Ordinary People Doing Good Things

We hear enough these days about people doing mean or bad things: bullying a classmate, stealing from the elderly, driving recklessly, cheating the government, throwing garbage in a river, vandalizing a historic building. People doing bad things often makes the news. So today, let’s focus on true stories about ordinary people doing good things.

Food for firefighters

Two firefighters were waiting in line to order at a fast food place. Suddenly their siren sounded in their truck. They went to leave when a couple who had just received their orders, handed them their food. The firefighters accepted gratefully. The couple got back in line to order again. When they placed their order, the manager declined to take their money.

My mother’s flowers

When the clerk in the supermarket tallied my groceries, I was $12 short. I began to remove some items from the bags, when another customer stopped me and held out a $20 bill. I started to protest, but he said, “Please let me do this. My mother is in the hospital with cancer. Everyday I visit her and bring her flowers. She insisted that I stop bringing the flowers and do something worthwhile with the money. So please accept this. It’s my mother’s flowers.”

My favorite blanket

When I was seven, my family was driving to the Grand Canyon. As we drove along the highway, my favorite blanket suddenly flew out the car window and was gone. I was devastated. A little while later we stopped at the service plaza. My mother and I sat on a bench to eat our sandwiches. But I continued to mope. Suddenly a motorcycle gang pulled into the parking lot. One big man, complete with a dark beard, got off his bike and walked toward us. He asked us, “Is that your blue Ford?” My mother nodded nervously. From his jacket pocket, the man pulled out my blanket and handed it to us. As he headed back to his bike, I ran after him and thanked him the only way I knew how: I gave him my sandwich.

Young hero on a bicycle

One day I locked both my car keys and my phone in my car parked in front of the grocery store. Angrily, I kicked one of the tires and muttered a few choice words. A teenage boy on a bike saw me, stopped, and asked if something was wrong. I explained the situation. “I can’t even call and ask my wife to bring me her car key, because this is our only car.” The boy said, “Here, use my phone to call your wife and I’ll get the key and bring it to you.” I protested, “But it’s at least a seven mile roundtrip.” He insisted. About an hour later he returned with the key. I offered to pay him, but he declined, saying, “That’s okay. I needed the exercise.” And he rode away.

Special needs cats

This last story is about a man named Terry. He volunteers at the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, a no-kill cat sanctuary, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Every day he comes in and brushes the special-needs cats. Often he falls asleep. Safe Haven wrote an appreciation post on Facebook for Terry. Immediately people started donating money to the sanctuary in Terry’s honor. The donations soon exceeded $10,000. Safe Haven said, “We are lucky to have a human like Terry.”

We could add: And the world is lucky to have human beings like the ordinary people doing good things in these true stories!

(Photos by Valeria Boltneva… Fatma Gul… Kevin Bidwell… and Tnarg at Pexels)

For reflection:

Do any of these stories speak to you today?

Have you ever been a recipient or a witness of an ordinary person doing a good thing? Would you like to share your story with us below?

Have you ever been an ordinary person who did a good thing to help someone else?

Our video is the song “Kindness” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I think he makes a good point in this song…

I welcome you to add a comment below. We all love to hear from you!


  1. Shirley Sahlfeld on July 31, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Sister Melannie, I just love your blog, I used to get your email but don’t anymore but I love that I can search and find it that way. Makes my whole week go better.
    Hope you have a great week.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 7:54 am

      Shirley, we hope to launch a new updated version of my blog soon. There will be an opportunity to subscribe again on this new version. I hope it works! Thanks for seeking my blog each week. I appreciate that! Melannie

  2. Mary on July 31, 2023 at 11:29 am

    Oh Sister, what heart-warming stories to start the week! Each act of kindness brought me to tears and fills me with hope and joy, especially the story about the flowers. These stories also remind me of your latest reflection in Living Faith. (You are my favorite contributor! ) “…ask God for the love we need to respond better to others and the strength we need to bear the inevitable stresses of daily living.” Yes, to ask God for such graces would mean we would see a lot more heart-warming acts of kindness! Thank you, Sister, for such inspiration! ❤️

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 7:55 am

      Mary, I too especially liked the story about the flowers… I enjoy writing for “Living Faith” too. I used that little booklet for my own prayer each morning. Thanks again for your positive response, Mary! Melannie

      • Elizabeth Petershack on August 5, 2023 at 2:17 pm

        On a Wisconsin winter day (wind chills 40 below) I was driving to the store to pick up some supplies. I noticed an elderly man in a motorized wheelchair moving into a lane of traffic. I pulled my car to the side of the road and ran out to the the man & asked if he needed help. He told me he had lost his mittens in the middle of the road & needed them to get home. I told him I would get them for him if he moved off the road to safety. When I returned his mittens to him, he asked me my name. I felt such a presence of God in that moment. What a blessing.

  3. Sue on July 31, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I could read these heart warming stories all day long. They’re many good people in this world, just wish we heard MORE about them. I don’t mean to be, but, I always say to myself “why didn’t think to do that”!!! I pray some day i can do the same!!! Thanks a million for this blog today and for a reminder!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 7:57 am

      Sue, Like you, I sometimes think of what I could have done or said in a particular situation–after the fact! A grace to pray for both of us: the sensitivity to notice someone in need and the courage and creativity to offer to help. Thanks for your words! Melannie

  4. Paula on July 31, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you for the uplifting stories! They remind me of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I always look forward to the music videos that you include in your blog. I have found several new artists and songs to add to my Spotify library. Blessings to all!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 8:02 am

      Paula, Music videos play a significant role in my daily prayer and daily life. Sometimes friends/readers suggest a song that they especially like. There are so many good songs to choose from. Thank you for writing! Melannie

  5. Celeste on August 1, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Sister, I echo Mary’s comments. Tears in my eyes and the line from Living Faith. I so look forward to your blog each week.

    By the way – Something weird is going on with the blog today. No song and some really hard to read letters grouped together saying I have to type them before proceeding further. And it doesn’t let me type anything. It jumps to the comment section after.That’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a while!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 8:04 am

      Celeste, And I look forward to comments from readers like you! I hope you cleared up the problems you had with this week’s blog… Melannie

  6. Jean Shott on August 1, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    It’s good to be reminded of the positive – there is so much negativity and meanness that flood the world.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 8:05 am

      Amen to what you said, Jean! Always good hearing from you! Your dear cousin, Dolly…

  7. Barb on August 2, 2023 at 8:55 am

    Well there goes my mascara. Thanks for the morning happy cry!

  8. Rose on August 2, 2023 at 9:10 am

    My father—a man who loved his money and was very careful about how he spent it—passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2007. The principal told me to take a few days off after the funeral. I did something I’d never done before: I went into a restaurant alone for lunch on a school day, hoping to see no one I knew. As it turned out, I was seated across from my dentist, who was nearing the end of his meal. We didn’t say much after the perfunctory greetings. When I finished my lunch, the waitress told me that my bill had been paid. It was a wonderful act of kindness on the part of my dentist, and I also took it as a sign that Dad was in heaven, watching out for me. Kindness wrapped up in a God-wink!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 8:08 am

      Rose, What a tender little story… And I liked your “interpretation”: it was a sign that your dear Dad was still watching out for you! Thanks for sharing this with us… Melannie

  9. John E Hopkins on August 3, 2023 at 5:11 am

    Good morning, Sr. Melannie,

    I’m a little late to the kindness party! The stories above were beautiful, just beautiful.

    In 2016, I hiked a portion of El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. My nephew and I had seven days to walk 200 kilometers (about 124 miles) to reach the Camino’s terminus, the Cathedral of Saint James. On the first day of our walk we overdid it. We walked almost twenty miles. Consequently, I developed an ugly bubble blister on the instep of my left foot. I was in trouble. Such blisters take a two to three days to heal, and thus derail our Camino. I was pondering my unfortunate plight in a pilgrim’s hostel, when another pilgrim, a woman from South Korea who spoke little to no English, came over, nodded at my foot, and proceeded to lance the blister, apply an anti-bacterial salve, and then a bandage. She nodded again and then went back to her sleeping area. Chances are I will never meet this Good Samaritan again, but I tell her story all the time. God bless her!

    And yes, we reached the Cathedral of Saint James!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on August 4, 2023 at 8:12 am

      John, It’s never too late to join “the kindness party.” I really liked your story–especially because the act of kindness was done despite the language barrier. (I’m assuming you are not too fluent in Korean!) And the act was quite personal too. If only we would realize we are all pilgrims on our way “home”… and reach out in kindness more often to our fellow travelers. Thanks for sharing this story! Melannie

      • John E Hopkins on August 5, 2023 at 11:43 am

        I don’t speak a word of Korean, but you are so right: We are all pilgrims traveling the same road home.

  10. Jane on August 5, 2023 at 12:39 pm

    I loved the stories….Father Greg Boyle(Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industry) tells the story of one of his felons whowas just released from prison.. The young man told him that he was al\ways afraid. Father Greg asked what he was afraid of and the reply……God is always sending us little messages and I was afraid I might miss them!!!! Think of all the messages God is sending us….just like in your stories today.Thanks Sister Melannie

  11. Melannie Svoboda SND on August 6, 2023 at 5:58 am

    Jane, Thank you for referring to Father Greg Boyle, another writer I have featured on this blog. His stories of working with felons and gangs are so inspiring! You were the person who called my attention to his first book, “Tattoos on the Heart.” I am grateful for that! And I agree with your words about God is always sending us little messages.” Thanks for writing, Jane! Melannie

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