25 Stories Of Remarkable Strangers Who Left An Impression, Shared By Netizens
In the vast tapestry of human connections, some threads are woven with strangers whose brief presence leaves an indelible mark on our memories. Recently, a Reddit user posed a thought-provoking question that stirred a wave of heartfelt responses: “Who is a stranger you still remember and why?”
The ensuing collection of stories serves as a poignant reminder of the unexpected impact that chance encounters can have on our lives. Scroll below to read some of them.
More info: Reddit
20 years ago I’m in high school and my truck broke down on the side of the road. Busy offramp from a busy highway and a guy stopped behind me, drove me to the nearest store to buy more oil, and took me back to my truck and didn’t ask for or expect a thing. I’m iffy on the memory but he might have even bought the oil for me.
I was a shaved head angry looking ginger kid, and he was a black adult man, probably in his 30s. I wouldn’t have stopped for me, but he did.
I’ve told this story before, but it’s definitely a stranger I will never forget, so here is a copy/paste:
When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money, so we often shopped at thrift stores. What I loved about that was that you could get 10 books for a dollar, so I would plant myself in front of the book section and make piles of which one I wanted to get and then decided after I’d gone through them all.
One day an older lady saw me sitting with my piles and asked if I liked to read. I told her I did and showed her a few of the books I found that I liked. She smiled and then pulled a dollar out of her purse, handed it to me and said, “Promise me that you’ll keep reading.” I was so happy and immediately stood up and said that I would. She smiled and walked away and I went back to my piles able to pick out an extra 10 books to take home.
It was just a small act of kindness for her, but for me having a random stranger encourage my love of reading and making me promise to never stop definitely had a lot to do with my continued love of reading. This was probably about 20 years or so ago, but I still think of her whenever I buy a new book.
10 months ago, I got into a horrific motorcycle accident and found myself laying on the street dying. The ground was scorching as I live in arizona where we often have temperatures pushing 120° F. I was being cooked alive by the pavement until a passerby jumped out of his work truck, picked me up and put me on a moving blanket. I dont remember his face but I remember his actions. He called an ambulance and waited with me until they came. Whoever you are, thank you. You deserve more than a comment on reddit. If for some reason you are reading this, PM me please. I still have your moving blanket.
Edit: My wreck happened between Recker and McDowell on the 202 in the 90° curve. Not sure if that might help find this guy.
When I first started working at best buy in the TV department a probably 50 something year old women came in about 15 minutes before close. She said she wanted the best TV we had and being the excited new guy I happily brought her back to the LG OLED which at the time was our best quality TV.
I rattled off all the specs to her and yadda yadda, eventually she said she’ll take one. I was ecstatic, at this point in time OLED technology was very new and the store had only sold a couple of them before. I start ringing her out, ask for her number so I can look up her rewards account. I notice her address is in Florida and trying to make conversation I ask “what brings you to (Rochester MN)” she replies “Oh I’m here for the Mayo Clinic, I have stage 4 cancer”. Needless to say that killed my happy mood right there.
I said I was sorry about that but that she was in the best possible hands at mayo. She agreed but told me she already knew she was going to die in a couple months and that’s why she was buying such a nice TV, to view pictures and videos and experience the world as close to real life as her ailing body would let her.
Eventually we got to the point where the register prompted me to offer her an extended warranty plan. Out of instinct I did and immediately regretted it. What would someone who only has a couple months left want an extended warranty for? Luckily she took it well and just laughed saying that was a pretty good deal for a “lifetime warranty”. What she asked me next is what really stuck with me though.
She said “I obviously don’t need a warranty but if I buy it does it help you at all?” I told her technically yes because the company does track that stuff and it comes up during annual reviews, but she didn’t need to buy one just for me it doesn’t matter that much. But she insisted and said what ever little thing she could do to help me out she would do. After going back and forth for a bit I finally relented and added it to the transaction.
This is a good point to mention the TV was not her only purchase, she bought tons of other things aswell (soundbar, bluetooth speakers, small appliances, router, etc) her grand total ended up being over $8,000. Needless to say this was my biggest sale up until that point.
On top of that she wanted to give me a $100 bill as a Tip! I refused saying she had already given enough and should spend it on herself, besides bestbuy policy doesn’t allow us to collect tips. With my manager standing right there she said Ok and we headed out to her car to load all the product up.
After I had helped her load her stuff up we went to shake hands and I thanked her for being so generous and wished her luck on her chemo treatment. As she pulled away I look down and saw the sneaky woman had dropped the $100 bill on the ground right in front of me. I yelled out multipal times as she was getting in the car. I tried to run up to her window bill in hand when she saw me in the mirror smiled and just told her caregiver to floor it.
So there I was. $100 richer and 1000 times more humble. As a 17 year old she had such a profound impact on my outlook on life in such a short time frame its hard to put in words what that feels like.
RIP Mary I’ll never forget you.
When I was about 13 or 14 my phone ran out when I was waiting for a bus, but I realised my bus wasn’t arriving for two hours as it was a Sunday night and I don’t live in a big city, so bus times are varied.
I knew I had to call my parents but I was very shy and too nervous to ask anybody. But a really lovely mother noticed I was looking very anxious and came and asked if i was okay. She let me use her phone, but then she also stayed with me until my bus came because it was late at night and she didn’t want me there alone.
I think about her a lot. She was so caring and loving.
When I was about 19-20 I had long hair (I’m a guy). Hair literally down most of my back. I got on a train and it was really crowded but I was able to find an empty spot near the door in between carriages. Nobody else was coming that way so I sat on the floor.
The train isn’t departing for another 10 minutes so this old man heads out the door to have a cigarette. He looks at me and says that I should sit with him and his friends – that we’ll have a great time. I said “uh… I’m fine here. But thanks…”. But he insisted: “I’m serious, you’ll have a great time!”. Again, I tell him “No I’m really okay here”.
He finishes his cigarette, gets back on the train, walks over to me and grabs me by the arm and stops – notices my five o’ clock shadow and immediately let’s go saying “Oh, you’re a man…” and walks away in disgust.
Left me thinking what an absolute f*****g creep.
When I was a young boy at Disney, my family went to Typhoon Lagoon, and the biggest slide there was Summit Plummet. It was rainy that day, so all the local Floridians fled, and we ruled the roost.
I decided to take advantage of the reduced line-up to go check out what Summit Plummet looked like from the top, knowing there was no way I’d actually go down it.
It only took a few minutes of waiting to get to the front of the line. Normally, I’ve heard it can be as bad as 40 minutes. I looked down and saw it was just as terrifying as I imagined. I nodded sagely to myself for correctly guessing it was scary, and turned to leave.
A hand from above came down and stopped me. A European-accented man asked me where I was going.
I looked up. He was on his 20s. I told him I was never going to go down it, I just wanted to see what it looked like.
He told me that the slide was guaranteed safe, no way Disney would have it open if it wasn’t, etc etc.
I wasn’t having it.
He got down on one knee and told me that if I didn’t do this, I’d regret it forever, and I’d always live my life afraid and never do anything exciting. He told me I had to take life by the horns and live.
Finally, he asked me for my name. I told him. He stood up and shouted to everyone in the line-up, “let’s cheer for !name! He can do this!”
And sure enough, the whole (kinda short) line-up began chanting my name.
I knew that I had to do it then.
I sat down at the slide, and emptied my mind of all thoughts. I reached a zen state of awareness and commanded my hands to push without thinking about anything, and zoomed off.
It was awesome. I did it 10 more times after that. I got his name later, it was Loué or something like that.
I’ve never forgotten him, and I still think of his speech whenever I’m afraid to do something. It always helps.
Image source: IWasEatingThoseBeans
When I was in college, I had to ride Greyhound buses home for vacation. One trip, I sat next to a guy my age who was really cute and very into books (as am I). I have never had such instant chemistry with anyone as I had with him. We talked and held hands the whole trip, and when we got close to my stop, he asked me to come with him to his summer job in Montana.
I said I couldn’t and he gave me the necklace he was wearing to remember him by. Sometimes I wonder if I had gone with him, would I be happily married on a horse ranch out west right now or just dead in a ditch somewhere?
There was an older man – very thin and frail – in a public park near where I was sitting. I watched him climb over a decorative wrought iron fence to gather coins that had been tossed into the park’s multi-tiered fountain.
He got soaking wet under the cascading water, but managed to fill his pockets and a coffee can with as many coins as possible.
After he climbed back out, the guy looked at me and said, “I’m hungry. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any food.”
I just smiled with an understanding look, and pulled out a $10 bill to go with the coins (it was all I had on me at the time). I’ll never forget the look of surprise and gratitude in his face.
Whenever I *think* that I have problems, I envision that old, frail man and realize my troubles are few and inconsequential.
Image source: anon
1. Helped an old lady find the right bus stop to get her home. I sat with her until the bus came so I could check with the driver that it was the right one. She told me I’m a good singer (she hadn’t heard me sing but said she could tell by my voice – I don’t sing) and that she was going to tell her cat about me when she got home.
2. I had had a typical parent-teenager argument with my parents and went for a walk to get out of the house. I went and sat in the middle of some fields where 4 tracks met. Did some crying, the usual. A truck drove up behind me, a guy got out, I thought my life was over. He sat down next to me but with quite a bit of distance so I wasn’t too worried. He offered me a cigarette and some advice before going on his way.
I was tubing with my family in a very popular river spot. The river split into two sections briefly before connecting once again; one being rapid, the other calm.
I fell off my tube BACKWARDS into the rapids. Tons of people were going down as well, so I was pretty much trapped under the water with other people’s bodies and tubes on top of me while my knees were being scraped.
I stuck my hand above the surface because I couldn’t stand and someone grabbed it. He lifted me out and began to ask if I was okay and if I needed medical assistance because my knees were bleeding badly.
Me, being only 8, was shy and crying and didn’t know how to respond. He cleaned my knee and his wife bandages them all while staying with me until my father came down the other side of the river to get me.
I wonder where he is now. I hope he and his family are doing alright.
Years ago I was a waiter at a restaurant and I had this one table, it was about 6 or 7 women who were getting together for some kind of reunion. They were delightful people, but such a pain as customers because it was impossible to get everyone to focus on ordering. They either couldn’t agree on what they wanted to do, or they were so focused on catching up with one another it was like talking to a wall. This was in the middle of a lunch rush so it amounted to a really stressful situation.
There was one woman who was a sort of “leader” of the group who really helped rein the group in. After I finished serving them and dropped off their credit cards, I went to the break-room to exhale from the stress. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by this emotion and a voice in my head said “You need to go back and give that woman a hug before she leaves”
I walk back to the dining room, and the woman is standing there alone waiting for me, she points to me and says “You! Come over here, I need to give you a hug” and she gives me the biggest hug.
It was so surreal. I’m not a religious person, but it was the closest thing I’ve every experienced to believing that there is some kind of power out there that’s bigger than all of us.
I crashed my car in an ice storm, and this guy pulls over with his big a*s truck and pulls me out of the ditch, cuts some broken plastic out of my wheelwell so the wheel would spin properly again, and sends me on my way. He told me he was bored so he had been just driving around pulling people out of ditches all morning. Great guy!
A year later I’m in my friend’s car and he’s driving us home from work. He wasn’t paying attention and smashed into a stationary car while going 45 mph or so. I’m sitting in the grass in a daze from the impact from the airbag when who shows up to see if we needed help? Big a*s truck dude. I thanked him again and (jokingly) told him I’d prefer to never see him again if possible.
Image source: ryancleg
A truck driver who was unloading a semi full of ice cream at a grocery store. He noticed us watching in the sweltering heat and gave us a case of pints. I was about ten.
Was driving to work on in peak hour traffic on a freeway around 5am. I’d been at the office until around 9 the night before and was working 6-7 day weeks. I had never experienced a microsleep while driving until that morning.
Young guy in a car next to me beeped while we were almost stationary in the traffic. He just smiled and motioned for me to stay awake and looking forward. Totally woke me up when I hadn’t even realised my eyes were closed and I never drove that tired again. If he hadn’t beeped I can’t imagine what might have happened, I think of it often.
Got stabbed during a mugging and legged it away from the scene. (Edit: To clarify, I was the one being mugged). Was full of adrenalin but then got to a bus stop and started to go into (mild) shock. A woman probably no older than 21 came and called an ambulance and sat with me and was very reassuring. It turned out I wasn’t too badly hurt but tbh in the circumstance and confusion, you just tend to think ‘F**K! I’m dying here!’ Her sitting with me was so appreciated, she was so tender and supportive but also relatively calm and collected given the scenario (I didn’t look too clever at the time and was covered in blood)
That was c. 15 years ago and I still think of her.
It was raining real hard and I didnt have an umbrella but it was fine cause I was still in the bus. My stop was coming close though. Now, my country’s kinda poor so this stop didnt even have a shed to take shelter from the rain. The closest place I could go to was a bit far up. I’d have to make a run for it and that sucked. There were two girls in the same bus who got out at the same exact stop. We were wearing the same uniforms but they were younger so I didn’t really know them. Turns out their aunt was waiting right there at the stop with another umbrella enough for the two of them. I got out of the bus right after them and was going to make a run for it when she called for me and shared her umbrella. God she was so sweet risking her side getting drenched to cover my side (yea the umbrella was pretty small)). She’s probably forgotten me by now but I’m still grateful she helped me.
Image source: frenchfryfromengland
Several years ago, I was hobbling down the street in an air boot, having screwed up my ankle in some way or other. I walked past an electrician’s van; the owner was sitting there in the open rear door also sporting an air boot. We chuckled at the coincidence, and then he said in a thick, Eastern European accent, “Life is like a baby’s s**t: short and s****y.”
Never gonna forget that guy.
When I was about 8, I was sitting at a barbershop with my mom while waiting to get my haircut when an old man—he was probably in his late 60’s, early 70’s if I had to guess—walked in and sat down near us. ^^this ^^isn’t ^^a ^^creepy ^^story, ^^bear ^^with ^^me ^^here
For whatever reason, he struck up a conversation with my mom about how much he loved taking his kids out for things like this, and about how much he missed those days. I don’t remember much else of the conversation that they had, but I think they probably talked for at least a good ten minutes—basically the entire time we were waiting.
Here’s the part of this whole thing that’s been ingrained in my memory: when my chair was ready and I had to go up, this complete stranger—a random old guy who had known us for all of ten minutes—gave my mom 25 bucks and said it was “from one parent to another.” He was paying for my haircut.
My mom tried to refuse but he wouldn’t budge—even when we told him that my haircut wouldn’t cost $25, he just said that my mom could grab McDonald’s for me or something. Not only was this guy paying for my haircut, he decided that he was gonna buy me food as well. My mom eventually gave in and accepted his cash.
I get this kinda sounds like b******t—I can already see people going, “and that man’s name? **ALBERT EINSTEIN**” after reading this, trust me I get it—but I think of this guy pretty often. I have literally no idea who this guy was or how he’s doing or any of that, but he’s the kind of person that I aspire to be like.
Image source: anon
When I was a little kid, small enough to be in a shopping cart still, I remember being at Walmart with my mom and two sisters. This random black lady comes up to mom and says “God told me to give this to you.” She smiled at her and clasped some money into my mother’s hand. My mom was thanking her, and me being a kid I kinda realized what was going on but kinda didn’t. At the time, my father had just left, and my mother was on her own raising three little kids. A few years later, my mom would bring up the lady a couple times, I remember she told my grandma about it, but after that, she hasn’t said anything at all about her. That was probably like 15 years ago. I’m 21 now. Looking back, I wonder if that’s one of my mom’s reasons for helping me out with money at times … But I don’t know. It does make me look back and think wow, how kind people can be. And how weird that situation was too in a way. A woman saying she heard God talk to her and helped another person in need…. My mother is super successful now, and she did most of it on her own, but she is super humble. I have many more weird and heartfelt stories about strangers, but this one came to my head first.
A woman that came to talk to me and my sister once when my mother threw a public fit in the lobby of a theater and my father dragged her aside to yell at her. She just came over and made small talk with us about the city. I knew why she was doing it, but she did it in a way that was not patronizing at all. And it was so unexpectedly kind to take the time to do that when most people would have just stared or awkwardly averted their gaze.
I was taking the bus home when I was a teenager and I had been planning for several days to take a whole bunch of pills. I had two [self-harm] attempts under my belt, both which resulted in ICU stays and stomach pumpings and weeks in the hospital. THIS time I had been quietly stashing my brother’s heavy duty meds for epilepsy, angioedema, sedatives etc and had managed to get a few of my mum’s oxycontin pills as well. I sat down on the bench to wait for the bus and I was planning out how to take them and when so that no one would find me and be able to revive me this time when a man sat down next to me. I don’t remember his face and he could have been anywhere from late 20s to early 40s, First Nations with the lovely northern accent that I miss, long black hair, denim jacket under a parka, and he just talked to me, out of nowhere, about how people cared about me and how things might be s**t sometimes but there’s a better life out there if you just wait and hang on. I can’t even remember what he said anymore, it’s been 16, 17 years? But he knew some how, and he rode on the bus with me, quiet like, until I got off at my stop. I didn’t take those pills.
Thank you random Yukon man. I don’t know how you knew, but you were right and you made a difference. It makes me feel very cold, thinking what that cocktail would have done to me. I never did try to [end] myself again after that.
Image source: anon
When I was probably 3 or 4 I went to the bank with my mom and she passed out flat on the floor while talking to the teller. An ambulance came to take her away and I remember well a woman who held me and comforted me as I watched firemen put my mom on a stretcher and in the ambulance. My mom was ok, just had low blood sugar. I still remember her voice and her face.
I was walking into the Dunkin’ Donuts while my clothes were in the dryer at the laundromat. I saw a group of “thuggish” looking guys walking right behind me, so I held the door for them and patted the last one on the back and said “after you my man” as they walked in. When we got in, I was about five people behind the last guy I held the door for. I saw him turn around and start gesturing my way. He asked “how do you like your coffee.” I told him black and he proceeded to order me a medium black coffee. His “thuggish” looking friends looked at him funny, and I couldn’t stop thanking him. I definitely got a little teary-eyed.
Really changed my views on how I outwardly perceive people. Didn’t expect at all for this “thuggish” looking guy to buy me coffee in front of his friends. I’ll never forget that guy.
When I was about 18, I stopped in LA for gas to make it 2 hours north back home and my card was declined — I had no way of putting anything in my tank. This was before Venmo and all that. So I sat in my car and cried for 15 minutes until a guy tapped in my window and told me to pull up to the pump. He put gas in my car and gave me an extra $20 for the road. I still think of him and hope it’s come around back to him.