Several come to mind. Sometimes, they’re very big, sometimes, they’re fairly small. There are two that make decent stories.
First, in college, I shared an apartment with my best friend and one of her friends (the two of us were friendly, but not friends). I had to go home over the summer, because I hadn’t found a job, and it was less expensive for my parents to pay my share of the rent and electric while I was 200 miles away than to pay for everything I needed and keep me up there. When I returned for the fall semester, my best friend was no longer my best friend. She just didn’t bother to tell me. Instead, she and her friend (who was no longer at all friendly towards me) went on a Gaslight campaign of “you suck and you should die” whenever I was around. Finally, in November, emotionally crushed and crying almost every night, I begged my parents to help me get a one bedroom apartment. I’d pay for bills and groceries with my part time job if they would pay the rent. They agreed.
I’d planned to hit every garage sale and Goodwill until I’d found furniture, linens, and kitchenware I didn’t have. Instead, the day my dad and older brother showed up to help me move, my dad brought an entire apartment’s worth of dinnerware, glasses, dishes, pots and pans, extra sheets, the old couch from the rec room, basic groceries, and quite literally everything I needed to get set up, half of which I hadn’t even thought about. He must have dropped $1000 at the base exchange, and it never even occurred to him that he was doing me a favor. It’s just what Dads do, in his mind.
It took me a long time to recover from what my “best friend”, to trust others enough to reach out and make new friends. I suspect if my Dad hadn’t set up that pile of supplies as I was finishing paperwork, it would have been a lot longer.
Second story (much shorter):
It’s been a bunch of bad weeks strung together, this past summer and fall. My friends are 1300 miles away. I’m broke and have no one to hang out with. The one email friend who’d really made a difference for me pulled a series of passive-aggressive stunts until I ran screaming. I’ve been really, really lonely.
I ran into an acquaintance. I can’t even remember who or where. We had a short, friendly conversation, and before she left, she spontaneously gave me a hug.
It was just a hug. It didn’t cost a dime. It took her five seconds (I hung on for a little bit) and practically no effort. But just that human contact, the knowledge that she cared, and I nearly burst into happy tears. It made my day one thousand times better.