What's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

When I was a teenager, I put my parents (especially Mom) through a lot of crap. The worst of it happened when they decided to ‘clean out my room’ one day and discovered my diary. Yeah. I was 16 and had been dating someone that was 28 for the past 10 months. That obviously didn’t go too well. Also my older brother thought it would be a good idea to stash his beer cans and baggie of weed under my bed (thanks). I also drank, did drugs, didn’t do well in school… you get the idea.

I’m sure you get an idea of how well that conversation went when I got home from school. Anyhow, about six weeks later I turned 17. I had wanted a dog for most of my childhood and it never did happen. We lived in a nice house and Mom just didn’t want to deal with the mess. In the meantime, I was an angry, petulant, sarcastic brat.

On a sunny, crisp fall afternoon they persuaded me to get in the car and we drove to a breeder’s house, where I had my pick of a purebred litter of Golden Retriever puppies. This was in 1984, and the puppy I chose cost $400. The drive home was very quiet as I cradled the most beautiful eight-week-old puppy I had ever seen. She kept licking my face and was the softest, best-smelling little thing ever. Even her breath smelled good. I don’t think I’ve ever been more surprised in my life as I was that day. When we got home, Dad hugged me and told me that he loved me. That was one of the nicest gifts that I’ve ever received, and I’m not talking about the puppy - I’m talking about the love and forgiveness, and the willingness by my parents to put aside the past and see the good in me.

Brandy lived to be 14 years old and died when I was 31. She had a heart attack and went quickly, while my Mom and sister had her with them for a long weekend up north. She was happy to the end, and much loved. Sometimes when I’m at Mom & Dad’s I still expect to see her there, galumphing down the stairs or in her favorite spot on the rug in the kitchen.:frowning:

The second thing that I can think of probably sounds like no big deal, but it was. When I was 19 I got my first really nice car. It was a 1984 Ford Thunderbird like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ford_Thunderbird_1983-1987_Aero_Bird-2.jpg#file . When I first bought the car it was a couple of years old and the previous owner took great care of the engine but left the interior a mess. My boyfriend at the time borrowed the car and spent the day detailing it. He cleaned out the interior until it looked like new, vacuuming and scrubbing the carpets by hand, washed and waxed it, polished the rims until they looked perfect, filled it with gas and brought it back to me. There wasn’t any special occasion, it was just because it was my first nice car and he wanted to tell me that he was happy for me. For a teenaged guy to spend all day Saturday to do that for me was such an act of love that I’ve never forgotten it.

There’s more, of course. I have been blessed. My kids have made me gifts that I still have. None of them are valuable, but I can never get rid of the macaroni necklace that my daughter made for me the Mother’s Day she was seven. I wore it for the rest of the school year whenever I volunteered in her classroom. When I look at that faded and broken necklace now, I still remember the way her face would light up when she saw me in the classroom doorway after lunch on Thursdays, ready to help the kids read. “That’s my Mom”, she would say proudly. I didn’t realize at the time that this would be the same child who would be embarrassed to be seen with me just a few years later. Now she is 19 and will go out in public with me without thinking twice, but her face will never again light up with joy just to see me enter the room. When I look at the necklace I remember that.

I’m sitting at my desk at work with tears in my eyes, my manager just walked up and thinks I’ve lost it. That was beautiful, especially since I was the same way at 16.

Must be some dust in the air conditioning here. (sniffle)

I have something in my eye, I tell you!

Many people have done some wonderful things for me in my life.

One story from my youth:
I was about to graduate from high school and was planning on going to one of three major universities. I was quite excited and could hardly wait. Then my parents dropped the bombshell - they would pay for my last two years of college at a university, but said I had to go to the local community college for the first two years.

I was devastated. All of my friends were going off to “real” colleges, and I was going to be stuck going to a hick community college for two years.

Growing up, one of my best friends was a guy whose parents were extremely wealthy, despite living in that small town. I had been his friend for years and his family knew I was unlike many others who only hung around this guy because they had a pool and a house on the river and a yacht and and and. I went over to pick up my friend…we were going to see a movie…and he wasn’t ready yet and was upstairs taking a shower.

His mother called me over to the den and said, “I hear your parents want you to go to the community college.”
“Yes,” I said, and try to put a brave face on and said it was probably a good idea, etc. etc.
She said, “How much is tuition at the university?”
I told her and she sat down, wrote me a check for the FULL AMOUNT of two years tuition, handed me the check and said, “you have always been a good friend to this family.”
I was in shock.
I declined the check.
She smiled and said, “…if you ever change your mind, let me know.”

It was truly generous, unexpected and suddenly, I didn’t give a damn that I was going to a community college. At least in the back of my mind, I now knew I didn’t have to go there, I chose to go there.

In retrospect, going to that community college was one of the wisest things I ever did. I was able to get really good grades, was able to figure out what I wanted to study and by the time I did go to the university, I had my choice (because of the good grades) and even got a small scholarship.

I never mentioned this offer to my friend until about 20 years later, after both his parents had died. He said he had had no idea his mother did that, but said both his parents liked me a lot and was happy to hear she had made the offer.

In 2005 I had some serious health issues. Without too much detail, my stomach stopped working.

I’m not a tidy man to begin with, but as the days passed and I got weaker and weaker, the house became unlivable. I would work half a day and then come one, lay on the couch and try to get as much gatorade in me as possible, just to try to stay hydrated. I did nothing except those two things and sleep. The house be damned, I just couldn’t do anything.

It came to pass that my stomach tore itself open in the middle of the night and they rushed me off to the hospital. I nearly lost my life and was in recovery for 3 months.

When I came home I found that my friends, worried that an unhealthy man should not come home to an unlivable house, had cleaned it top to bottom. It was cleaner than when I moved in.

I wish I could have thanked them in a way that they deserve, but I just do my best to be a good friend.

Wow, DMark! Did you tell your parents about the offer? What was their reaction!

Isn’t it funny how as soon as something becomes a choice, it is that much easier to bear, even if the outcome is the same?

Those are some great stories. When my parents decided to go to an Eastern European country every year to help out the people in our faith there, they considered selling their home. They weren’t sure how long they would be overseas and they weren’t sure they could pay the mortgage and still do all that traveling, etc. I was desperately afraid that they would end up in retirement without a house, so I told them I would pay the mortgage for them. At the time I had a very well-paying job. Then I got laid off, and ended up taking a much-lower paying job that I didn’t hate (I hated the old one). Some old family friends found out that I was paying the mortgage…and offered to pay it for me. I talked to my brothers, and we allowed the friends to pay half the mortgage and we shared the other half. The friends insisted that my parents not know they were paying it, but eventually they found out. Then my parents took over again once they figured out their budget (probably a year later).

These stories are really wonderful. Back in the 90s, I was seven months pregnant and visiting a friend in another city when I went into labor. I had an emergency c-section and was told my son would have to stay in the hospital until he was bigger and healthier. Another friend was the manager of a hotel at the time and she gave us a room to stay in for free until my son was moved to a hospital closer to home two weeks later. Having a place to stay and being able to come and go as we pleased without having to work around other people’s schedules or feeling like we had to keep up appearances was something that can’t be repaid. She still thinks it was no big deal.

Seven years ago a friend of mine and my then-wife was getting divorced. He couldn’t take his dogs with him to his new house. Another friend took one of them, and he asked us if we’d be interested in taking the other. He was a good guy, and I’d heard stories about this dog for quite awhile. I knew he loved her more than anything in the world and that it was tearing him up to part with her. There was no way I could put him through having to surrender her to a shelter.

He brought her over one weekend as a trial to see if we hit it off. Inside of three hours I was at the store buying her the big bag of dog food, shampoo, a new collar, etc. I was smitten.

While we bonded and she was immediately comfortable in the house, it took a while for her to understand that this was her home now. Whenever he’d come for a visit, she’d be ultra-excited at seeing her old dad. When he’d get ready to leave and would press the button on his key fob to unlock his truck, she’d race to the door.

I understood, and it didn’t bother me, but it made me feel a little sad for her confusion.

One day, after she’d been living with me for a couple of months, he came for a visit. She was excited to see him, of course. When we went outside as he was getting ready to leave, he pressed the unlock button and she just sat down next to me.

He got this look on his face that was like, “Well, how about that.” He came over, shook my hand and said, “She’s yours now. Take good care of her. She deserves it.”

Then he absolutely floored me. He knelt down, gave her a hug and said, “He’s yours now. Take good care of him. He deserves it.”

Over the last seven years, that dog has saved my life on a couple of different occasions. She’s brought me out of the depths of despair and has never once failed to make me smile at seeing her. Her old dad did me a great favor by letting me have her, but he gave me an unrepayable gift when he formally declared us as belonging to each other.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/31431888@N03/2944813629/ That’s the girl in question: Bitz the Wondermutt. She turned 10 a few weeks ago.

I had done something really stupid…being young and all. Working at the Pentagon, and a bit overwhelmed by it at first. My boss chewed my ass good. So I was sitting on a bench in the cneter of the Pentagon feeling bad and sorry for myself. I knew i was wrong, I just felt pretty low. A female colonel saw me and sat down and asked me why I looked so sad, and I told her basically, I screwed up and I wasn’t sure I belonged in the military and that maybe I wasn’t up to the job.

Instead of giving me the canned army speech she told me that I shouldn’t give up on my own abilities so easily and that my mistake was an opportunity to correct my own shortcomings. I won’t go into detail, but she actually made me feel a lot better and I think I owe her for that. I went on to have a pretty good tour at the pentagon, making it to dpeuty NCOIC of my shop and team leader before I left. But I might not have if this colonel hadn’t taken the time to talk to me like a person.

But the NICEST EVER thing anyone has done for me? Recruiting in NJ I had to take an applicant to his reserve unit in NYC. We got lost and I parked in front of a CVS to ask for directions. I also dropped my wallet that had about 100 bucks in it. An old lady named Madeline found it. She used one of my business cards to call the recruiting station and in turn they called me (still on the road). This old lady gave them directions to her house in the Bronx for me and I wetnt there after doing what I had to with the applicant. She had my wallet, my military ID, license, credit cards, everything…including the 100 bucks. She didn’t want anything but to return it to me. (She told me she wouldn’t give the wallet to anyone but me or a law enforcement officer if it came down to it)/

To me that was one of the nicest things anyone had done for me. She could easily have taken anything she wanted from my wallet and not said a thing. Instead when I asked if I could do anything to repay her kindness she said “Just pray for me, I’m an old lady”. And showed me pictures of her grandchildren.

When I got home I used the 100 bucks in my wallet to send her a bunch of roses. She actually called my cell phione to thank me the next day, but no thanks were needed, Madeline. Her single act of kindness made me less of a misanthrope…which is difficult in NJ.

I had just graduated from college and taken my first big girl job. Well, they fired me a month later and I was feeling extremely low. I emailed my favorite professor and practically begged for a job. Instead of a low paying, dead end job, she offered me something better. A spot in the PhD program and an opportunity to do my research in her lab. Fully funded, stipened, the whole works. It was the god dammed nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.

Well, she died tragically not two weeks after our meeting. I was devestated, and I didn’t know what to do. I’m still in the program and every time it gets too difficult, or I think I’m not smart enough for this, I think of her and how she believed in me.

Many many years ago when I got out of the army, my new wife and I settled down in a small town where I got a job on a newspaper. The pay was minimal, and I had no savings to speak of. We really had nothing, but rented a little 2-room apartment. We went to a second hand place and bought a bed, a table and two chairs and a few little things.

We were young and resilient so struggled along. In that town was one of those well-to-do guys who owned several businesses and was involved in all sorts of things. I had never met him, and to this day, I don’t know who told him about us, probably my editor. One Saturday there was a knock at the door and this guy was there. He introduced himself and asked me to step out to a pickup truck by the curb. On it were an almost new new sofa and two easy chairs.

He told me he had repossessed them and would sell them to me for $40. I thanked him, but said I could not even afford them at that pittance (this was in the 1950s), and he said to take them and pay him whatever I could each month. He even helped me lug the things up the stairs. I paid him back $10 each month until it was paid.

Later I came to realize that he knew how tough things were for us, and wanted us to have these things, but did respected my feelings and did not want to just give them to us as charity, thus the ridiculous low price. They were such good pieces we kept them for years.

I’ve had nice people do nice things for us over the years, often involving far greater value, but I can never forget the kindness of a total stranger toward a struggling young couple. God bless him.

My allergies are kicking in… excuse me.

The nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me? Gee, I don’t really have any stories like the ones above, but an ex-GF once did something really sweet for me. In Japanese there is an expression “to love like an abalone,” which basically means one-sided love. Before I met her, I had really low self-esteem and always felt unrequited love. A few months after we started dating, she bought a lacquered clam shell. She kept one half and gave me the other half, so that we’d always stick together. It ended up not working out, but I still have that clam shell and fond memories of her romantic and kind gesture.

No, I never told my parents. They would have been totally embarrassed and there were some other personal issues that would have caused problems. That is also why I never mentioned it to my friend, as he would have been begging me to take his parents’ money.

But you are right. Once I knew that it was, more or less, now my choice to go to the community college after all, it totally changed my attitude. I made lots of friends, did great in classes and still partied like a typical college student.

I had a friend in high school, a girl named Lauren. She was the best friend in the world to me back then. I talked with her about everything, we hung out, we talked online almost every night, and most importantly she was my ultimate confidant. Once I went off to college (she was a year below me, still in high school) our relationship slowly deteriorated into nothing, and I haven’t spoken to her in a good 5 years now. But one of my favorite memories in the world I have, is of something she did for me…

My favorite food/drink combination in the world is Mini Oreos and Cherry Pepsi. I think that combo is better than cookies and milk, bread and butter, cake and ice cream. I was also in the drama club at my high school and had a pretty good role in a very funny play, and I was pretty funny in it (not to pat my own back or anything…), Lauren went to a different high school than I did and I invited her to come. She said she wouldn’t miss it (and that’s a quote).

The night of the show also happened to be my birthday. So the day of the show came and went and I did my acting and the play was done, and after every play we would go out and mingle amongst the audience. I went out and while talking with the people who went to my high school, here comes Lauren with a birthday card, a bag of Mini Oreos, and a 2 liter of Cherry Pepsi. After that we probably made small talk and maybe hung out…I don’t know, I can’t remember that far.
The fact that she not only came to my play, but remembered the food/drink combo that I loved, and gave that to me the night of both my birthday and my play; that’s just something that I will remember for the rest of my life, and because of the amount of time that has passed since we last talked I’m sure she has no idea how much that meant to me.

Do you ever think about contacting Lauren? I’ll bet she would love to hear from you.

Your story reminds me of my 16th birthday. I loved green M&M’s the best. I was celebrating with a group of friends, and one of them (who ended up becoming my SIL) came up to me and casually handed me a bag of M&M’s. “Here you go,” she said. “Happy birthday”. I eagerly tore open the bag and was floored to see that all of the M&M’s were green. She had carefully opened the bag at the top, filled it with green M&M’s and glued it shut. It must have taken some painstaking work to get that bag open without making it obvious.

Mmm… now I want some M&M’s.:slight_smile:

Actually a coupla times I have seen her online still, and I think about it…but I end up not because I really think it would end up being one of those conversations that we just wouldn’t have enough to talk about to keep the conversation going. Far as I can tell she’s grown up, moved far away, and is living the life she deserves.

More or less I guess I’m scared to (I’m shy :()

Wow, you guys. Some of these stories are so touching, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m tearing up.

The nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me? Well, I have a good relationship with my mom, but we fight more than we should and sometimes I feel like I just can’t deal with being around her. I love my dad, but I hate my stepmother so I really can’t go to his house either. It really sucks, not really feeling like you’re truly at home anywhere because there’s another fight around the corner or the atmosphere is too damn oppressive.

Enter my best friend and her family. We’ve known each other since grade 7 or 8, but we didn’t really become good friends until grade 12. Her parents went to Mexico for two weeks over our March Break, so I basically lived at her house for a week. After that, I spent at least one night at her house every single weekend up until the end of the school year, then as much time as possible at her house while I worked all summer. Her mother is the sweetest woman alive and both of her parents treat me like their own. It’s not a big deal to them because they really are caring, generous people, but it means more to me than any of them will ever realize, I suspect. Her house is my house, and it feels so good to know that if I need time away from my own family, I have another home that’s always open to me.

They take us on little trips and pay for meals and hotel rooms without expecting anything in return, they let me drive their brand new Jeep and eat for free at their restaurant. Basically they treat me like their own kid, and I could never repay them enough.

I bunked at a friend’s room for two weeks while suffering from bad stomach cramps. I was just happy that his mum tolerated me for two weeks. But for some reasons, she returned one day with new shirts, pants and socks for me; I was at internship at a small IT company that insisted on a formal dress-code and as I couldn’t afford formal wear, I got second-hand from another friend and it showed.