10 Inspiring Acts of Generosity, Performed by Ordinary People

10 Inspiring Acts of Generosity, Performed by Ordinary People

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Today, we don’t often hear about kindness from strangers. Most of us are so involved with our own lives that we sometimes miss the things that are happening around us. This is why it can lift our spirits and make us feel better when we hear stories of strangers doing something completely unexpected. For some, generosity runs deep and they go the extra mile to make someone’s day. Here, we are listing some amazing stories of people who performed incredible acts with their generosity.

1. Since 1988, James Robertson has been walking for more than 21 miles every day, to and from work. When a local college student set up a GoFundMe page for him, hoping to collect $25,000, for a brand new car, people donated more than $350,000 and the local Ford dealership also gave him a brand new car.

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Image: ABC News/YouTube

James Robertson, 56, from Detroit, is an average working man. He was a factory line worker who earned $10 per hour. After saving up for a used car, Robertson finally purchased a Honda Accord in 1988, which unfortunately only ran for three months. Determined to not give up, he started walking every day to and from work. Whether it was raining or snowing, Robertson walked, never taking a day off. In 2015, a local bank manager, who was working comfortably in his office, noticed a man walking every day at the same time, five days a week. Curious to learn as to why he wasn’t driving, one day he offered him a ride and thus they became good friends. After learning that Robertson had been walking for more than two decades to work, the manager called a local Detroit newspaper, hoping to run his story.

After the story was aired, Evan Leedy, 19, a college student, was determined to help. He setup a GoFundMe page and was overwhelmed with the donations, which came to more than $350,000. When a local Ford dealership heard of Robertson’s story, they invited him to come in and presented him with a brand new Ford Taurus. When asked what he think of his brand new car, Robertson replied, “It’s like me. Soft on the outside but tough on the inside”. (source)

2. Major Phil Packer lost use of both his legs after being injured while serving in Iraq. Doctors told him he would never walk again but he was determined to not give up. The strong-willed man underwent extreme rehabilitation training and walked more than 50,000 steps for a charity event. He raised more than $722,937 (£637,000) for Help For Heroes—a charity for wounded servicemen and military vets.

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Image: Southbanksteve/Wikimedia

In 2008, Major Phil Packer was serving in Iraq when he was involved in a rocket attack. The incident severely damaged both of his legs and doctors informed him that he would never walk again. Determined to walk and to prove his doctors wrong, Packer started going through immense rehabilitation training. He trained for six hours every day for almost a year and in 2009, he was walking on his own with the help of crutches.

In order to help his fellow veterans and to prove that he’s completely capable, Packer walked the London Marathon. After almost 50,000 steps, he triumphantly crossed the finish line, walking 26 miles (42 kms) in a period of two weeks. His efforts paid off, since Packer was able to get national attention and with their help, he was able to raise more than $722,937 (£637,000) for Help For Heroes—a charity for wounded servicemen and military vets. (source)

3. Dan Black, a British man, was paralyzed after a cycling accident. He saved up more than $22,000 (£20,000) for a surgery that could have helped him walk again. However, when he heard about a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy, who could walk normally with the help of a surgery, Dan donated his savings. Today, Brecon Vaughan is able to walk thanks to Dan and his generosity.

Dan Black, a British man, loved music, cycling and his life. However, his life came to a halt when he was involved in an accident that paralyzed his legs and his right arm. He requires around-the-clock care and uses a wheelchair to move around. Wanting to get his life back to normal, Dan started saving up for a stem-cell treatment, that could possibly allow him to walk again. His friends, family and neighbors were all generous and donated, which gave him a second chance. At the same time, Dan read about Brecon Vaughan, a 5-year-old who had cerebral palsy.

Vaughan’s parents were struggling to save up for a surgery, that would allow their son to walk. Although the stem cell treatment could have turned his life around, Dan couldn’t see Vaughan struggle, so, he donated his entire savings. Soon after the donation, Vaughan and his family flew to the US and underwent the surgery. Today, Vaughan is able to walk without assistance or crutches, thanks to Dan and his generosity. In an interview, when asked what he thought about donating money, Dan responded: “I’d had 22 years of walking before my accident whereas Brecon had never known what it was like even for 22 seconds. To me, it wasn’t a big thing to give the money to him. If more people did that sort of thing, the world would be a much nicer place”. (source)

4. Stephen Sutton was just 15 when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. When doctors gave him less than a year to live, Sutton made a list of 46 things he wanted to do, and at the top of the list was to raise £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Before cancer took him, Sutton raised more than £3.2 million for the charity.

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Image: Flickr

Stephen Sutton was an English blogger, who is also known for his charity work. Despite being diagnosed with bowel cancer, he continued his passion for education. In 2012, the straight A student had interviews at Cambridge University to study medicine. However, when doctors came back with the results and told him that his cancer was incurable, he withdrew his applications and made a bucket list of things he wanted to do before the cancer took away his dreams.

Sutton was diagnosed with stage 3B colorectal cancer at the age of 15 and at the age of 17, it was deemed untreatable. He insisted on asking doctors how long he had left but doctors advised him that he shouldn’t expect more than a year. With what little time he had left, Sutton made a blog called Stephen’s Story and posted 46 goals he wanted to complete. With the help of many generous men and women, Sutton completed 45 of them. His last and the top most goal was to raise $11,337 (£10,000) for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

After posting his request on social media, many celebrities, as well as more than 100,000 people, donated to his goal and raised $3.63 million (£3.2 million) within just a few days. In 2014, Sutton finally succumbed to cancer but his mother still continues to fulfill his legacy. On May 14, 2016, the second anniversary of Sutton’s death, generous strangers were still donating, and his goal of £10,000, was surpassed by £5.5 million. Today, his beloved mother Jane continues to keep his dreams alive by helping others through her charity work. (source)

5. Mark Bustos is a New York hairstylist who spends his Sundays (the only day he has off of work) walking the city’s streets giving free haircuts to the homeless – people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

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Image: Mark Bustos/Instagram

Mark Bustos is a hair stylist at an upscale salon in New York City. Three Squares Studio, one of the most lavish hairdressers in all of New York City, has celebrity clients including Naomi Campbell, Chris Evans, and Aaron Paul. Bustos works six days a week and on Sundays, the only day he has off, he spends his time roaming Union Square, giving haircuts to homeless who can’t afford to get one.

Bustos has been helping the homeless since 2012, when he traveled to the Philippines to visit family members. While abroad, he paid an owner of a barbershop to rent a chair and provide services to impoverished children in need of a fresh look. “The feeling was so rewarding, I decided to bring the positive energy back to NYC,” Bustos, 30, told The Huffington Post in an email, noting he’s also given haircuts to the needy in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Los Angeles. According to Bustos, of all the people he has helped over the years, one particular man sticks out. “Jemar Banks — I’ll never forget the name. After offering him a haircut and whatever food he wanted to eat, he didn’t have much to say throughout the whole process, until after I showed him what he looked like when I was done … The first thing he said to me was, ‘Do you know anyone that’s hiring?’”.

While Bustos provides the free haircut, he is often accompanied by his girlfriend, who asks recipients what food they’d like to eat. “One response we’ve gotten is, ‘Nobody ever asks me what I actually want. I usually just get leftovers and scraps’”. (source)

6. In the terrible aftermath of 9/11, the Masai tribe in Kenya wanted to show its support for the United States and its people. So, the tribesmen donated 14 cows, one of its most precious resources, as a major gesture of goodwill.

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Image: Justin Porter/Pixabay

The Masai people are a semi-nomadic tribe who live in Kenya and Tanzania. They are dependent on cows, since they provide the tribesmen with milk, and dung, which is dried and used to insulate their huts from heat. Cattle is an important part of their culture and most families survive with the help of these animals. At the same time, the Masai are known for their generosity. When one of the tribes members and Masai warrior named Wilson Kimel Naiyomah informed them that he wished to go to school, become and doctor and serve his people, the tribe sold cattle and raised $5,000 in 1996 and sent him to school.

When the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001, the Masai were unaware of it until 2002. When Naiyomah returned to his home for a visit in 2002, he told the story from his perspective as a witness and informed student. The villagers were saddened by the loss of life and felt that they had to do something to help the United States in their time of need. Naiyomah offered one of his cows and asked the elders to bless it. Instead of just a blessing, the elders of the tribe donated 13 of their cows as a gift to America.

“The cow is almost the center of life for us,” said Mr. Naiyomah. “It’s sacred. It’s more than property. You give it a name. You talk to it. You perform rituals with it. I don’t know if you have any sacred food in America, something that has a supernatural feel as you eat it. That’s the cow for us. The gift was meant to help Americans through their time of sorrow.”

Since transporting cattle overseas is a tough job, they stayed in Kenya. In 2006, the US ambassador to Kenya decided that the cattle will be sold and funds used to provide educational opportunities for Masai children. To thank the Masai for their kind gesture, the US provided high school scholarships for 14 students. (source)

7. After winning the lottery, Rachel Lapierre used the funds to create her own nonprofit foundation that helps people in need. Lapierre’s nonprofit has spent around $70,000 on operations all around the world.

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Image: LeBookHumanitaire

When most of us would think of buying an expensive sports car or a million dollar mansion after winning the lottery, one woman pursued her dream of becoming a humanitarian. Rachel Lapierre, a former Miss Quebec, was running her own modeling agency and working as a nurse in 2013, when she won a lifetime salary of C$1,000 (£605) a week in the Quebecois lottery “Gagnant à vie”, or “winner for life”.

“At first I couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t celebrate or shout it from the rooftop because I had made a promise to the universe and I was determined to keep it. I wanted to do something I loved for the rest of my life. I wanted to help others,” she says.

Following her dreams, Lapierre quit her job and set up her own charity, Le Book Humanitaire. The non-profit organization connects those in need with people who can help. Some of the charity work the organization undertakes is driving a cancer patient to and back from a doctor’s appointment. According to the BBC, Lapierre’s nonprofit has spent around $70,000 on operations and most of the charity’s .  donations go to schools, hospitals and communities in impoverished countries. (source)

8. Shelby Hudgens, a homeless man, spent hours helping push stuck cars up a slippery, snow covered street in Colorado. One of the men he helped was overpowered by Hudgens’ generosity and setup a GoFundMe page, that raised more than $23,000 for him to get back on his feet.

Shelby Hudgens was working in an assisted living facility and dreaming of becoming a certified medical assistant but his dreams were derailed. After being evicted and left with no other choice, Hudgens began living in his car along with his dog. When a snowstorm hit Colorado Springs in 2015, Hudgens noticed that cars were having trouble going through a snow covered street, so he rushed to help. With limited clothing to keep him warm, the homeless man pushed one car after another to help fellow samaritans.

His generosity however, did not go unnoticed. A passerby saw Hudgens helping strangers and took a video, which then made headlines in the local TV channels. Soon after that, his story went viral and strangers from all around the world started donating to help him get back on his feet. An anonymous person put him up in a hotel, while another started a GoFundMe account, and a third offered him a job. He added, “I’d rather make the world a better place. It’s not all about me and I’ve got enough to get by”. (source)

9. When a group of firefighters who had spent more than 24 hours battling the blaze at a local warehouse went to eat at a diner, the waitress, Liz Woodward, brought them a thank you note instead of the bill. In order to pay it forward, the firefighters made a plea to donate to the woman who was struggling to buy her father a wheelchair accessible van. Their efforts paid off when locals donated more than $67,000 in a few days.

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Image: Josh Appel

In 2015, a group of New Jersey firefighters went to eat at a local diner after an extremely long shift. They had just battled a blaze that lasted more than 24 hours and were exhausted. Liz Woodward was the waitress who took their order and upon delivering their food, she also delivered a note thanking them. “Your breakfast is on me today,” the note read, along with little drawings of a fire ax and helmet. “Thank you for all that you do”.

Her generosity touched Firefighter Tim Young, who posted the picture on Facebook and urged people to eat at the diner where she worked. That’s when Young found out that Liz had a GoFundMe campaign that she was using to raise $17,000 to buy her father a wheelchair-accessible van. “Turns out, the young lady who gave us a free meal is really the one that could use the help,” Young wrote in another post. Young pleaded to the public, asking to help the kind woman and his efforts paid off. In less than a month, locals donated more than $67,000 — $50,000 above her goal. “This is just one example of how so many people in this world have incredible hearts and they pay it forward, so the circle keeps on moving,” Woodward told TODAY. (source)

10. Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man was asking for change when a stranger emptied her purse into his change cup. Unintentionally, she dropped her diamond engagement ring, which Harris returned to her the next day. For his honesty, the woman’s fiancé raised more than $190,000, so that Harris can get back on his feet.

Billy Ray Harris was homeless and depending on strangers’ generosity to get by. One day, Sarah Darling, who was walking home, decided to give Harris all the change she had in her purse. Unintentionally, she dropped her diamond ring in his cup. He debated selling it, since it would provide him with enough money to rent a motel for a month and get off the streets, but decided to hold onto it instead in case the woman returned. As expected, a worried Sarah returned the next day, asking for the ring. Without hesitation, Harris returned the ring.

Sarah and her fiancé were surprised by his act and decided to help him. They set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of $1,000. However, when the story of his goodwill was heard, people from all over the world donated more than $190,000. Harris now owns a car and has put a down payment on a home. He hopes to launch a house painting company, too. (source)

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