends. They were always welcomed with a hug.
I’m now 35 and they haven’t changed at all. Every Sunday they have family dinner. They invite friends, people from their church, and neighbors every week. Even my friends have standing invitations. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are always big feasts and everyone is invited. We typically have at least 2 non-relatives at holiday dinners in addition to whatever family is visiting.
I strive to be as good of a person as my parents and to teach my kids the same. I will help people with food, clothes, money (if I have it), transport, or a place to sleep. If I can help, I do. My 9 yr old daughter really loves to help and share, so I know it’s sinking in somewhere.
I came into their house sobbing because my mom was being horrible in the car on the drive over. She wa pissed at me for asking for a ride over. Was going on and on about how I couldn't make friends whose parents picked me up. Jennifer's mom was great. Made me feel welcome and comforted me without ever saying one bad thing to me about my mother. That night she came down to say goodnight. She kissed her daughter and told her good night and that she loved her. Then, sh*t I'm crying writing this, she did the same to me. My parents not once kissed me or told me that they loved me. That is till the night my mother lay dying. It was just her and me in the hospital. She finally told me that she loved me. It was too late. I told her that I didn't believe her.
Ditto! For a couple of months we lived on this old apartment building in the ghetto part of town. Everybody was new to the country and/or dirt poor. It so happened it was my birthday during the couple months and my mum was throwing a small party for me and our neighbors kids. I didn't really expect any presents or anything. Then my best friend in that group realized that I didn't get presents so she went home and grabbed her favorite teddy (though it's actually a frog) for me. Seriously meant so much to me and 20 years later, I still have it. One of my favourite childhood memories though we've long lost touch.
My mom passed away when I was eleven so it was my dad taking care of myself and two brothers. This was during the recession and he worked construction so we were poor growing up while he was often laid off.
When I turned 17, I got offered a job at Victoria's Secret and was so excited but they had their "all black" dress code and I did not have the wardrobe for it at all. One of my close friends at the time mentioned something to her mom and she picked me up one day to take me to lunch and spent a couple hundred bucks on a new work wardrobe for me.
I always had plenty of support from my friend's moms since we all grew up together but this one always sticks out to me. I just hope I showed her how truly grateful I was that day.
I realize now something my mom did for a friend I had in second grade. He lived a few blocks over, with his dad raising him as a single parent. His clothes were outgrown, he was always too skinny, not really clean, all that.
The times he came over he would eat. I mean EAT. And not take the hint when it was time to leave. My mom picked up on it, and would try to have a Tupperware packed with leftovers when it was time to go.
I used to think she was just an over zealous Midwest mom, but as an adult I know she was trying to make sure my friend could eat home cooked food every week.
I can't really remember, I was too young. But we grew up poor also.
My oldest sister didn't get on the bus with myself and my other sister. Mom didn't know until we got home, and a teacher called and said Jackie (oldest) was safe and with her. They showed up about an hour later and Jackie came running through the door and showed mama her brand new shoes, and ran off to show Dana (other sister).
Teacher came walking up and gave my Mom a pair of shoes. Jackie's old ones. All tore up with big holes in the soles and falling apart. Mom broke down and just bawled on this teacher's shoulder apparently. She said her kids would never wear anything like that again, took them and hung them on a nail in her closet. Still there, 24 years later. We never went without. The family was still poor, but we kids never knew it.
Same teacher reached out to her church and let them know what was up. One day they just showed up out of the blue, whole congregation went grocery shopping for us. We apparently had more food than cabinets.
There is still good people out there, just have to look for them.
My mum runs a food business where she makes use of a lot of female immigrant workers, she ensures that she personally sets up all of their kids up to school and GPs and hospitals and usually throws big birthday parties for the mothers where all their kids are invited. My mums incredibly caring and has that big heart that almost all mothers have, I really appreciate what she does, especially since I’ve grown older.
When I was a kid the other moms in the class bought me shoes every time I needed them. They said they were left over or unneeded but I realized as an adult that all the kids in the class likely didn’t have my same shoe size and they always fit well.
I’m by no means rich but I’m not hurting either. My best friend is a single mom with several kids. She does her best for the kids. But they need a lot of attention and she has no family support. I always make sure they have things. I took them back to school shopping, I’ve taken each of the kids out for their birthdays. I made sure they got to go vacation this last year. I have a cousin in a similar situation, divorced with several kids. But her kids are spoiled rotten and she doesn’t pay a lot of attention to them. Ive gotten them things occasionally and they never appreciated the gift and trashed it almost immediately. So screw family. My friends kids always say thank you. But what broke my heart and made me dedicate to taking care of them was when i had promised them (friends kids and mine) that we would go out and for whatever reason we didnt get to. One of her sons, when i said ill take you another day, looked broken then said “promise?” My heart broke. I realized that his dad always promises the world and then nothing, cant even be bothered to visit. That moment i was like I will be there for this kid. I will show him and his siblings good people exist
This reminded me of the story I read here about a mom always making two sandwiches for lunch for her son. He would give one sandwich to his best friend since they always ate together. Only when he grew up he found out that his mom knew his best friend's parents were druggies or something, and that probably was the only good meal he got all day.
I grew up on the opposite end of this, parents were well off. At Christmas when we went shopping for gifts for my friends, my mom made me pick out extra presents (male and female) and give them to the poorest kid/quiet kid/bully to make sure every kid in the class felt like they had a friend and weren't left out. It was extremely embarrassing for me at the time, I hated it. Now, as an adult, I'm grateful that my mom made me do this every year. It taught me to recognize and be appreciative of others, and I think I became a much nicer overall person for it. I hope that those people are like you and look back at it fondly.
In 8th grade my whole class was going for a graduation trip and we had to fill out that trip consent form. My teacher pulled me to the side and asked me why I hadn't turned mine in. I told him I didn't have the money. The next day I got called into the principal's office and was told that I would get to go on the trip.
I was poor growing up but I grew up in an area where everyone was poor (born in the 80s in a small town in Scotland) so my neighbourhood we all kind of pulled together.
Unfortunately my dad was the local criminal/alcoholic, I can remember eavesdropping on my mum talking to her friend about how my teacher actually offered to babysit me and my sisters whilst my mum worked her night cleaning job when my dad was on one of his many stays in prison.
I never really understood the significance until I was older.
So when i was younger i lived in China, my dad had to escape the country due to political persecution. My mom was laid off and lived on early "pension" they called it. We sometimes didn't have money for breakfast, and needed to feed me food.
Now regardless you believe a god exist or not, i to this day still believe in divine intervention to good people:
We would walk home sometimes (obviously my mom didn't tell me and i was too young to realize), we would find ten yuan or 5 yuan lying right at our front door. We didn't have a neighbour to the right of our hall so no one could have dropped their money accidently, so either it was the neighbour on our left or the money magically appeared outta nowhere. Everytime it was the exact amount to feed me at the breakfast market.
I know it might be stupid to some of you guys to think that a divine being is doing it ,but in my mind God is real, and i am thankful for it everyday.
This is turning into a mum appreciation thread, so don't mind me joining in. Our house was always the "everyones welcome" house. There were 3 of us kids anyway, but every night we'd have 1-3 kids extra for dinner. Both my sister and I also had a friend who often felt unwelcome in their home and they stayed with us a lot. My sisters friend actually stayed with us for weeks. One of my friends once called me super late saying her mum had kicked her out and my mum had zero hesitation of letting her come stay with us until needed.
Always been grateful for having such a fab and caring mum, but her generosity and caring nature towards so many other people is what makes her an actual great person in general. I'll def be having an open house policy for my kids and their friends too!
I was that same poor kid growing up. My friends' mom always treated me like her own and would fix meals and snacks while i was there, even pack up food for me to take home, and on several occasions invited me over on thanksgiving and Christmas so that i could have something to eat. Often whenever i was there to play video games with my friend i hadnt eaten in days. Ill never forget my "mom" who was more of a mother to me than my birth mom. She not only fed me, but made me feel valued and for as long as i stayed over i felt at home.
I grew up in a similar situation, it was the people like that mom that ignored where I lived, ignored my parent’s names in the police logs and treated me like a regular kid that made me realize I was not the situation I was in.
It’s so easy to judge someone instead of actually taking the time to make a difference.
I just saw a story of a dad whose son was being bullied by a kid at school. Instead of getting mad at the bully, he got permission from his parents to talk to him. He ended up finding out that the kid was bullying people because he was being bullied for the clothes he wore because his parents weren’t well off. The dad bought the kid a bunch of a clothes and made the two boys talk it out. Now they’re friends!
I grew up poor as well, didnt realize it untill about 6th grade. Used to go dumpster diving for fun as a kid while my mom would do lookout so we wouldn't get caught, and to me that would sometimes be the highlight of my day. My best friend at the time had some awesome parents, they knew of my situation the first time they took me home. That same summer they started letting me stay the night for a week at a time, only bringing me home to get new clothes or if they had something important that they couldn't bring me with them to. When they eventually moved away when i was in 3rd grade i realized how much time i spent with them and how much they had been doing for me.
When I was in 8th grade, my home room/English teacher and I formed a special friendship. She knew my mom wasn’t in the picture. We had a formal dance and middle school graduation coming up, so she took me shopping. My dad gave me enough money to buy one dress, so my teacher paid for my formal dress. We went and ate pizza with her family after.
Same bud. I feel ya. One time I was so poor that my clothes were absolutely gross and disgusting. One time at a sleepover, the mom of the kid took me a side, showered me and put me in clean clothes. Will forever be thankful tonthat mom because it saved me of a night of teasing.
I’m in the middle of that situation right now. I’m 16 and both my parents are struggling. My dad doesn’t have a job, and my mom works at a law attorney with an asshole boss. My friends parents have helped tremendously and I cannot thank them enough.
I was not poor at all and lived in upper middle class white people land, but had the same thing happen to me at a birthday party. My mom was a bit detatched, and I grew up with my friends mother's as surrogates. One of my good friends, his mom used to pack him extra gushers in his lunch bag for me. Not only did she do this kindness for me, but my friend resisted eating them himself too!
I remember back when I was about 6, I had a birthday party with my friends and at some point during the party I was looking for one of my friend.
I heard my dad speaking with my friend's family, so I went to my front yard, where I saw my dad give my friend 50$ to put inside a birthday card his family brought.
To be honest I only realized the situation about 10 years later when I remembered it.
I would have never thought about that my friend was poor. I remember my buddy being happy to give me the card, 50$ as a kid was a lot ! That was a cool move from my dad.
Well, I know what I'm doing on my daughter's next birthday.
She's very good friends with a refugee in our village - he's one of 6 kids being taken care of by a single father. The boy is out later than everyone else, going from friend's house to friend's house looking for someone to play with and somewhere to get more attention than he does at home. Some days, we are busy with something else or my daughter doesn't want to play and it is a bit heartbreaking to send him away.
He is a great and happy kid, well-behaved and creative. I never really thought about how he might be aware of what he doesn't have compared to everyone else, but I think this is a perfect way to help him to deal with that if it is an issue for him.