As a social media platform, Twitter is regularly wielded as a political battleground and debate forum. But it also presents an opportunity to inspire kindness and encourage heroic actions – actions that reveal the goodness of humanity.
Joanne Mason – a self-identified Christian wife, mother, and daughter – recently took that opportunity when she asked others on Twitter to share their personal “stories of kindness.” She started with her own: She remembered when she once “burst into tears” in public after her brother died. Her tears moved an “elderly gentleman” to reach out, hold her hand, and sit with her. Hundreds of tweeters responded to Joanne's story, many of whom shared heartwarming stories of their own.
“Let's share stories of kindness, I'll start,” Joanne offered on May 13. “Shortly after my big brother died of cancer, I was sitting alone in a cafe and his favorite song came on - American Pie. I burst into tears, and an elderly gentleman came over, held my hand in his, and just sat with me in silence.”
She added, “He never really spoke, but when I’d composed myself he sort of looked me right in the eyes, and his eyes said ‘You’re ready, you’re okay.’ I will never forget him - ever.”
Following Joanne’s lead, other tweeters shared their stories. Margot Cleveland, a lawyer and adjunct professor who has been published by The Federalist and National Review, remembered a time when she got a flat tire.
“In my early 20s, while driving home in late Dec., I got a flat on the nearly deserted freeway--dark and freezing,” she tweeted. “Man stopped as I was getting tire out. Being alone, I got in car & asked him to just call tow truck. He said ‘I understand. You stay inside and I'll change it.’”
Another woman revealed that she “was crying” on her “walk last week” when she “came upon a kind woman.”
After “saying hi to my pup, [the woman] looked up at my wet eyes and immediately, hers teared up too,” she remembered. “She didn’t pry. She just quietly said, ‘I will pray for you.’”
A person named Deb remembered when her house burned down.
“[S]tanding outside the rubble, a 12 year old neighbor came to me and handed me a bag with her own things,” she tweeted. It included fuzzy socks, a bathrobe, her favorite sweatshirt, a stuffed animal, and a note reading, “These are my favorite things when I’m sad.”
Another woman, Joy, tweeted about when her sister flew home after their father suffered a serious stroke. She was struggling to make her flight connection when a man offered to help carry her luggage.
“So they ran to the gate and she made the flight,” the sister wrote. “He didn’t hang around for a thank you, but without his help she wouldn’t have been able to say goodbye to my Dad.”
One mother tweeted about when her husband and two-year-old son were in a car accident.
“I got to the scene and was standing to the side, holding my son,” she typed. “It was December and cold out. A woman driving by stopped and pulled a nice wool blanket out of her trunk” and “wrapped it around us.”
Another woman remembered when she “struggled with severe depression in high school.”
“I had a really bad night, crying and asking God if anyone in the world cared if I lived,” she wrote. “The next morning at school, a young man I recognized from the student-led prayer group we both attended came up to me and gave me a big hug.”
“His smiles and hugs got me through to the other side,” she added.
One mom wrote that her children’s high school organizes a choreographed march after graduation. She later found out from the principal that her son, instead of walking with his own friends, volunteered to help “escort a classmate [with] autism so he could participate.”
Another parent remembered arriving late to church for a daughter's wedding, after encountering “car issues, lots of yelling & fussing.”
That’s when “my daughter's soon to be sister in law hugged me,” the parent emphasized. “The only person who saw my distress and comforted me.”
“She has Downs Syndrome,” the parent wrote, before urging that “Every life is precious.”
One person shared a story about when she and her daughter were on their way to the baggage claim at the Los Angeles International Airport.
“A little girl froze at the escalator, and her mom had already started up,” she wrote. Her daughter took action, “held out her hand, and got the little girl onto the escalator, telling her she was a brave girl, made small talk etc until we reached the top.”
Corrine wrote that she had leukemia when she was just two years old.
“A church where my parents didn't attend, and had no connection to, took an offering for my family,” she remembered. “Those people have no idea how much they witnessed to my parents, and spoke to my own faith journey years later.”
One wife recalled, “When my husband was sick” and “I was the only one working.”
“He went to the store for groceries and our card was declined,” she remembered. “This young man behind him paid for our groceries. It was over $100.”
Chrissy wrote that her late husband “loved” apple juice.
A “week after he passed I was in the grocery store reaching for apple juice automatically,” she said, when she started sobbing.
That’s when “I felt a hand on my back.. a much older woman rubbed my back [and] told me to let the tears flow. She just knew.”
Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference.