We asked readers to share any acts of kindness they witnessed throughout the year. Someone or something that inspired them and left an impression. Here are some of their responses - we hope they help spread some joy this holiday season:
Now that's teamwork
I was in a Toronto café, eating a quick lunch on a cold day in November. A streetcar pulled up and a woman took out her wallet to get her monthly TTC pass, worth about $134. It somehow slipped out of her hand and sailed right into a construction crew's trench that was a few inches deep and filled with mucky water.
The woman was pretty upset about it and a gallant gentleman started feeling around the puddle with his bare hands to see if he could retrieve it. I and a few passersby joined in but had no luck. After a few minutes, staff from the café came out and provided a take-out container to use to bale water out of the puddle while other folks dammed up the trickle to stop the puddle from filling back up. All this while dodging the heavy traffic on King Street.
Rain started falling but we were adamant we were going to find that pass. With enough baling, the water level eventually came down and suddenly someone spotted the pass!
High fives all around and the café offered free tea to everyone with cold hands who had been helping out. It was a nice moment of community and proved that even Torontonians can be friendly and helpful when put to the test!
Niall Whelan, Toronto
Couple reunited with lost dog
A customer in our store had tied his dog to one of the chairs at our outside tables. A passing skateboarder scared the dog and she ran off, dragging the metal chair behind her. The couple who owned the dog left in a hurry to track her down but she was long gone. They came back an hour or so later and told us they needed to get back to Calgary, a 2 ½ hour drive, and were feeling bad about having to go without Connie. They had rescued her from a beach in Australia, loved her so much and had gone through great trouble and expense to bring her to Canada.
I could imagine how they felt having to drive home without knowing where their dog was. Before they left, I took their names and they emailed me a photo of Connie. I put the photo and their contact information on a community social media page, and someone found the lost dog later that night. The couple happily drove out the next day and were reunited with their pooch.
Jessica Atkinson, Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
A snow angel
Banff had received more than half a metre of snow over two days in November. I'm on a long waiting list for treatments for a bad back and knee, and shoveling is about the most painful thing for me to do. A gal pal phoned and said she was on her way over with a shovel. This wasn't an offer - it was a statement. She arrived, and out we went to wage battle in -25 C, only to discover a neighbour had already done the vast majority of my driveway, and front and back walks! By hand! I was so grateful.
Diana Skrepnyk, Banff
Family overwhelmed by landlord's generosity
We are a low-income family, and this year, hit extra hard by illness. It had been a really rough start to the Christmas season. Our November rent cheque bounced and we were very worried, with two little kids at home, about getting evicted at Christmas. We hadn't even met our new landlord yet and were afraid we were off to a really bad start.
When he arrived at our door, he didn't know how sick I'd been. He asked what happened with our November cheque, and I answered him honestly: I overspent on groceries. He nodded. I explained we had all the money together (not explaining that I had to go to my mom to help cover it) and that we'd give it to him as soon as I could get to the bank. He seemed happy. Then, he handed me back my December rent cheque and said, "From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!"
Stunned, I just stared at him, tears pouring down my cheeks. All I could say was, "Thank You!! Merry Christmas" blubbering away on my oxygen machine. He had nothing to gain from doing that for us, but I hope he left with a light heart, because he left me with one. I will never forget this moment. I hope someday I can pay it forward and do something really special for someone else.
Christa Forsythe, Stony Plain, Alta.
Some much needed breathing space
Being a student at Carleton University from Ghana, it was difficult for me to arrange accommodation. All my efforts proved near impossible. A fellow student reached out to me and offered to accommodate me till I got a place of my own. He and his girlfriend let me stay at their apartment for more than a week till I found a place. Not only that, he also drive me around to look at places. I never paid for gas, food and the space they provided me. Their gesture provided me a breathing space. I am forever grateful.
Eddie Ameh, Ottawa
Recently, a not so young native, his upturned hat in front of him, stood near a busy corner wishing people a good day and advising them to enjoy the weather (the sun had made a rare appearance) when a young woman asked whether he was hungry. Yes, he was. Would he like a meat pie? Oh yes, he would. She went into a nearby bakery, ordered a meat pie, asked them to warm it up, and gave it to the fellow. Then continued on her way. I was impressed with the woman's almost business-like way of helping her fellow-man. And ashamed that I never do this kind of thing.
Mieke Koppen Tucker, Sherbrooke, Que.
My mom and I found an Aritzia bag in Winners one day that had items worth a total of about $130. The customer's name was on the receipt so I brought the bag to Aritzia to see whether they had a way to contact her. We decided to leave it there and I would tell the employees at Winners that if they saw a frantic woman looking for a bag to send her over to Aritzia.
Back at Winners, my mom and I stood at the spot where we found the bag and snacked on some fries before planning to continue our shopping. After about one minute of eating, in came a woman looking panicked. We asked her what she was looking for and she described the Aritzia bag. She was so happy we had found it!
Annika Peveril, Ottawa