let’s talk about kindness at work

We talked earlier about Machiavellian behavior. Now let’s talk about times at work when people have gone out of their way to do good or be kind. Please share stories of kindness at work in the comments.

(It’s a weird Tuesday and I’m not doing our regular programming today.)

{ 693 comments… read them below }

  1. MMMMmmmmmmmMMM*

    My safety manager just came into my office not moments ago to give me some candy from the vending machine! It was very appreciated on this very stressful day.

    1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

      Its promote the awesome safety manager day today, because mine went out of his way to get me a viz vest that actually fits me and has pockets, unlike the standard issue “starts at the average size of a tradesman which is about two sizes too big for me” with no pockets. He didn’t have to, but he did anyways.

      1. Alex*

        Yesss! Our safety manager is also a gem. He spent an extra hour going over our oxygen mask fit test with me to find a size that fit (most of our team is men, so very small sizes often have to be specially fitted & ordered) he did all this despite the fact that I will rarely if ever use it in the field, and he legally could have pushed it off on the field staff and made me make do (something the safety guy at my last job often did)

    2. SPDM*

      My boss keeps candy in his office and would specifically make sure there were some of my favorites out before I came in for any meetings. (In the beforetimes….)

    3. TardyTardis*

      A friend of mine gave me chocolate when I was disappointed when a guy got the job I was qualified for (internal move) and he’d only been there six months, at most. (later on I found out there were two positions and I got the second one, but I had no knowledge of that at the time).

  2. Kelly White*

    One time I was having a coughing fit (I swallowed wrong) and someone from another department brought me a glass of water!

  3. ManagerInNameOnly*

    My boss came into my office a few days ago with a York peppermint patty as a ‘reward’ when I billed a large amount on a big job. We both got a kick out of it in a joking kind of way. I’ve worked here for 5 years, and we have been friends for 40+ years. So now she does this every time and we laugh about it. It’s a small thing, but it lets me know that she noticed, and it gives us something to giggle about. Work can be stressful, and we like to find things to laugh about when ever we can.

  4. You can call me flower, if you want to*

    Our office manager sent me a May Day basket to me with flower seeds, a card, and and $5 Dairy Queen gift card. It was so thoughtful! She sent it personally-not from the company. We are all working from home, and it was such a sweet gesture. Also, she recently sent a little candy gift to everyone’s house to celebrate a big company milestone, and she remembered I didn’t like chocolate and sent Skittles instead. She is just so thoughtful.

  5. Jessen*

    So end of last year my apartment burnt down. Total loss on basically everything. I was out of town when the fire happened. My coworkers pitched in to get me a Target gift card with a couple hundred dollars on it. It really helped for a lot of things! I was insured but it took months to get everything through insurance, and the gift card really helped me bridge the gap and get stuff I needed. Especially all those little things that you don’t even think about until you don’t have one (e.g. suddenly realizing you don’t have a trash can, or you have a headache and nothing to take for it, all those things).

    1. Liz*

      that’s so nice! and yes, you don’t think about what you don’t have, until you don’t have it anymore!

    2. DJ*

      We also lost >90% of our belongings in a fire. 0 out of 10 would suggest. I hope you’re doing better!

    3. Jonaessa*

      Ten years ago, we had been living in our brand new house for five months when it was struck by lightning. I had been working at my job for ten years and I knew we always pitched in to help others, but the other secretary had just lost her grandmother (whom she helped care for), and I knew we were all in on that. I was so humbly surprised that they presented me with cash to help me scrape by until insurance could start covering things. I was always one to give, never expecting I would be on the other end one day. Sometimes coworkers rock!

      And I hope you are back in your apartment and things are going great, Jessen. I think the worst thing about the fire was that they took all the linens to a place to suck the oxygen out and clean them, but it also took out the smell of items that had been handled by my late father, grandfather, and grandmother. Total bummer.

      1. Tricksieses*

        This is true, but everyone who told there story said they did have insurance and there was just a lag in payment?

      2. Tara*

        I started with two guys on my team in my grad scheme at a big company, where the culture really pushed individualism, with a lot of people wanting to push you down to help themselves get ahead. Whenever any of us were slammed with work and couldn’t get a task done, we could send it to each other to complete. We were all good at what we did and would put the effort in to get the other person’s work to a good standard. We would then send it back to that person and let them submit it and get the credit (though the person submitting would always add something like ‘Matt really saved me by helping out with this!’). When we suggested that the graduates starting a year later picked up a system like this, they thought we were insane, but it meant that we were all seen as responsible people who got the work done who weren’t afraid to stick our necks or work later or harder to help each other.

    1. MissMeghan*

      Years ago I had a coworker whose wife would sometimes sneak candy into his suit pockets, which he would excitedly find and share with the rest of us. Surprise candy is great!

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I love that she sneaked him candy. I love that he was excited about it. That sounds like such a sweet relationship.

  6. Yellow Rose*

    Six months after I married, my spouse developed an illness that put him in intensive care for two months. The doctors were not sure if he would recover beyond life in a wheelchair. I was stressed, working and caring for our daughter, and spending every night in the hospital with my spouse.

    During a break at work, I laid down to rest my eyes, only to be awoken by my boss, the service manager of a busy dealership and the office manager watching me…one of them had just covered me up with a blanket, and told me to go back to sleep. That was the kindest thing anyone at work has ever done for me.

      1. Yellow Rose*

        Yes, they are. They made a full recovery. The docs weren’t sure whether it was MS, or something else…turned out to be Guillain-Barre Syndrome. And additional kindness, for Spouse…they had just started a new job. It was uncertain if they would be kept on. Fortunately the wife of the big, big boss had read Joseph Heller’s account of his battle with the illness, and convinced her husband to keep my spouse on. Spouse just retired after 30 years.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          My employer was also fantastic in a similar system with my then boyfriend, now husband when he had a weird auto-immune thing of the same sort. Their response was basically “what can we do to help”, and they didn’t push him out during the long, slow period of recovering his strength and energy. (Also nearly full recovery, and the uncertainty of whether it would be full recovery, life in a wheelchair, or something in between).

    1. Np*

      So first of all, I hope your husband is doing better!

      Secondly, I can’t begin to count the ways in which my office has been incredible, but your story made me want to share one of them. I was having treatment for something and one of the side-effects was going to be fatigue for a few months. I let the bosses know in advance and they told me that there was a sofa in an empty office and I was ALWAYS welcome to use it for a nap. Whenever I needed it.

      I was so grateful, especially because my job is very demanding and stressful and they showed me once again that I’m more than just billable hours.

      1. Wow*

        My fiancee’s mom unexpectedly passed away. When I got to the funeral, I was astonished to see my coworkers had turned out to show support. It was amazing.

  7. SlightlySnarky*

    One of our newer co-workers (just celebrated her 1 year anniversary) was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She’s going to be out for months to get treatment. My office stepped up in amazing ways. People donated leave time to her (we work for the government, so she’s already gone through what little she has), people contributed to get them gifts cards to grocery stores and restaurants. People are volunteering to rake leaves, shovel snow, etc. I’ve been her point of contact with the office the last few weeks and have been in tears all day at the way people are supporting her and her husband right now. It’s amazing.

  8. CB*

    I’ve got a new client and it is pure magic to work with her. She fully understands needing days off for mental health issues or accidentally dropping the ball because of ADHD.

    It’s not a single big act of kindness, so much as the everyday understanding and space to be human.

  9. sleepy black cat*

    my colleagues are the freaking best. lab environment and a small research group, with me having been the only girl there for quite a while. no matter what it is or how busy everyone is, they will find a time and a way to give me a hand, both with work and with personal stuff should it pop up. from lending a hand with the experiments, to just staying a bit to chat when someone senses i need it, to explicitly sending me home in the evening if someone notices i’m approaching burnout. it’s an intense work environment in general, but i’m slowly learning also to trust they will be there to catch me if i slip and that i can rely on help offered without worrying i’ll come across as weak or incompetent.

  10. glitter writer*

    I’d been at an old job for less than a year when my father passed away, and my entire team and our grandboss were just amazingly kind about it. They even sent a massive floral arrangement to my mother’s house on the other side of the country that managed to arrive at her door before I did. They gave me both all the space I needed and all the work I needed.

    1. Ground Control*

      I was also at a new job less than one year when my dad died! My department sent a massive food basket and several coworkers left comments on my dad’s online obituary, and I was given all the time off I needed (although I didn’t take much time off afterward because I wanted the distraction). Not having to worry about work was such a relief.

    2. Me too*

      I was at a job less than four months when my dad passed away in 2012, and for the last month of that, I basically worked half-time to help care for him, using the agency leave bank because I had almost no leave accrued yet. He was literally diagnosed as likely terminal on the day I went in for orientation. Not only did my supervisor handle it with an amazing amount of kindness, but the director of our entire agency sent me a hand-written note of condolence and made a donation to the charity that my stepmother requested in lieu of flowers.

    3. Eeyore's Missing Tail*

      I had also been at my job less than a year when my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this summer. We were all working from home because of COVID. When we found out he had 1-3 weeks left, my boss told me it was ok for me to work from home at my parents’ house so I could be there with my dad. He passed while we were on the way, but they had no problems with me staying up there a few weeks to help my mom with everything. And they still let me work part time because a) I wanted the distraction and b) I didn’t have much leave built up because I used most of it up when I was on FMLA the previous year after I had my daugther.

      1. skittish*

        I was on a three month substitute teaching job when my dad died. It was the last week of school. I had given the principal a heads-up, but kept it quiet. (middle schoolers don’t need that type of info) He had died in the next state over, but my mom had family there & things were well in hand. I was working through the grief while working. The obit appeared in my local paper on Thursday. Other staff saw it & wondered why I was still teaching. The students regular teacher was in the hospital and didn’t need another change in teacher.
        I just did it because I could. I told them it was just those 4 days of school & my mom knows I’m coming at the end of school on Friday. They were shocked, didn’t understand why I was still working, but let it go. Last day of school, Friday, was a half day and before school started, the principal wheeled in a cart with a huge beautiful plant that the school & staff had contributed to. I finally told the students that the plant was there because my dad died. They hugged me, but we finished the day. I posted the grades, loaded the car & drove to join my mother at their home. The quiet support of the principal & other teachers were just what I needed. and priceless.

        1. allathian*

          This is wonderful. Some of them may not have understood your choice to keep working, but they respected it nonetheless and supported you.

  11. StressedButOkay*

    Back when I was temping, I was temping at the place that I’d end up working for several years. The temp agency I worked for made a mistake with my paycheck, in that they gave me too much money. I was honest and called them up – they said they’d take the difference out over the next few paychecks.

    I was young and naive and didn’t save the extra money. And the temp agency, the next paycheck, took back everything, leaving me with almost nothing right before rent was due. I cried at my desk and was trying to figure out if I could borrow money from my family/friends to make it when a senior manager in my department spotted me crying.

    She asked me what was wrong, got me tissues and tea, and listened to the issue. She offered to pay the difference but I was too embarrassed to accept it. So, instead, she gave me the rest of the day off, told me to mark it down as a full day of work on my timesheet and gave me money for lunch.

    The fact that she took time out of her very busy day to comfort me and offered to help with around $500 – I still think of her!

    1. PlantProf*

      Something similar happened to me when I was a grad student—overpaid for a few months, I hadn’t noticed, they then wanted $4000 back (I was paid from several different pots of money, so my paychecks were always a bit unpredictable in terms of how much came from where, which is why I didn’t notice it). The department admin who was helping me deal with it was horrified and offered to lend me the money if I couldn’t afford to pay it all back at once. In that case I could, but it was still such a kind offer.

  12. juliebulie*

    I may have told this story before. I had to make a day trip out of town to another office. I got a Happy Meal for lunch. I expensed that and my mileage.

    My boss, who was a jerk and the reason I eventually went to another company, refused to approve the lunch expense. When my expense report was processed, the accountant (definitely not Guacamole Bob) saw the crossed out $3 item and called me to inquire about it. When I told her that it was a Happy Meal and my boss refused it, the accountant said, “that’s ridiculous. I’m paying it.”

    That’s the whole story. I know it was just $3 (it was a long time ago), but it meant a lot to me that she would do that for me.

    1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

      I’ve had both of those in the same chain as well. My sales manager refused to approve of any expense (even if it was company policy to approve them) like it was his own money it was being drawn from. This even included arguing over reimbursing gas charges for out of town training events. One of the other salesmen on my team took me aside after hearing me (loudly) complain and told me to submit a ‘clean’ expense report to the manager, but the real one to accounting who knew of his miserly ways.

      I then got all of my expenses approved moving forward.

      1. juliebulie*

        How insecure a person must be if they need to exercise their power over others in such a petty way. Things like lunch and gas are supposed to be covered anyway and shouldn’t need boss approval.

        1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

          Some people just feel the need to control everything that happens under them, and that includes being exactly that petty.

          I can’t imagine what it must be like to be that miserable of a person.

    2. More Coffee Please*

      I love this. Both what the nice accountant did and the fact that you ordered a happy meal for lunch on a work trip. I haven’t had a happy meal since I was a kid but now feel like ordering one!

  13. Peaceandtennis*

    At my old job, which was horrible in so, so many ways – bad boss who refused to manage, but then would call you out for something she magically expected you to know, toxic workplace culture, people who would literally scream at you and berate others in meetings where VPs would be present, directors who would bully their administrative assistants, multiple people who had to take FMLA because of stress and doctors’ orders – the list goes on. There was one shining bright light – this one guy who would bring in these amazing doughnuts with cream in the middle. Plus we live in Philadelphia where the prevailing culture of breakfast food was pretzels. As someone not from Philadelphia, I was more of a doughnut person lol. But this guy would bring in doughnuts for the team for any special occasion – new person, a birthday, whatever. He always brought it on his own dime too and refused money to pay for them. He made me realize as crappy as a job could be, you could still spread kindness and sweet delicious doughnuts.

      1. RosenGilMom*

        soft pretzels, not the crunchy kind. Most frequently served with mustard but cream cheese is also good.

      1. Hillary*

        As far as I can tell, buttered soft pretzels are both breakfast and afternoon snack in parts of Germany. I swear I gain five pounds every time I go there for work – so much good bread.

          1. Properlike*

            Yes! And I am not a sausage or mustard person AT ALL, but they have multiple kinds to go with those pretzels and I ate them every day when we were in Germany. Man. The food there is so good.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Haha, I have friends in Germany I intend to visit when it’s safe and I have travel money/time again. I’d better make sure I take expanding clothes!

      2. LAA*

        In Philadelphia, we eat them *in addition to breakfast*, typically not as breakfast :) Donuts are better but fill a different role!

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I was gonna say, I’m originally from Philly and I don’t remember soft pretzels for breakfast although I wholly approve of the idea.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Scrapple. That is my favorite PA breakfast. I have never had scrapple on a pretzel, but maybe I ought to try it.

          1. SimplyAlissa*

            Scrapple is the number one thing I miss from Philly. They finally have tastykakes available here in Chicago (well, supposedly….it’s hit and miss if they’re ever in stock). But we still don’t have scrapple.

              1. CW*

                Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas or “pan rabbit”, is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving.

                1. SyFyGeek*

                  “scrapple horror show” is the best way I’ve heard it described. If a Steven King novel was a food, it would be scrapple.

            1. Bluebell*

              I worked with a woman from Philly who would bring back Tastycakes for the office after she visited home!

        3. SallyJ*

          Soft Pretzels are for like anything. Like you can apologize with a stack of fresh soft pretzels at 6am. Good for anything at any time.

    1. Veryanon*

      At a former employer (in Philadelphia), every Friday was Soft Pretzel Friday in my department (HR). And yes, I did sometimes eat my pretzel as breakfast. We all chipped in our own money for the pretzels, which were often still warm from the oven when they’d arrive at work (a warm soft pretzel is really one of the best things ever). When the CEO himself started making sure he was always around for Soft Pretzel Friday, it became an official thing. I still miss those pretzels. :)

    2. snack queen*

      I’m sorry you had to work in such a crappy environment! :(

      But please tell me more about breakfast pretzels…as a savory-tooth person that sounds amazing and I would def prefer it over doughnuts! Maybe I need to start this tradition when we go back to the office and it’s my turn to order breakfast.

      1. Veryanon*

        If you’re in or near the Philly area, Philly Pretzel Factory is great. You can order them in advance online and pick them up at a store near you, and they’re fresh and ready to go. Yum! Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Philly Pretzel Factory in any way.

        1. Scarlet Magnolias*

          I’m still looking for Nabisco Salty Stix, they discontinued them a while ago, I did find at Walmart last year under a different brand name. Best pretzel sticks in the world

        2. snack queen*

          Sadly I’m not near pretzel breakfast heaven but maybe I can find a substitute around here. Thanks for the recommendation in case I ever visit. :)

    3. Claire*

      I’m in Philly too – and our go-to office donuts are the ones from Holmesburg Bakery. Their buttercream-filled donuts are amazing – I have a huge sweet tooth and they’re almost too much for me, but so delicious!

      1. Seeker of truth and light and grilled cheese*

        The Pacific Northwest is devoid of this kind of filled doughnut! I miss them from my growing up in Midwest days. Not always buttercream, but always NOT custard or thin syrupy cream or jam or etc.

        The yeasty, sugared outside, deliciously filled inside kind. I dream of them!!

    4. Phony Genius*

      Two words to describe something I have whenever I can find them (and I don’t live in Philadelphia):

      Pretzel Bagels.

    5. Sarah*

      I grew up outside of Philly and I was just telling my kids about soft pretzels for breakfast. With mustard, please! We used to get 4 for $1, sometimes 5.

  14. merp*

    Later in the day after a very frustrating meeting in my cubicle with someone who was talking down to me and generally being obnoxious, which left me frustrated and a bit demoralized, my coworker in the cube next door quietly said “I heard all of that and I don’t know how you kept your patience” and just generally validated my read on the whole thing. It was really relieving and helpful after something that had thrown me way off.

    Also in the same job, I once was having a tough day (well, tough month) dealing with a difficult cat health issues and had just gotten off the phone with the vet on my lunch break. I stopped in the bathroom to wipe my eyes and ran into a coworker, who looked concerned but otherwise didn’t make a big thing of it in the moment. She later sent me a little card to say she hoped I felt better along with some candy. It was really sweet!

    Maybe not huge things but really made me feel welcome in a job I’m still relatively new in and I really appreciate knowing my coworkers are the type to go out of their way to be kind.

    1. knitter*

      I had the same experience once as your first one. I was having a check-in in a cubicle with one of my staff. Everyone was gone in my area of the cubicle farm, but I guess sound carried due the lack of people… Given some of the challenges the staff member was sharing with me (difficulty with handling very basic area of the job and *lots* of excuses), it turned into a performance conversation. Afterward, a colleague I respected came up and told me that he was impressed I kept my cool. Note to self to move the convo to the conference room next time I had an unexpected performance conversation, but given I was beating myself up for not anticipating the problem, it was very welcome feedback.

      1. TimeTravlR*

        Me too! I forget the exact details because 1) it was long time ago and 2) I am old, but I do recall a similar thing happening and a co-worker later commenting that I was much better person by how I kept my cool!

    2. J. Random Tax Examiner*

      It’s amazing how much even a little validation can help. I was once in a terrible job, and after a particularly nasty incident with my boss (interrupting me in the middle of a cross-departmental presentation to ramble for twenty minutes, then insisting I start my presentation again so another employee could translate it into a second language on the fly — we had quite a few native speakers of that second language in the meeting, some of whom didn’t speak great English, but neither I nor the freshly-conscripted translator had been told about the boss thinking we needed translation), just having a colleague come to me afterwards and say “I think Boss was really rude to you in that meeting” was a desperately-needed lifeline.

  15. CarCarJabar*

    I had a late miscarriage a few years ago. A coworker that I sometimes butted-heads with (both very Type A) sent me a lovely card to my home address.

    1. Exhausted Trope*

      CarCarJabar, I’m so sorry! Miscarriages are terrible. Nice that your coworker sent a card though.

  16. RB*

    This is hard to explain but is one of the nicest things I have seen in my professional career. I was working in manufacturing, in the office, which was pretty large, with marketing, accounting, payroll, etc. A low-level admin clerk who had a lot of “issues” had worked there for several years without really forming any friends. She died suddenly at a young age. A few people knew her well enough to know that she was cut off from her family and had few friends. There was no funeral planned and the graveside service was going to be about an hour away. It was expected that her ex-boyfriend would be the only one there. The really nice thing that happened that day is that our marketing director — who wasn’t even in her department — got a group of us office folks together and drove us up to the graveside service in his SUV. That brought the total number of people who were there to about nine, and at least seven of us were from the office posse.

    1. infopubs*

      I’m sure the other people there really appreciated that. I know when I’ve attended funerals for family members, I’m always glad to see their co-workers there. It says, This person mattered in the world. So thank you for this act of kindness.

      1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

        When my grandfather died, one of the most wonderful parts of his funeral was talking to some of his former coworkers who he had had a huge impact on. It was a whole part of his life that we didn’t really know

    2. ThoughtsToday*

      My mom is a pastor and has done funerals where no friends or family showed, just a funeral director. They are such sad moments. I’m glad you could be there for that person in death and give respects.

  17. juniperberry*

    After I had already given notice that I was moving to another state to live near my boyfriend, I had a medical emergency. My appendix burst on my way back home from looking for a new apartment in said state. I didn’t know it, and went to work, where all my coworkers noticed something was wrong, drove me to a doctor, stayed, then drove me to the ER where I was admitted. It was emergency surgery, almost die, then stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. Not only did my boss defer my end date so I could stay on their insurance, the entire office showed up to help move me out of my rental when I left the hospital. I definitely had tears. Iowans are good people!

    1. Sharkzle*

      Native Iowan here – relocated to the PNW about 10 years ago. The genuine sincerity and willingness to help others out in a time of need is one of the things I miss the most about the midwest. People are nice out here but not to the same degree. Thank you for sharing your story!

  18. Anon at work*

    A small group of us have bonded over our difficult experience under one supervisor (def a bully). We are constantly looking out for each other and supporting each other. It has been an amazing experience to be a part of the group and it saved my mental health.

    The other day I sent some of those special pens with the rubber tip for using on tablets, some pencils, and pencil erasers to one of the group in the interoffice mail. Its an inside joke and it cracked us all up for days. Things like that mean a lot.

  19. MH*

    I put in a request for two weeks off to take a trip to Italy. Someone overheard about my trip and left a How to Learn Italian cassette track on my desk.

  20. SarahKay*

    I’m in the UK and every year I support a US finance team by carrying out the required audit of the annual stock count of the US items that are held at our site. The stock check is held on a Saturday, but I get time off in the next week to make up for it. One year, only about two days before the count, the finance bloke in the US who runs the count contacted me, full of apologies for the late notice, asking me to audit the count. I’d already spoken to the local team and planned to be in to audit as usual, so was very relaxed, assured him it wasn’t a problem and that I’d already planned to be there.
    On Saturday the count went ahead as usual, with no issues.
    On Monday I walked into site to be stopped at Reception and given a huge bunch of flowers that had been delivered for me. The US bloke had arranged them as a thank you for me helping out at such short notice. I still have the thank you card that came with them, and the flowers absolutely made my week.

  21. Kathy Bell*

    Early in my sales career, a company took a chance on me and hired me when I just found out I was pregnant. My pregnancy went off without a hitch, but unfortunately, after I left I the hospital with my baby, I became critically ill. I became septic and was put into a medically induced coma, doctors told my husband to prepare for the worst. My husband was overwhelmed and distraught, and called my family and a couple of my friends at my new company just to let them know what was going on. This company, supported my husband and my new baby by having bake sales, pass the hat, and even executive leadership wrote out personal checks. Customers called in to ask how I was, and the story was told, and then they started sending in checks. Overall, almost $30,000 was raised that helped pay our bills, medical bills, and diapers/formula for my now 17 year old daughter. It allowed me to take the time to recover, and my husband to be able to take care of me. To this day, I send anyone looking for a good, decent company to work for to them. I couldn’t ask for a better employer or experience. I’d still be there if we hadn’t relocated.

    1. Alexis Rose*

      I actually teared up, this is so amazing and incredible. I’m so happy people in the world exist like all those folks who stepped up to offer help or even a few dollars.

    2. Coffee Bean*

      I am so glad you pulled through. And I am so impressed with the kindness your company and clients demonstrated.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Oh my. This is amazing, a perfect example of how companies should reach out in times of crisis. Seventeen years too late, but I am so happy for you that they were so supportive and you and your family pulled through it all.

  22. Crivens!*

    I was laid off as part of mass layoffs at my university job in September. My boss had no warning and neither did I. He told me how sad he was to see me go, and that meant a lot as he was the best boss I’ve ever had.

    A few weeks later I got a card in the mail from him. It expressed what a joy it was to work with me and how much he appreciated my commitment to the mission, and included a gift card asking me to use it to treat myself. He also said again that he’d be willing to help in whatever way he could on my search. I cried like a baby, I was so happy.

    1. Bridget*

      Wow, this reminds me of my first job, actually. Over the summer when I was 16, I worked at a town-run summer camp for elementary schoolers. My dad had worked at this same camp when he was a teenager, actually.

      This particular year, one of the kiddos I had in my kindergarten group was the oldest son of my (much beloved) fifth grade teacher! The camp was only three weeks long, but it was always fun to see my old teacher when he picked up his son in the afternoon.

      At the end of the sessions the counselors are occasionally gifted small items from the kids and parents. (Out of 20ish kids we probably had 5-6 that gave us gifts.) Most of these were things like $5 gift cards to Starbucks. But my old teacher gave me a $20 gift card to Borders and wrote the sweetest card, about how much he loved that “one of his own” was watching after his son. I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it, tbh. It meant a lot to me to get to look after his son, too.

  23. Molly Coddler*

    About 10 years ago I just had a miscarriage and was returning to work. I was sad and overwhelmed and the last place I wanted to be at was work. My supervisor, who was usually sour and micro-managey and generally displeased with everything, left a daisy in a glass on my desk with a really kind and personal note. It was my first morning back after and that flower, especially from her, still touches me to this day. (She was a bit softer with me that first week after and then went back to being her usual sour self, and I appreciate that extra effort too).

    1. Sandman*

      That making an extra effort to be a little gentler than usual is so touching to me. It’s not always the big things.

  24. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    I was really, REALLY struggling with my job about 18 months ago, and someone – I don’t know who – very sneakily left a note and a necklace/charm on my desk while my back was turned! The note was really thoughtful, about seeing how hard I was working and encouraging me not to give up and reminding me how much I’d learned and noting some specific things I was doing well, and the charm was just a little disk that was inscribed with “I can do hard things”, and was meant to be a reminder for me, and an encouragement. I still tear up when I think of this. It was so helpful for me, to know that people were in my corner and rooting for me, even when I was in in over my head! I did not magically get better at my job, but it helped me to not give up. I ended up transferring to my current department almost a year ago, and I am much happier here, and doing much better as well. But without that encouragement, I likely would have quit. I’m so glad I stayed!

  25. office drone*

    I was all set to give a bunch of examples…but I realized most of them were actually extremely normal behavior that only seemed amazingly kind because the people involved were normally such dreadful humans (yay toxic workplaces).

    I did have a coworker who, if I was detained by crap commute on our monthly free bagel Friday, would save me a fresh, still warm chocolate chip bagel that would otherwise have been snatched up and brought home by the office jerks. That’s true kindness.

    1. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      I know what you mean – one of the examples I thought of was how a co-worker of mine gave me a sympathy card the day after my 15 year old cat had died suddenly the night before. She was a nightmare to work with but she loved animals, so even though it was very thoughtful and appreciated, I’m pretty sure it was more about the cat than it was about me.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Not for nothing, I have always hoped that LW ended up adopting a dog that needed a home anyway, as s/he thankfully ended up recovering enough to not need the service dog.

  26. Dusty Rose*

    I work for a university and I am the person who examines everyone’s thesis for margins, pagination, etc. Sometimes, it isn’t a pleasant experience to send them back to students who just want to graduate (I want you to graduate too! Fix your formatting!). On a particularly stressful day, a faculty member brought me a mocha from the Starbucks in our building. He doesn’t even teach in a program that has a thesis option! But it was enough to keep me going and made me feel appreciated.

    1. Ali*

      I got a doctorate from a school in the midwest two years ago, and you are a saint! The turnaround times in that office of our school were so quick, it was amazing.

      1. Dusty Rose*

        I regularly tell students: My job is to get you out the door. In the most loving way possible, I want you to leave!

  27. ONFM*

    When a higher up retired, she handwrote notes to all of her direct reports, thanking them for their work and sharing words of encouragement and affirmation for them individually. This was years ago, and I still have mine tacked up at my desk.

  28. CockrOPch*

    When I left the Starbucks I’d worked at for 3 years to finally start my current career (I’d been job searching for most of that time and my manager knew I’d been struggling), my manager brought me flowers on my last day and one of my very artistic coworkers decorated a reusable cup that I still keep my pens and stuff in on my desk.

  29. anon24*

    Tl;dr my boss gave up his holiday weekend so I could be with fiance with no work responsibilities

    When I was engaged to now-husband he was in college and I was the assistant manager at a small retail type business. The job had an on-call aspect requiring someone to be available after hours and weekends. It was a PITA and when you were on call you couldn’t go too far or get to involved in anything, the place just knew whenever you jumped in the pool or tried to go hiking and your phone was guaranteed to go off. You also had to stop in when we were closed to check on the place and also take care of the week-end paperwork/accounting. My boss (head manager) and I took turns every other week being on call.

    Labor Day weekend rolls around, and its my weekend to be on call. It’s also the first time in several weeks that I’ve seen my then fiance and we were excited to see each other.

    My boss and I were chatting about our respective holiday plans and he asked what we were doing. When I said “oh not much cause of this place” he told me to go home after work that day and not even think about coming back or answering my phone until the weekend was over and that he would take care of all my responsibilities for the whole weekend and Labor Day. He was a great boss and always went out of his way for me but that one really sticks in my head, 6 years later.

  30. Crivens!*

    Another one:

    I got sober in 2015. The impetus for me finally admitting I was an alcoholic was being fired from a job because I actively drank at work. I had only been at the job about two months and they were extremely kind when they let me go, even offering to extend EAP benefits to me despite me not yet being eligible so I could get into treatment. At the time I was terrified of treatment and refused, but the kindness was appreciated. Six months later I got sober for good.

    As part of my amends about a year into my sobriety, I wrote the company asking if I could pass on amends to the HR people who let me go and my former supervisors. The letter I got back from HR was so kind, I keep it in my email to read when I’m feeling down. She stated how happy she was that I was sober, how much they regretted having to let me go, and how touched they were that I reached out to make amends.

      1. Crivens!*

        I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me naming them in this case, so: Rising Medical Solutions is a good workplace for anyone in Chicago looking for work!

        And thank you!

        1. Lizzo*

          Hello fellow Chicagoan! Duly noted re: this company being a good place to work. Also, congrats on your sobriety! That’s amazing, and not an easy feat. Keep up the good work. xo

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Need to dust more often in here.
      (blinks)
      So many different happy endings–and good to know about these kind strangers out there somewhere in the world.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I think I might know you IRL in which case hello friend, but either way congratulations on your sobriety, that’s a good story :)

        1. ThatGirl*

          You know, I skipped over your university story above or I would have known it was you for sure :)

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I have to say, I admire you and I admire your former employer. Different reasons, of course.

  31. Dog Coordinator*

    A well-loved coworker at my old job started going through a nasty divorce. This was the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back to you in an instant, and had been with the company for decades. The (now ex-)wife was cheating on him with a mutual friend/roommate, drained their accounts, made false accusations to the police, forged signatures, made it so he couldn’t see their kids… all sorts of terrible things. By the time Christmas rolled around, we all knew he was using all his salary for lawyer fees and trying to get housing together so he could have time with his kids. One of our managers organized a toy drive for his three kids, so that he could still give his kids some nice Christmas gifts. It may not have been super awesome gifts, but we were still able to raise money and presents to he could keep being an awesome dad to his kids!

  32. LadyByTheLake*

    A few years ago I was going through some extraordinary stress at work. I was on a call with some people and I was so stressed I couldn’t remember anything and I was snapping at people I really liked over nothing. They reached out to my boss in concern and he called me. “Are you okay?” He asked. And I lost it and burst into tears. He agreed that it was a super stressful time, told me that I wasn’t alone an that lots of people were at the breaking point. He asked me if I had anything pleasant going on outside of work and I said that three friends were visiting from out of town. He told me to take them out to the best restaurant we could find and send him the bill. It was such a relief when I was absolutely on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.

  33. Reality Check*

    When I became pregnant unexpectedly years ago, I had been working 3 jobs, 2 of which were part time. Two of them fired me for being pregnant. The one surviving job let me stay. I was a bus girl in a restaurant, not making much. When it came time for me to go on leave, I asked that if somehow a waitressing spot became available, could they possibly keep it open for me. Well someone did quit, & the others took turns working the shift on their nights off just to hold the spot open. I came back to full time, better-paying employment thanks to them.

  34. Alex*

    My last job was such a toxic place. My dad was in the hospital, so sick he was out of his mind and potentially on his death bed. My sister and I tagteamed handling everything and looking after his house and dog. I left work an hour early ONCE and later found myself in a serious, closed-door meeting about it. For that and many other toxic reasons, I left.

    Fast forward to 9 months at my current job. I got seriously ill and ended up in the hospital for a week, totally nearly two weeks out of work. My supervisors kept in touch to ask how I was feeling, sent a gift basket to my hospital room, never once gave me any grief about being gone, and I didn’t lose a single penny of pay.

    Another time, I had been here less than a month when my sister was moving by herself and having a really hard time. All I asked for from my work was half a day off that I would make up on the weekend. I admit I bawled out the whole story (my sister and I are really close), and they ended up giving me an entire day off, told me to make up half the day on the weekend, and gifted me PTO to cover the other half. We got my sister moved, thanks to kindness I’ve never experienced from a workplace before!

  35. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    When I started full time at my company, my manager asked me what kinds of candies and snacks I like, and about 2-3x per year, she’ll send me a box of goodies like a care package. (We all work remotely). This is just one example of her being awesome and amazing. She is a great manager.

  36. AthenaC*

    Once upon a time, I was at work, and I had the only working car with me. My husband was staying home with our then-2-month old boy and our 7- and 10-year old girls. I was in the middle of a big client-related crunch on a report that was actually a bit complicated.

    About mid-afternoon, I answered a call from my husband that said, “The baby got dropped on the floor and now his head is swelling!” I got up and RAN out the door, yelling over my shoulder toward the partner’s office, “I have to go take my baby to the ER!” I didn’t look back. (Spoiler: everyone was and is okay.)

    According to the other folks in the office that day, the partner walked out of his office, sat down in my cube, and proceeded to finish up the report. I never heard anything about it directly from him, except for the goodhearted ribbing he gave me about my music taste, as I hadn’t even hesitated to pause my music before leaving.

    1. More Coffee Please*

      I love this because it’s such a beautiful example of how things should be. Emergencies happen, and others should step up to deliver the work without making a fuss or making the person with the emergency feel like they did something wrong.

  37. Lorac*

    I think this exceeds kindness, but I will forever be grateful to my ex-coworker for this.

    I had just been hired into an entry level field that’s quite difficult to break into. I had one senior level coworker who’d been working in the field for decades. She was a mentor to me from the beginning, and she taught me everything I needed to know and more.

    Four months after I was hired, my boss called us into a meeting and told us that our projects were being pulled. We basically lost a little more than half the projects we were originally assigned. There were rumors that there were going to be layoffs, and I was worried I would be first to let go since I’d only been there a few months.

    My coworker took me out for lunch and we talked about the future and potential career prospects. After we got back, she told our boss she was quitting. She came up to me afterwards and said I was a new hire with no experience, but was very intelligent and promising. She volunteered to leave because she knew with her level of experience, she could easily land another comparable job, while I would have a much harder time.

    So she left and found a new job right away. My department managed avoid any layoffs and I’ve been there since.

    1. Randomity*

      Oh my goodness. This is the winner. This makes me believe beyond the shadow of a doubt the world is not all bad.

    2. Partly Cloudy*

      I had a co-worker who fell on the layoff sword for me once, too. I was last in so I was afraid I’d be last out, and she volunteered for the layoff. <3

  38. Ampersand*

    When I was an undergraduate I worked as a research assistant for a research center. A couple weeks after I started the center put on a huge multi-day event, with lots of VIPs traveling in and tons of logistics to handle. My grandboss was the dean of the college and obviously super busy, especially at an event like this. I was so touched that he took time to talk to us lowly RAs, knew us by name, and asked how we were enjoying the event and what we were learning. To this day he’s one of my examples for how to manage people.

  39. Anon for this*

    19 years ago, I had just started a new job when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was literally within a day or two of qualifying for their health insurance (much, much better than the insurance I was still covering with COBRA from my previous, terrible job). My new boss made sure I was 100% covered on their insurance and kept paying me my full-time salary even though I went to part-time hours for a while. The whole office unhesitatingly had my back in a way that still makes me feel warm whenever I think of it. I am in a different career now, but I try to live up to those values.

    1. Anon for this*

      To clarify – I had just *passed* the date of qualification. I was eligible. But I know there are places where I might have gotten very different treatment.

  40. Sara M*

    When I was 15 and at my first job, I was sexually harassed at work. I didn’t know what to do. My 17 year old friend told me I had to report it to the boss. I was terrified.

    She was right, of course, and he handled it perfectly. The other teen was within inches of being fired but the boss decided to keep him on and make him work every shift partnered with his mom. That… was ideal really. :)

    But the kindness: it’s hard to explain how he did this, but the boss struck exactly the right balance between professional business owner who wants to take care of his employees… and just a touch of “dad” who saw a crying 15-year-old. He was so kind. He made sure to tell me it wasn’t my fault, I hadn’t “brought it on,” he trusted me and knew I was a good worker… Basically he managed to treat me with such kindness and dignity that I felt genuinely relieved and empowered after the experience.

    He did such a good job caring for me that when I got harassed again (age 19) I had the confidence to handle the situation myself and know that I didn’t “earn” that treatment.

    I miss that boss. I hope he’s well.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Very wise boss. He knew that 15 y/os grow up. And they go out into the world. They bring with them what they have been shown.
      Boss, where ever you are, Well Done and Bravo.

    2. Youngin*

      I love this, in ways I cant articulate. Probably because alot of my early workign years was full of sexual harassment and male bosses that didnt take it seriously

    3. Paperwhite*

      This one made me cry, not least because when I was 15… this wasn’t how I was treated. I am so very glad your first boss was a kind and excellent human being when you needed it so very much. I hope with you that he’s well.

  41. beekle, the unimaginary friend*

    I had a coworker when I worked at a bookstore who was literally the nicest person I’ve ever met – it was my first birthday in NYC, 1800 miles from my family and friends, I had NO money, and he bought me a copy of a picture book I loved but couldn’t justify spending $19.99 on.

  42. Bookworm*

    I don’t have any to add right now but this is a nice post. Thanks to Alison for posting it and for the comments.

    1. Ruth A*

      I second this! In addition to how wonderful it is to read all of these tales of kindness, they’re also reminding me of similar times when people were kind to me at work, which is a real boost to my day.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I call this stuff brain candy, but it could be donuts or bagels or whatever. We need to give our minds “treats” to munch on, especially when life gets tough. The awful stuff just falls into our laps. We have to deliberately take the time to remember the good stuff. I’d be in favor of doing this again sometime…. maybe soon….

    3. Hope*

      Absolutely! It is so heartening to read these stories – the little human kindnesses, and the major, major ones too – a reminder that human beings are basically good at heart, that we all benefit from any kindness anywhere. Thank you very much indeed, Alison and everyone posting their stories.

    4. skittish*

      Agreed. I needed this, not just because of the day’s insanity, but sometimes life is a little “challenging.”

    5. blatherskite*

      Agreed! Just what I needed today. And thankfully I’m working from home so I can ugly cry in peace. These are so touching!

  43. colball*

    We had quarterly “Star Awards” for coordinators at the hospital I work at. My coworkers nominated me (which I knew), and I won for one quarter (which I also knew), but at the award presentation they surprised me with a video of everyone I work with, from coordinators to managers, to doctors, saying amazingly kind things. I managed not to cry during, but oh boy did I do a weep in the bathroom after! It was so unexpected and so wonderful. I have it on my phone and rewatch it when I need a boost.

  44. Perfectlycromulent*

    A few years ago I put in my resignation at my Very Stressful Job. I was moving to a competing organization in the same industry. It was a great opportunity for me but My Very Difficult Boss did not handle my resignation well at all. He said that if I left, he would make sure I never made it in our industry, that I’d never work in our field again. I was terrified. Then a recently retired but extremely well-connected and well-respected industry VP I had worked with years ago heard what had happened. He contacted me and asked me to lunch at the fancy restaurant where every big wig in our area goes. He gave me advice, told me I was making the right move, offered to be a resource for me, and told me he would watch my career with interest. Tons of folks from our competitive industry saw us together and came over to introduce themselves. It was awesome for a relatively unknown me to get that kind of visibility. A few weeks later when I started my new position, the President stopped by my office and mentioned that this guy had also called him to congratulate him on hiring me and raved about my work. It meant so much to me.

    1. Sandman*

      I love this one. It didn’t cost him much, but he didn’t have to do it and I love that he did.

    2. Quiet Liberal*

      I love this one, too. That VP gave you a wonderful gift.

      What is with bosses who take it personally when you quit? I hope Karma visits Very Difficult Boss. What a jerk.

  45. Beancat*

    My first teaching job out of college – my landlord decided to spray our apartment for bugs, and told me we needed to get our cats out of our apartment the entire next day. I had nowhere to take them, and was stressing about it at work. Someone suggested I speak to our principal – I didn’t have high hopes but I laid out my situation. To my utter shock, she found me an empty room that students never entered that I could keep their carriers in all day.

    At the end of that stressful day, the taxi company I arranged hours prior to take me home (I didn’t want to try and navigate the subway with two carriers and had gotten a ride into work) just……didn’t show up. Before I could even formulate a backup plan, another incredibly kind coworker offered to drive me home. All in all, despite a super unusual day there was minimal stress to my girls and we all got home safely. The students who saw me leave were just mad they didn’t know there were cute cats in the building :)

    I’ll never forget the kindness they all showed me.

  46. I Hope I Didn't Snore Too Loud*

    I worked in professional sports for several years and while pregnant. I was having a difficult pregnancy (infertility, miracle pregnancy, lots of complications that could jeopardize it which meant 2-3 appointments a week) and I caught H1N1 early on so my exhaustion was at indescribable levels. While watching the World Cup together as an organization in one of larger rooms at lunch one day, I was given a comfy chair with a footrest. I promptly fell asleep, even through the cheers and conversations. Someone fetched a blanket and put it on me, another person found a fan to circulate near me. I woke up hours later feeling very refreshed, with some snacks and water next to me.

  47. EBStarr*

    When I was an overworked paralegal I quit right after getting my first year-end bonus, telling the lawyers that I was quitting to work on my novel. (I was also planning to get another day job, but I was working 75-hour weeks there and didn’t have time/energy to job search — or to write: hence the job search). Most couldn’t have cared less what I was doing, but the name partner randomly gave me a parting gift: a novel called Then We Came To The End that was a satire of soul-sucking office jobs. I like to think he once dreamed of quitting *his* job to write a novel.

    And another: Years later (still unpublished and needing a day job!) I was a junior employee on a team of almost all male software engineers and it was time to order team T-shirts. Without comment or fuss, the team lead — a straight, white dude — sent out size choices that included women’s/fitted sizes and not just those awful “unisex” ones that tech companies are always trying to convince us count as inclusive. That should obviously be the bare minimum, though it is somewhat hit or miss in my experience, but the part that moved me is this: Years later, he told me that his first time coordinating T-shirts long before I came along, he’d been called out by a female colleague for not offering women’s sizes. He was defensive at first, but then took the time to think it over, realized she was right, and from then on did the right thing. I loved that he was able to take feedback and make the workplace more inclusive.

  48. EEB*

    A few years ago I worked at a nonprofit that focused on cultural competency in health care. This topic meant a lot to me because my father had passed away from cancer when I was a teenager and had horrible experiences with doctors who made jokes about his sickness, so I’m really sensitive to doctors disrespecting patients. Since those experiences were relevant to our work, I had talked about them quite a bit with my excellent manager.

    One day we had a meeting with an oncologist who expressed interest in our work, and he turned out to be horrible. He said so many offensive things about patients and hit on every one of my trigger issues. I almost fell apart during the meeting.

    As soon as the doctor left, my manager turned to me and said, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay? We definitely won’t be working with him, but if something like this ever happens again in a meeting, feel free to leave. You don’t have to stay and listen to that.” She then took me out for coffee and let me process how I was feeling. It meant the world to me – that she knew me well enough to know why the doctor’s comments upset me, and that she validated how I was feeling with so much compassion and understanding.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Wow. As someone who has been on the receiving end of thoughtless comments myself, I super appreciate what a good boss she was. I can understand how this meant a lot to you.

  49. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    At my last job, I had to take our Beagle, Mavis, in to be put to sleep, and I’d taken a personal day off to do that. Several coworkers knew why, and I came in the next day to a sympathy card signed by several people, and a remembrance plaque. Mavis had been sick for about 6 months, so everyone knew why I missed the day of work. I miss those coworkers!

  50. MsMaryMary*

    My first job out of college, I became the “experienced” person in my role for our team after working there for about 18 months. Our team had a huge project and hired a couple other people into my role, none of whom had any experience with the company, industry, or the work we were doing. Our team lead was new to her role and was pretty overwhelmed with the project management and strategic work, so I ended up training and mentoring the new hires mostly much on my own. It was a really rough project. 70-80 hour weeks, the live date moved at least twice, very stressful. I spent a lot of time doing not just technical training, but reassuring nervous newbies who had been thrown in the deep end and were trying their best to keep their heads above water.

    At the end of our project, my new hires had We Love Mary Day. They got me flowers, a gift basket, took me lunch and later to happy hour. It was so sweet! I know Allison says not to “gift up,” but technically we were all at the same level. They also deliberately made a fuss at work so it was clear to our boss, her boss, and so on how much they appreciated my help. It’s still one of my all time favorite work days.

  51. Sleepytime Tea*

    When I worked Crazy Job, I hadn’t taken a single day off for literally over a year and regularly worked 70 hour weeks. I was on a 3 person analyst team and 2 people left, and it took them over 6 months to hire for those 2 open slots (and of course then I trained the new hires, so I got no relief for quite awhile).

    I wanted to go to a baseball game, as it was beard hat night. Why did I want a beard hat? Who doesn’t want a beard hat, is really the question you should be asking. But alas, beard hat night fell on quarter end, and someone had to stay until all orders were processed. As an analyst, we were just there to resolve issues that prevented order processing because cash is king, and god forbid you couldn’t get that extra $12 of revenue recognition in at the end of a quarter. I had my 2 new hires, 1 very new, and 1 who had been doing pretty well but still new, so I resigned myself to missing beard hat night so I could sit around all night waiting to handle order issues, if they happened.

    My more tenured new hire went to our boss and said he really wanted me to be able to go to beard hat night, and he made a strong case for how he could handle any order issues that might happen. My boss agreed to let him handle quarter end. They came to me and insisted I go to the baseball game. I briefed him on common issues, and there were no problems.

    It wasn’t a day off, but I got to leave a couple hours early for basically the first time ever, enjoy some beer and a game, and yes, I got my beard hat. I was beyond burnt out, and everyone knew it, but my boss told me that my new co-worker was not backing down on insisting he be allowed to handle quarter end so that I could get my beard hat.

  52. Anon for this one*

    My first job out of college, I didn’t own a stick of furniture. I had just moved to the big city and was sleeping on an air mattress that was slowly starting to deflate. I did not mention this to my boss at the time and don’t even remember how they found out, but they drove a whole entire bedframe from their home into the city and gave it to me. It was a really nice bedframe that I definitely could not have afforded then and would probably be reluctant to shell out for now. I still use it today.

  53. Scrooge McDunk*

    I was in my first job, and living in my first apartment. My roommate lost his job, then moved out while I was at work. I couldn’t find him to demand his half of the rent, and the whole amount came out of my account. So there I was, nearly two weeks from payday, with a -$200 bank balance and almost no food in the house. For two days, I survived off a few stale crackers and the peanut butter stuck to the lid of any empty jar. A co-worker pulled me aside and said she was worried about me because I didn’t seem like my normally bubbly self (I’m only a Scrooge McDunk about money :P). Well, I didn’t mean to, but I burst into tears and blurted out all my troubles. An hour later, the co-worker came back with a pack of cigarettes and a $20 bill, telling me to take a break, get some nicotine in me, and go get some food. It might not have been a ton of money, but at that low point in my life it meant more to me than a million dollars.

  54. Work Kindnesses*

    My small team organized a surprise baby shower for me, which was very very kind and unexpected, and they even catered food from one of my favorite restaurants. I was quite overwhelmed by their generosity. It definitely made me feel like an appreciated part of the team, and it was actually the only shower I had, so it was really nice to be able to celebrate that tradition.

    Our team also sometimes stashes snacks/sweets and just leaves them one each others’ desks after a particularly stressful day (this is separate from when we bring in treats for the entire office).

    One of our larger team members is very kind and thoughtful- she will bring in treats for peoples’ birthdays and encourage celebration, but she has dietary restrictions and often doesn’t have anything she can enjoy. So I try to make a point of bringing in treats she can enjoy from time to time, and definitely for her bday!

    And this is not any sort of extreme kindness, but I do think it helps foster a more positive work environment. Particularly during stressful times, I like to find opportunities to express appreciation for coworkers. For example, X is always very helpful, quick to respond, and a pleasure to work with. Recently X helped me with something on a big project, so I sent an email to X’s manager expressing my appreciation for X, what an asset X is to their team, etc. I do wait to find a time it’s appropriate to share positive feedback (and limit it to no more than once or maybe twice a year per person), and each time the manager has forwarded my email on to the employee and affirmed that s/he is definitely a great part of their team. I know I keep a small ‘kudos’ file to cheer me up on rough days, so I hope it helps others as well!

  55. glittering narwhale*

    I work in a nonprofit and I have two stories about how wonderful the organization has been.
    When I first started there, it was a week before the annual holiday party when very generious bonuses were distributed to all the staff (it was a small nonprofit then, but we’ve grown). I was told to not expect a bonus because I hadn’t been there very long. And I was pleasantly surprised with quite a generious bonus for someoen who had only been there a week!

    Second – I had a close family member suddenly hospitalized for what was at the time and indeterminant amount of time. I had to take time off work to help get them situated at the hospital, and the situation was a bit traumatic for all concerned. The Executive Director and my direct supervisor sat me down to let me know that I could take as much time off as was needed and it would be paid, and that I did not have to worry about my job security as a result. “Family comes first” is what they said, and they actually meant it.

    I’ve now been here 12 years, and have no plans on leaving.

  56. Silly Goose*

    I was pregnant and in my third trimester in an old office building (no water fountains, bad tasting and possibly toxic water). It was also summer and I was on doctors orders to drink lots of water. I came into work one day and found a whole Costco sized case of bottled water in my office. No note. Nobody forthcoming.

    About a month and a half later, I finish up the water and the next day, a fresh case appears (I didn’t finish that one before maternity leave).

    In that office the culture was to work in your office with the door closed, so I hardly knew anyone outside my small team… And I knew it wasn’t them.

    When I finally got back from maternity leave, I found out it was a guy on my hallway (single, no kids, probably late 40s) who had been supplying me with water. I don’t think we had ever even spoken to each other at that point.

    1. JobHunter*

      That was so thoughtful of him. Bless the people who make sure others have food/water!

      When I was in grad school, my stipend wasn’t quite enough to cover my living expenses. I skipped a few lunches the last week of one month because grocery money was tight. I don’t recall talking to anyone about it, so I was very surprised to find a 12-pack of ramen noodles sitting on my desk chair one afternoon. I left it on my desk a few days, thinking it was placed there by mistake. When no one claimed it I made a large “THANK YOU RAMEN FAIRY” sign with post-it notes and enjoyed a few hot meals.

      1. Silly Goose*

        I snorted when I got to your post-it. I called my water-deliverer my “Bottled Water Fairy”

  57. ALM2019*

    A few years ago a family member was unexpectedly in the hospital close to the holidays. Between helping with their kids, driving the few hours back and forth to the hospital, and starting work a few hours early to be able to leave early I was getting 2-3 hours asleep a night. A coworker came in one morning and found me asleep at my desk. He hung out at my desk so he could wake me up if anyone else came in and texted another coworker to bring me coffee and breakfast. Being woken up by a coworker was unexpected but we’re still very good friends because of it.

  58. Mouse Anon*

    Several years ago, I had been in a new job for ~6 months when we had to put our beloved family cat to sleep at the age of 20-something (we never really knew his age because he’d been a stray for a few years, but it was estimated between 22 and 26 when he died). Not only did my boss insist I go home and take the next day off (and more, if I needed it), when I returned to the office I had the most heartfelt card signed by my boss, staff, and others, many of whom had written truly kind observations about the importance of pets in our lives. I remember feeling, at that moment, that I had definitely landed in the right place, and feeling so grateful for that.

  59. Leah*

    My house burned down in 2019. My family wasn’t hurt but we lost our beloved pets and everything we owned. My work family did more to help us than anyone. They raised thousands of dollars for us, covered me when I was out, brought us gift cards, food, clothes and offered us places to stay, furniture, and more. It is quite something to have people be so generous to you that you have no prayer of ever repaying them.

  60. LCH*

    i was coming to the end of a grant funded project and having a hard time finding my next job. my current place rehired me for a short term project. it seemed very timely. i don’t know if my boss actually came up with something in order to keep me employed, it was a newly acquired project, but it also didn’t need to be done right then.

  61. knitter*

    I have an evil co-worker (I’ll get to the kind one in a bit). My first year with the organization, she went out of her way to gaslight and undermine me. My position was new and added to lighten her load (though I came to realize she wasn’t actually doing that much work…but complained about how much she had so the org added a new position). Since it was new position, the responsibilities weren’t clearly outlined and we had to collaborate a lot. She used this as an opening to badmouth me to my boss and colleagues (ie-I wasn’t doing my work). She would send me emails and cc boss and grandboss with things like “X was looking for you but you weren’t here, did you leave early?”…and I would get the email when I was meeting with my boss. That example is probably the most tame of all the things she did. I don’t really want to relive her evilness. Suffice it to say, when I researched workplace bullying, she met almost all of the criteria on the site I looked at.
    My boss was doing what she could to manage the situation, but it was a union position and evil coworker had a permanent position and connections in very high places.

    There was a third person who worked with us in essentially an admin-like role. She was initially taken in by evil co-worker, but eventually started putting two and two together. She ended up filing an almost 20 page complaint detailing all the things evil co-worker did to me (and a few things to her to–evil co worker offloaded a lot of tasks kind co-worker didn’t have the authority to do, but kind co-worker didn’t realize this till I started)

    Kind co-worker had to deal with hours of interviewing as part of the investigation in addition to several of Evil co-workers’ attempts at retaliation (through colleague conduits). As part of this investigation, I submitted my own report, but kind co-worker’s had evidence for all the things I suspected, so she took the brunt of the fall out. Unfortunately Evil Co-worker remains employed with the org–the conclusion from HR was that it was a “personality conflict” or some lame BS like that.

    I will never be able to repay her kindness for coming forward, but I do my best to make sure I do everything I can to support her.

  62. NewUserName#720*

    Two stories, same person, about a decade apart.

    About 25 years ago I went to lunch with a co-worker, she was older and senior to me in a department that I supported. It was really a “get-to-know” you lunch. I mentioned that my husband had just lost his job, and she replied something to the effect of “I wonder if there is any way I can help?” Two days later she sought me out and told me she spoke to her husband about his business but they just weren’t hiring right now – I was so pleasantly surprised and it felt good to know that I knew someone as kind-hearted as this woman.

    Fast-forward about 10 years, different job but we end up at the same company (and this is NYC!!) and I am not working with her directly (different teams). My husband and kids are in a car accident and my kids sustained some minor injuries. My co-worker hunts down my home phone, and calls me from an airport to check on me and my family while returning from a business trip. The next day a package arrived for my kids, from her, with all sorts of toys and candy.

    This co-worker passed away from cancer a couple of years later. These were just small gestures really but thinking back the kindness overwhelms me.

  63. SnootBooper*

    I am fortunate to work in an office of kind people. This past March, we stayed open longer than most offices and when the groceries started running out of staples, I mentioned how I couldn’t get any fresh ginger. Lo and behold, there was a gorgeous chunk of ginger on my desk the next morning. With all the panic we were feeling in the 2nd and 3rd week of March, that small act of kindness brought me to tears.

  64. Sara M*

    Oh! I knew I had a better story. This didn’t happen to me, this happened in the 80s when I was in elementary school. It happened at the local high school.

    The music teacher was stricken by encephalitis. He was in a coma and nearly died. Despite predictions, he lived–and even walked again, with the aid of leg braces. This was over the winter of a school year, so of course a huge hit to his income (and he couldn’t get his extra income from teaching private lessons.)

    The chemistry teacher was one year away from retirement. He’d never missed a day in his whole career. He’d banked some absurd amount of vacation and medical days. Four or five months. He wasn’t close to the music teacher but of course he knew what happened.)

    The superintendent let the chemistry teacher donate ALL that leave to the music teacher. The local teachers in the district also donated some of their leave. The music teacher got an entire year of leave so he could recover, and the Booster Club gave him cash from the bake sales and so on.

    The music teacher, who always said he could never repay that kindness, went on to build one of the best music programs in the state. Our schools were constantly winning music competitions and awards and had huge participation from the students.

    So the chemistry teacher gave his kindness forward and it repaid over and over.

    1. Quill*

      There was a similar leave time drive for a teacher whose toddler had leukemia back when I was in elementary in the 90’s. It was also very successful.

  65. GloWormJukebox*

    When I was about 20, both of my parents died within only three months of one another, my dad in late November, my mom in mid-February. I was working as a reporter at a rural Iowa newspaper (it was literally in a one-room schoolhouse) while going to school at U of Iowa full-time. My mom died unexpectedly and pretty tragically, and the next morning I went to work expecting to just… do my work? Weird I know, but I was young.

    My boss found out that my mom had died the night before and insisted I go home. Two hours later, he showed up unannounced to my apartment with three large bags of groceries.

  66. M*

    I got word that my family dog died while I was at work. I had moved a few months before, and I knew she was old, but she was also my baby. I was there when she was born, and she was always my girl. My coworker mentioned it to my boss when he came down to give me something to scan. A bit later, he called me up to his office and sent me home (paid) because he could tell how upset I was, and he said I should make sure to take care of myself. The last attorney I worked for would have told me to suck it up and get work done, but my current boss was very compassionate. It’s a small gesture, but it was greatly appreciated.

    1. Anon for a sec*

      I’m grateful for the people who understand that the loss of a beloved animal is real grief. When I was writing my first book, my horse died suddenly just before my manuscript editing deadline. I was gutted; he was my beloved boy and it happened out of the blue. I had to email my editor to say I needed a few more days, thinking ‘he’s going to think I’m a complete flake.’ And his reply was so kind – he completely understood, told me to take the time I needed, and expressed his sympathy for the loss. It was a small act of comfort and so humane.

    2. Bluebell*

      Also a pet story – I left mid day when my older dog was at the vet’s and they told us he was septic and euthanasia was recommended. My whole team was so kind to me, and then a year later when I took a “puppy moon” week off for our new arrival, they made me the sweetest homemade card!

  67. Alice Quinn*

    My dad passed in 2018. He spent several days in the ICU leading up to his death and it was incredibly hard. My manager gave me all the time off I needed in the days leading up to and after his death, and he and his wife drove over an hour away to attend the funeral. The entire team pitched in and gave us a $150 gift card for food deliveries and sent flowers. And another one of my teammates, who learned that I was struggling to get a slideshow put together for his service, came to my house, picked up all the pictures, and put it together herself. Then she also drove over an hour to the service to set it up and make sure it was running smoothly.

    All of these kindnesses really meant a lot and made one of the worst times in my life a bit more bearable.

  68. mcfizzle*

    My mother died when I was 11, and my grandmother raised me after that.

    Two months after starting a new job, she was diagnosed with aggressive, terminal liver cancer. My boss flexed the rules for allowing me leave to be with her in hospice (as my grandmother was essentially a parent) to Wisconsin to be with her, other than “we’re thinking of you”. I had almost no time accrued, and they were so kind in telling me my job was secure and to just focus on her/family. I was out for nearly 7 weeks and never suffered any repercussions.

    I am so grateful for their compassion with a young, brand-new employee.

    12.5 years later, I’m still at this same job.

  69. Bridget*

    I’d been at my job for not even a week when it was someone’s birthday, and there was a package of DELICIOUS cookies from a neighborhood bakery in the break room for that person’s birthday, brought in by the office birthday person – I hadn’t yet learned who it was. I was in there chatting with 2 coworkers I didn’t know very well, and we all said how great the cookies were. Well, when it was my birthday a few weeks later, my birthday treat was the same cookies! One of the same coworkers was in the break room with me again as I was chowing down on a cookie (we do work besides eating, I promise!) and I said how what a coincidence that the office birthday person brought in the same cookies instead of the other pastries we’d had for other birthdays. She said *she* was the office birthday person, and she remembered how much I’d liked those cookies so she bought them for my birthday too :)

    1. willow for now*

      Ooh, I just remembered – I gave the Archway cookie driver directions one day and he gave me a package of cookies!

  70. Schnoodle HR*

    I left a very toxic job, and on one of my last days of my notice, a coworker who knew what all I was going through gave me a very thoughtful card and note and a little box of chocolate.

    She moved on a few months afterwards for the same reasons I did.

    It was nice to know and feel the solidarity.

  71. Media Monkey*

    i have so many positive stories (I work in a very people business where everyone tends to be very friendly and open). when my dad had cancer in the US (I’m in the UK) i had to go over at short notice twice and both times my boss told me to leave straight away and asked me if i could afford to pay for the plane ticket or did i need money. Time was not taken as PTO or unpaid. When i was ill and signed off for 6 weeks, i got multiple bunches of flowers delivered to home. When i had my daughter in addition to a lovely lunch and gift before, i also got flowers. when i was pregnant my boss would tell me to go home after a meeting finished instead of going back to the office (so leaving about 1.5-2 hours early to improve my commute). when i got married the company paid for all of our wedding china. plus so many drinks, lunches, ice creams in the summer, chocolate bars, taxis home after working late.

  72. The Unlikely Lactation Advocate*

    I had a baby while working at my last job and breastfed for the first year, which meant I had to pump at work. Our company had a really awesome pumping room set up — the room had a hospital-grade pump and full-sized fridge and every employee returning from parental leave who needed it was issued a personal kit of parts. There was a specific calendar where you had to reserve your block of time, in no more than 30-minute chunks, to pump throughout the day, so you could schedule it. The problem is that they didn’t tell anyone any of this unless they were a pumping mother, so visitors (and the hosts of visitors) didn’t know that the room was by reservation only, so I would often end up finding the room in use when I went for my scheduled time. I repeatedly complained to HR about the problem with no reply. After noticing that I was having trouble, my colleague whose office happened to be across from the Mothers’ Room, asked if I minded telling him my schedule so he could remind people that the room was reserved if they showed up near those times. Well, I still had some problems, culminating in someone actually getting a security guard to unlock the door while I was pumping, at a time I had the room reserved. I sent another email to HR, who again ignored me. My colleague, who was slightly more senior and more used to working with HR, told me he’d handle it. In less than a week, there were multiple signs up indicating that the room was by appointment only, and a “do not disturb” sign to hang on the door while you were pumping. It is because of his help that I was able to keep pumping the whole first year.

    1. Tasha*

      This makes me say WTH is wrong with people (getting security to unlock the door), but it’s also an example of how good people can be.

  73. Bex*

    At a job a few years ago, I had an accident over Thanksgiving that ended with me in the emergency room and being treated for second degree burns all over my hands. As someone who works on a computer, this was bad. I called my boss in tears, and explained to him what happened, and that I wouldn’t be able to drive to the work site, much less work. I was panicked – I had no savings, absolutely nothing to get me through.

    My boss (who I still hold as the shining example of bosses) immediately cleared things so I could work from home as long as needed, got speech to text software installed on a computer and shipped it to me, sent out a preemptive email to our team (after clearing it with me) that was vague but made clear I’d be slow responding to some things. Then got me a personal care basket with small items to help – including new oven mitts (the reason I had burns) and gifted me a month of cleaning services so that I wouldn’t be trying to do household chores with injuries. He and my assistant manager also arranged meal deliveries from my favorite places for two weeks.

    The coup de grace, however? They adjusted work around so that I’d only be needed about two and a half hours a day. But according to the company’s rules, this would entitle me to a full day’s pay each day.

    In short, they did everything they could to help me recover quickly and without stress.

    Did I mention I’d only been there for a month and a half prior?

    Andy & John will forever be the standard of managerial care that I look for.

  74. Anonymous Poster*

    My wife suffered a miscarriage in the second trimester. Being the husband, most people just say they’re sorry and give some space. That’s generally fine, I suppose, but I was heartbroken about my not going to become a father.

    I told the owner of my company at the time, since I had earlier told her about the pregnancy and started figuring out a leave plan. She asked me, “Are you ok?”

    I replied, “My wife is doing physically fine, just heartbroken about it all.”

    She looked me in the eye and said, “No, Anonymous Poster, I asked if you’re ok.”

    No one had ever asked me that before. I started crying. She closed the door to her office, and let me pull myself together. Then said to take whatever time I needed, and that things would be fine.

    I’ve never been so touched. I miss that job dearly. She was extremely excited when after I had left and we had our child, and was thrilled to receive pictures of him.

  75. Third or Nothing!*

    A senior level coworker once bought me lunch for my birthday because I couldn’t eat what the company catered for that month’s birthday celebration meal. (There’s a whole backstory with that but basically I have food allergies and the people in charge of ordering refuse to get me anything on the monthly company order because “no one else gets to choose what they get.”) Not sure if he expensed it or not, but I really appreciated it.

    1. Exhausted Trope*

      I so feel you. I felt all kinds of awkward at oldjob that did monthly mass Bday celebrations with cake I cannot eat and which couldn’t have cared less about it.

  76. old curmudgeon*

    My Elder Kid has a colleague who had been trying to escape an abusive spouse, and who finally succeeded in moving out to stay at a friend’s house while the spouse was out of town. When the employer’s HR learned about it, the company went into high gear, using money from the employee assistance fund to pay security deposit and first month’s rent on the apartment the colleague found, buying her furniture, filling her refrigerator with food, and generally making sure she was safe in a place of her own.

    The same employer is where the workplace shooting occurred a couple years ago, which I mentioned in a recent comment. In the aftermath of that tragedy, the company:
    • Paid everyone who had been present during the shooting to just stay home and recover for a month.
    • Found an alternate office site within less than a day for staff who were too traumatized to return to the site of the shooting.
    • Put a psychologist on retainer for a full year so that any employee who had been present for the tragedy could obtain free counseling.
    • When they began to consider returning to the office where it had happened, they went around to each person who was present on that day and asked “what is the one part of the office that would be a deal-breaker for you to ever see again?” The reason they did that was to make sure that all of those trigger-points were identified and removed during the major overhaul/remodeling they did before moving staff back in.

    Elder Kid definitely sees drawbacks/issues with their employer, but it’s things like that that have kept them there for nearly a decade now. So I’m not sure if it counts as “kindness,” or just as really good business sense, but either way, it works.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I am hoping that sometime society will consider this “common sense”. This is how to handle crisis.

      My friend was involved in an accident. It was not his fault at all. But there was a loss of life. It made headlines and the article was clear, it was not his fault. He had a relatively new job. His boss called him up and said, “Take all the time you need.” My friend had about a month off, with pay.

      I am sure that gesture makes a difference in my friend’s health and quality of life to this very day.

      1. old curmudgeon*

        You are so right about that. The reason I posted it here is that it IS so unusual. It shouldn’t be, but it is enough out of the ordinary in today’s world to merit a mention in a thread about kindness.

  77. SunKitten*

    After my Covid diagnosis in June, my coworkers consistently reached out to check on me during the six weeks I was out of commission since they know I live alone. They arranged deliveries of cookies, groceries, meals, flowers…the whole time I felt valued and supported. No pressure or talk about work – they just wanted me to take the time I needed to recover fully. Full pay for the entire six weeks, no paperwork required, no questions asked. I’m very fortunate and love my company and my coworkers!!

  78. ejd3*

    Last year when I was diagnosed w/ breast cancer, I opted to work through my treatments. That was the best tactic for me, stay busy and not focus on a second cancer diagnosis.

    I missed a minor deadline and reached out to the guy to say hey sorry I will get you that documentation next week. He was very kind, said don’t worry about it. In fact, we don’t need it for another three weeks. I kept saying I would get it to him, and he kept saying to take my time and then I realized. He knew what I was going through and he was looking to make my life a little easier.

    I so appreciated that, I went to his cube and thanked him. Told him that sometimes I’m dense but I finally realized he was looking to help me and that I really appreciated it.

  79. Depressionado*

    Many many years ago, I started my first job out of grad school. I was very bright -eyed and excited to start a career. Over time, I would experience things that just seemed off. My boss would publicly shame me during staff meetings, as well as regularly yell at me, in my cubicle for things I had no control over. She would give me instructions and then gaslight me later on, yelling at me about how she never gave those instructions and how incompetent I was. She even told me to clean up the office after a meeting, once. Just to be clear, we had maintenance staff on-call, who could come over at the drop of a hat. She was white and I was african american (still am lol), so I started to suspect she had real issues with diversity. But it was my first job out of grad school, and I really wanted things to just ‘work out’. I was doubting my instincts because I needed the money and desperately wanted to thrive in my career.

    One day during Christmas week, the boss stepped out for a doctor’s appointment. My department was empty, except for me. A few older african american employees popped over to check on me. They immediately warned me about her, and told me they experienced racist interactions with that boss, but no one did anything because she was friends with the right people. They told me my role was a dead-end position and that no one hired had ever been retained because of the lack of opportunity to grow and the toxic workplace culture. They told me the company did not promote black women. They literally told me to leave, and that I would be better off somewhere else.

    I took their advice and ran like hell. And boy am I grateful for it. Because I didn’t know what ‘normal’ was, and I was still developing a sense of workplace expectations. I was a blank slate, and I honestly was questioning my own instincts. If those employees hadn’t spoken to me, I would have spent several years, just trying to make things work. Wondering why I was so frustrated.

    I have since found out that their reputation tanked – glassdoor is full of dozens of comments warning applicants about the racist, toxic culture.

    I will always be grateful to those employees – I struggle with depression and anxiety and feel like in some ways, they saved my life.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It’s amazing how many gestures work into a quality of life thing. I am so glad these people spoke to you and you took their advice.

      Not the same, but an overarching theme. I had a job where an older woman told me to get out, for my own good. It was a longer conversation and she was very nice. I am just hitting the punchline here. I did get out, not as fast as I should have. It was The Worst Job Ever.

      I was young. I didn’t have any experience to draw on. But I now know that this is not usual. Cohorts don’t tell people to just leave. Older me now understands that when I see this or hear of this as in your example, the reasons are usually DIRE.

    2. incessant owlbears*

      I’m so glad they took you aside to warn you. They took a risk in doing that — it was something they could easily have been blamed for doing. But they did it anyway. That’s kindness, and also it’s courage.

      1. GratefulTeacher*

        Depressionado, I am so sorry you experienced such racism and gaslighting, especially on your first job out of grad school! That can take a huge toll on your mental health for years to come and I really appreciate you sharing your story. Those coworkers are great people and I hope they were able to avoid any toxicity from her!

  80. Emi*

    When I was fresh out of college, I had a missing stair sort of coworker. In my first week he made a weird/inappropriate joke about my being from a large Catholic family, and over the next year told me a series of deeply uncomfortable anecdotes about himself as a horny teenager, his son’s sexual problems, and the “funny” sexual harassment he’d committed in a previous job. I would push back more or less in the moment, but I never reported him. He also bothered one of the library workers, who was even less assertive than me (and a contractor). At some point a senior male coworker saw this happening and reported him to the boss, which I will always be grateful for, because it wasn’t until then that I really realized it was harassment and not just “wow what an uncomfortable conversation I haven’t extricated myself from.” I think the creep just got counseled, but having someone on my side gave me a lot more nerve to deal with him later on.

  81. Malarkey01*

    I was on a business trip when I got an emergency call that my son had an accident and was being rushed to the hospital (it all ended fine but was very scary for a day). When I got the call I yelled “oh my god, x is hurt and in an ambulance!!” My coworker looked at me, grabbed my stuff from the conference room and while I was still getting information on the phone guided me out the door and into a cab. Without me realizing what was happening as I was calling hospitals, the teacher riding with him, and my husband she got me to the airport and had called our travel arranger to get me on a flight that was boarding as we arrived at the airport. She walked me to security, got my hotel key from me, and while I was running to the gate and flying home, went to my room, packed my stuff and brought it home with her on her flight the next day.
    I cannot imagine how long it would have taken me to get home if she hadn’t taken charge. Everything is a giant blur, but she moved fast and got me to my son. I’m crying just remembering it.

    1. Malarkey01*

      OH and I just realized I’ve written about this coworker before- she’s Jane of the “whole grilled salmon served during a meeting” fame.

        1. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

          I think it was the one where there were meeting scheduled over the lunch break, so Jane just kept coming in with more and more elaborate lunches and eating them during the meeting? The boss refused to change the meeting time, so couldn’t object when an attendee was eating given that it technically was their lunch hour.

          1. Paulina*

            And she was feeding everyone — sounds like she has good priorities when it comes to taking care of people as people, not just workers.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Oh wow, I’m glad he’s okay.
      When I worked in a laboratory, the owner who lived in another state was at our facility when his wife passed away from congestive heart failure. Their daughter found her in her bedroom at home and called him, hysterical. My awesome manager sprang into action; we had him booked on a flight and drove him to the airport within an hour of the call. He was able to get home that night.

  82. Philly Redhead*

    :::::Trigger warning for pregnancy loss:::::

    I was working as a long-term contractor in the internal agency of a large bank. When I started, I was about 10 weeks pregnant. Only my supervisor and one co-worker knew. I was planning to make the announcement to the larger team after my anatomy scan.

    Well, the week before the scan, my water broke, and I lost the baby. I was out of work Monday and Tuesday, but as a contractor, I didn’t get paid time off, and couldn’t afford to miss any more work and I was still in my probation period, so not allowed to work from home yet, so on Wednesday, I went back into the office. I couldn’t keep my composure (didn’t help that I had to drive past the hospital where the loss happened on my commute to work), and my co-worker immediately knew something was wrong. My manager was out on vacation, so she quickly and quietly found another manager and told her the situation, and got that manager to approve me to work from home for two weeks.

  83. library library*

    We have many kind patrons at our library. One patron years ago carved tiny ducks for us to put on our monitors.

  84. Public Sector Manager*

    I started working for the world’s worst law firm right after I got my bar results. Two weeks later, they had me cover my first appearance in Family Court on a child support matter, unsupervised. I didn’t even take Family Law in law school, and got no training from the office, so it was malpractice for me to be there. I didn’t even know where to check in with the clerk. Opposing counsel came over to me, asked to discuss the case, and this is what he said:

    “You look green. Is this your first hearing? Here’s what you do. Give the clerk your card, tell her what number on the calendar, and give a time estimate. Say 5 minutes so we can get in first. Now, the judge is referred to as “Ice Man,” like in Top Gun. The judge will show no emotion and is going to split everything down the middle. I’ve read your boss’s pleading, and go with those arguments. But the judge is going to give you half of what you asked for. He’s going to do the same with me. Both our clients will be annoyed, but it is what it is. Good luck and welcome to the world of Family Law!”

    I’m forever indebted for the kindness opposing counsel showed me.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      I like this one! I always benefit from knowing what to expect, and in your situation I’d have been nearly frantic and so grateful.

    2. Coverage Associate*

      You just reminded me of all the times co defendants’ counsel similarly helped me, and especially the times they did it without making me feel stupid.

  85. Jay*

    My dad died suddenly on a Tuesday morning. I walked out of my office and left patients in rooms (I did write my notes on the ones I’d seen because I’m neurotic that way and I had to wait for my husband to pick me up). My husband and I and my brother and sister-in-law spent the next week at my mother’s house in another state. They all had to call or email work almost every day (they work in fashion marketing, science education, and magazine editing). I’m the only doc in the bunch. I called once to let my office know when I’d be back. That was it. There was no paperwork on my desk when I got back – they took care of all of it. Without being asked, they’d reduced my patient load for the first two weeks I was back. It made a really difficult time at least somewhat less difficult.

  86. AliceBD*

    My first job out of college I would frequently have to leave the office parking lot after dark (after going to an event or a day trip with a group and the boss driving dropping us off). My male counterpart/coworker would always wait until I or other women had gotten out of the parking garage safely before leaving. I get freaked out by parking garages anyway and I really appreciated that he looked out for our safety.

  87. Vee*

    During my sophomore year of college I worked at my college recreation center. I was working on my birthday and was feeling pretty low and lonely. I don’t remember if I mentioned that part, but I did tell my co-worker and the student manager it was my birthday. During my shift the manager told me a student left something in the ladies locker room and asked me to go look for it. So I did, but came back empty handed. When I was back at my post I had a balloon (we had helium and balloons for events) and a snack from the vending machine courtesy of the co-worker and manager. The locker room thing was just a distraction. A different student passed by during all of this and gave me a bit of money to get another snack from the vending machine for my birthday.

    It was a major lift on a sad day.

  88. AcadLibrarian*

    I knew I was leaving the job soon, so I wiped out my mail lady’s library fines (+$200). HA! It was a shitty place to work and she was trying to raise her grandson by herself. The system couldn’t tell at the time who waived fines. Next time I saw Shirley, I told her I quit and that last day wiped out her fines. She was very happy. (She had lost a book on CD. People don’t realize how expensive those suckers are)

    1. library user anon*

      A librarian wiped my fines (more like $20) one day and emailed to say she had done so because she thought I had enough on my plate.

      I did, with several small children, but what she couldn’t have known is that I was also suffering a life-threatening flare-up of a chronic condition.

      Having someone just pay me a tiny attention when I was so overwhelmed was hugely bolstering and I will never forget it.

      I can’t thank her, but I can thank you. It makes a difference.

    2. Youth Services Librarian*

      Took years, but I successfully got all our children’s and teen materials to be fine-free and I got a clean slate policy so when kids change over to an adult card all fines and lost items are cleared off. If parents come and talk to me I will almost always reduce lost item charges as much as possible. Fines on adult materials disappear in my vicinity frequently and I will ask the adult selectors to reduce their fees if it comes up to me.
      Partly I think it’s being a good librarian, but partly it’s to pay back my childhood librarian. We lived outside the city limits and a card to the big city library cost $50, an impossible sum for my family at the time. I’d literally read everything in our tiny one-room local library and sadly told the librarian when I was checking out that I wouldn’t be coming back for a while because I couldn’t renew my card. She pulled up my record and told me it wasn’t expired – my card mysteriously did not expire for another four years until I moved.

      1. Lyudie*

        As a former poor kid who read voraciously and lived quite a ways from the nearest library (so going there was an Ordeal and couldn’t always happen), thank you for all of this <3

  89. DuchessofSpice*

    A few years ago, my partner passed away suddenly from a heart attack. It was a complete shock as he was only in his early 40s, and, as far as everyone knew, was completely healthy and fit. For about a week after he passed I kept just pushing myself to work (his family was taking care of his final arrangements, and the formal memorial service was not being scheduled for a few more weeks, so there weren’t really a lot of practical things for me to take care of). We had a major crunch time going on for a project in which my role was critical, so I just figured it would be better for me to work as much as possible rather than be alone with my thoughts. I managed this until the project was finished, but the next day at work I completely broke down.

    My boss – a hard-charging Type-A person who was not at all known for being terribly understanding or compassionate about employees’ personal lives – asked what I needed and how he could help. First, he offered to just let me have the rest of the day off, but I didn’t really want that as I didn’t think being alone was a great idea. So – he got the idea that he could take the afternoon off to spend with me. The weather was lovely so we went on a long walk around the city, stopped in a few antique stores and art galleries (places I loved), and ended up at one of my favorite restaurants for a late, leisurely lunch. I felt so incredibly cared for and appreciated in those moments, especially that someone so busy and highly scheduled would take this kind of time. After that I was able to function much better at work, too, just knowing that I had my boss’s support. To this day I remain so, so appreciative of his compassion on that day.

    1. Gumby*

      I *love* this one. The stories of understanding, financial help, unexpected treats, etc. are all wonderful but somehow the gift of his time just seems so touching to me.

  90. weird magnet*

    For my first job out of school, I moved from the upper midwest to Tennessee. I moved without having been to the state before (I interviewed over Skype). My new coworkers came to my apartment and helped my dad and I unload the U Haul. It was so incredibly kind. What would have taken the two of us a few hours took 30 minutes.

  91. Anon this time*

    My mom describes herself as a “lapsed Catholic,” and her mother was as well. When she got back from leave after her mom died, there was a card from one of her clients in New York, sending condolences for her loss and letting her know that she’d arranged for a mass to be said for my grandmother at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I have no idea how difficult it is to get a mass said for someone, but it meant the world to her. For someone who had never met her in person to think to do something like that (and to know enough about her to know it would be appreciated) is unreal.

    1. Chinook*

      To have a mass be said for anyone is easy (unless it is a popular location, like the Vatican) and cheap (a donation, usually $10 or $20) but means the world to a Catholic because a) so few people think to do it and b) it means you are taking care for the soul of the dead (which to us is huge). When it happens, the deceased’s name is mentioned during an important prayer ritual, so it is doubly impressive because her name is being mentioned and she is being remembered in such an impressive place. To do so provided honour both to the dead as well as to the family who receive notice that it has been done.

      1. Laura H.*

        Agreed. And even though it’s a relatively small gesture in a worldly sense, small things done with great love hit differently when you’re grieving- everything does, but even the smallest kindness touches the heart. And as Catholics we pray for the dead and those who mourn them pretty often. The Church just celebrated the feast of All Souls Day this past Monday which commemorates those who have passed.

  92. I Stay Up Too Late*

    I had an operation about fifteen years ago. I am single and do not have any family in the area. Everyone at my work took care of me. Someone from work drove me to the hospital. Another colleague drove me home from the hospital. A colleague spent the night in my spare room the first couple of nights because I was not supposed to be alone. During the recovery process, each department sent me a different meal every day for lunch. So, for example on Monday a few people from one department showed up with a huge meal. Then on Tuesday representatives from another department showed up with another meal, etc., etc., etc. This went on for about two weeks or so. I was very much appreciated. They also collected close to ~ $1500 for me. I know some people might consider this overreaching or intrusive. However, I was so extremely grateful.

    This same workplace really came through and was loving and caring when my mother passed away.

  93. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    content note: pregnancy loss

    Ten years ago, I was working for someone known to be a real hardass. Very stern and demanding, no sense of humour, would yell at people if they messed up.

    I miscarried, and it was awful. I had to go into hospital for a couple of days, plus bleeding at home for another week or so, plus all the psychological trauma you’d expect.

    I called her the first day I was going to be off, and gave her the absolute bare bones of what was happening (she didn’t know I had been pregnant). She immediately told me she would handle everything and I was to take care of myself and forget about work until I was completely recovered, etc. She was gently sympathetic without being horrorstruck or otherwise dramatic, and didn’t keep me on the phone a second longer than necessary, nor contact me while I was away.

    I found out weeks later that she had totally gone to bat on my behalf, even taking on HR when they were assholes about my time off. And she did it all so discreetly that nobody – including HR – knew what kind of sick I had been. So I just came back to work once I was well enough, and it was as though I’d never been away and nobody asked difficult questions or gave me side eye.

    I wrote to her recently to talk about how respected she is within the profession (holy moly is she ever) but crucially how kind she had been when what I needed above all else was kindness. Her reply was just as kind and generous as you’d hope.

    I saw her hardass-ness in a different light after that too.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Sometimes these hardasses are the best to have in our corner. I love this story. I am sorry for your loss.

  94. Belle_bear*

    My company set out care packages to all our corporate employees a couple weeks ago- including snacks, a mask, hand sanitizer, and a little guide book for some of the references we usually have posted at our desk- think location listings, etc.

    Non covid related, my team had to switch departments on my last day of work before maternity leave. We had to move our desks, not too far, but it was down a flight of stairs. My team and managers, old and new, all stepped in and I didn’t have to move a single thing; I was very grateful!

  95. Crystal*

    After Harvey flooded many houses in town, my employer encouraged groups of employees to go out in teams to muck out … pull wet sheetrock and wet furniture and all the clean-up that goes with several feet of dirty floodwater where it’s not wanted. They helped co-workers and neighbors and strangers, since there was no shortage of work to be done. A lot of that work was on our own time, but plenty was on company time too.

  96. Amazing boss*

    My favorite former boss (who was wonderful and actually cared about my professional development) who would bring in treats randomly, take the team to lunch, etc. For the holidays, she drove us to the nearest major city an hour away, took us to a very nice (bucket list for many) restaurant, and then gave us the afternoon (paid) to do holiday shopping before taking us back to the office. When I had to leave (because we were relocating), she planned a going away celebration for me in the nearest major city and we went to three different (lovely) restaurants for drinks, main, and dessert. And she gave us some really nice furniture so we’d have something to start off with in our new place. We still keep in touch now, many years later, and I have no doubt that I would still be working with her if we hadn’t had to move.

  97. PlatypusTuesday*

    I was working on a time-sensitive project which required a lot of physical activity. I took a quick nap in the break room (which turned into something a bit longer than quick). I awoke to find a card signed by the other members of the project, thanking me for my hard work. I still have the card.

  98. Emmie*

    Our maintenance manager moved 1,600 miles to our town so his child could receive life-saving medical treatments from our local well-renowned hospital. He had been living in town for months when one of our coworkers asked him what he had planned for Christmas. He told her that he had nothing planned. Neither he nor his wife could afford Christmas gifts for his kids because of the medical costs and the move. He asked her to keep this to herself. That coworker took up a collection for Christmas gifts for his kids, and impressed upon us how important it was to keep this confidential. She added plenty of money to her collection too. On Christmas eve, she dropped off plenty of wrapped presents for all his kids on his doorsteps and a gift certificate for the local grocery store to buy Christmas dinner. I think she even threw in a Christmas tree. She rang the doorbell, quickly hid, and saw him open the door to the gifts. She stayed behind only so the gifts were not stolen. He returned to work after Christmas asking her, and a few others who did this for him. To this day, our kind-spirited and wonderful maintenance manager has no idea who gave him the gifts. I have since lost touch with everyone at that job, but my coworker’s thoughtfulness has stayed with me more than two decades later. And I still hope that the maintenance manager, who was such a good person and dad, has healthy kids and is living his best life.

  99. Abogado Avocado*

    When we were all locked down earlier this year for COVID, my husband’s office sent an air-freshening indoor plant to all employees. Not only does the air-freshening part work, but all we’ve had to do is water the plant and watch it grow. A small kindness — and very relaxing to have something at home that is both beautiful and easy to care for (and that the cats won’t nibble on for some unknown reason).

    1. That_guy*

      I have to know what kind of plant this is. We have cats that chew on any plant we bring in that they can get to.

  100. Em*

    Back in February of this year, my parents (not elderly, but both retired and with some well-managed health conditions) were on vacation in Spain when the country went into lockdown. They were stuck there for nearly three weeks waiting on an repatriation flight, and I was frantic, because while they were housed (they knew someone with a vacation home in Spain — no electricity, but running water, furniture, and a roof), we didn’t know IF there would be a repatriation flight or what to do if their medications ran out and neither of them spoke more than enough Spanish to be a polite tourist.

    I work for an EAP provider that covers a lot of companies which, while based in Canada, have offices and employees all over the world. As such, we have resources globally. I mentioned to a friend at the company how worried I was, and she put me in touch with someone in Ireland she knew, and he helped me come up with a plan and information about EU regulations regarding foreign prescription renewals and all sorts.

    It wound up not being necessary — they got on a flight two days later — but it meant SO much.

  101. Akcipitrokulo*

    This was a few years back. I was in IT and manager, along with others, was kind of geeky. We all were.

    I was involved in arranging the Christmas party. It wasn’t going well – in part, because upper management point blank refused to let it start before the phones had finished, or to arrange cover… so most staff would need to hang about for an hour, with a few nibbles out, keeping it down until games started.

    I put a *lot* of work into it. And there was a handful of people.

    Including my boss who made sure he was there to support me, make it slightly less of a disaster and generally help out.

    I found out later that he decided to do this…

    …instead of going to the first night showing of Rogue One.

    1. ActuallyAutistic*

      NB: I am autistic, and while I am reasonably able to “mask” at work, inevitably there are unspoken rules I don’t–and won’t–pick up on. Things like, “in our company culture we do x this way for no apparent reason except that’s how we do it”

      At my last officejob I also had a ToxicManager who took a huge amount of advantage of the fact that I didn’t know what professional boundaries should look like, including spending hours on the phone with me after work venting about my grandboss, resulting in me being terrified of my grandboss, burnt out from trying to manage emotions on my whole team and from my manager, and working double time (literally 12 hour days 6 days a week with no lunch break) to try to anticipate and get ahead of whatever I thought ToxicManager might yell about next.

      ToxicManager also straight up lied to me about promotion prospects and told me Grandboss was all set to approve a proposal for me to move into a management role, so when the two of us sat dowm with Grandboss and I confidently laid out my plan for the next few months and a 30% raise, it was very kind of Grandboss not to laugh us out of her office.

      Instead, she set up an hour to meet with just me, and very kindly walked me through what that conversation should have looked like, as well as what my actual career aspirations were, transferred me to a nontoxic boss, and got me set up on a pilot project that allowed me to develop skills I need for my actual passion–at the increased rate I needed to support my family.

      For the next six months, Grandboss met with me every other week and walked me through understanding the culture of our office and how to professionally deal with the inevitable conflicts in any workplace, and never once batted an eye when I pulled an Aspie and did it wrong.

      She’s why I feel safe interviewing in my job search now–because she took the time to teach me things NT people just…pick up…long after I should theoretically have had enough experience that wasn’t necessary.

  102. Writelhd*

    I just had a baby, and my coworker organized a meal train and so many colleagues signed up for it! And the gift card is they looked were also really so generous. Abd that one time last year when I was stuck in a bad car accident and my husband was working out of town, my boss came and picked me up, then the owner took me to the doctor and then out for brunch.

  103. Akcipitrokulo*

    Same boss as above :)

    He went to a conference. Vendor was handing out freebies.

    He came back with *two* yoyos because he knew I had two sons.

  104. diehardfan*

    When I first started at my organization, I had a manager who was…well, a little off. He was somehow both a micromanager (made us submit updates at the end of each day about everything we worked on, and required us to CC him on every email), and also extremely hands-off (would never actually read any of these emails. He was mostly a nice person, but I would dread the days he was in the office and it became clear that he played it fast and loose with ethical standards at work.

    He decided to leave the organization after I had been there for a year and in turn the department was going to be dissolved and I would lose my job. It was obvious that the manager was very much done with this job and didn’t really care what happened to his direct reports. He specifically wanted the department dissolved so that no one else could take over his position. I had started applying to new jobs, but then a coworker who was senior to me made a point to lobby for the rest of our team to be transferred to another department (we were a team of 3 after the manager left). He successfully negotiated our new roles, and I eventually was given two promotions within the next two years. This coworker, my new manager, and new great-grand-boss all welcomed me into the new department with open arms, and showed me what a healthy work environment should be.

    My current manager went to bat for me with my most recent promotion successfully securing me a 25% raise (after having been granted a 30% raise the year before), and nominating me for a bonus 2 years in a row that I received. I am happier than ever and so grateful to these wonderfully kind human beings who actually understand how to keep their employees and treat them with respect.

  105. irene adler*

    Absolutely true story:

    About once a year, at work, we’d would load up my little pick-up truck with all the broken electronics. I would take them down to the recycle station in my city on Saturdays when it was open.

    The usual procedure was that I would park my truck in front of the roll-up doorway in the early morning, and Don, the shipping clerk, would pile everything in. Then I would come back mid-morning to move my truck out of the doorway.

    This particular time, I stopped by mid-morning and found Don with all his tools out, the tailgate of my truck down, and him tightening up some screws on the tailgate (actually, I think he may have replaced them with new screws). He said, “Hi. I haven’t loaded up your truck yet. But I got the tailgate working again.” Big grin!

    I thought, “OH how wonderful! That thing hasn’t worked in years!”

    Don continued. “Just took a couple of zip ties. That’s all. Zip ties. Now, if this tailgate latch fails again, you bring it right to me and I’ll take care of it. Okay?”

    That was Don. He always had a way of helping folks out – knowing just what someone needed-without ever being obtrusive.

    A month later, I moved to a new home. And my trusty truck -with the working tailgate latch- did the job with me.

    After the move, I wrote Don a little note. I debated sending it to him as I thought he might think it too corny. It read, “Don, at every load I was singing your praises! I sure dreaded having to lift my stuff over that tailgate again and again. You really are an angel to have fixed it for me. Me and my back thank you!”

    He acknowledged the note. Reminded me to bring it to him should the latch ever break again.

    A few weeks later, Don suffered a massive stroke and did not recover.

    I’m glad I sent him the note.

  106. LemonLime*

    When I was in high school I worked part time for a car dealership. Well I scrimped and saved every last dollar in my paychecks until I could buy a used car from them for 1,500. That was a HUGE purchase for me! The car was my ride to and from school, work, and eventually college. A week after purchase I was driving down the road and my rear (axle?) broke and the whole back wheel part was bent upwards making it completely undrivable. I had to get my car towed to the dealership. After a towing expense I couldn’t afford and a still completely drained bank account, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for the parts and labor to fix my car. I was in an anxious daze and the office ladies wanted to know why. I told them what had happened. To my great surprise, the office Manager left the office, spoke with the service manager, the dealership manager and the OWNER of the dealership insisting they cover the expense because I had bought that car from them, was a poor highschool student and the expense was a drop in the bucket for them. They agreed. My car was fixed for free and I owed nothing. The kindness of the managers, owner and especially for the office manager to take it upon herself to speak up for me (something I never would have done) was just amazing!

    1. irene adler*

      I’m glad they took care of you. Puts the lie to the poor reputation car dealers seem to have.

  107. LiteralGirl*

    I have pretty severe depression and anxiety (which my immediate team knows about), and my boss has removed the part of my job that makes me most anxious and overwhelms me. At the same time, she is encouraging development in other areas so I’m not stagnant. My coworkers are all fine with it, because I’m able to help and support them in ways that make use of my talents and skills.
    My team is amazing and I feel privileged to work with them.

  108. the.kat*

    Our CFO is not known for being warm and fuzzy. He’s normally not one of my favorite people. During what was one of my worst COVID weeks so far, I got overwhelmed and let a report that normally goes to him every day lapse. When I finally caught up at the end of the week, I got an email from him asking why he was getting all the reports at once instead of one every day. I was prepared to get not just in trouble, but in major trouble. So I confessed, let him know that it was my fault and that I’d be better from then on. Instead of a snarky reply or forwarding the message to my boss, he thanked me and said that he hoped everything was okay. It wasn’t much, but that little kindness got me through the rest of the week.

  109. Pug Mom*

    I had to say goodbye to one of my dogs a few months ago. Normally I wouldn’t have told anyone at work, but my manager called me right after I got the news and I stupidly answered and burst into sobs. Later that day he emailed me an Uber Eats gift card so I wouldn’t have to think about cooking. He’s not very present as a manager so it was unexpectedly kind.

  110. SpurLeeLoch*

    My current boss is the nicest lady I’ve ever worked for! My past few jobs I’ve always felt like an outsider-passive aggressive coworkers and just outright toxic cultures. I took this job right before Covid hit (like I finished my training around St Patricks Day), and since it’s at a 24 hour assisted living facility I was able to adjust my hours and work in the evenings (when I have reliable child care). I almost never see my boss (she works days), but she always remembers me and is so kind and supportive. I still get our company swag, I’m included in all the team-building exercises (which I would be okay if they left me out of those, tbh…) but it’s just really nice to feel like I’m part of the group after being actively ostracized from my last few jobs.

  111. Middle Aged Lady*

    I came into a new job with a downtrodden, bitter employee who was afraid I was going to screw her over, too. I treated her like a valued resource for my learning the ropes, because she was, and turned her perspective around. I got her a job upgrade and a raise, and when she became ill 18 months before she could retire with her full state pension, I got an intern and we did her job as well as mine to save her position so she could be on extended medical leave. I got her over the line, with the help of my wonderful boss and my fabulous intern, who got the job when it came open. Everybody won!!

    1. Middle Aged Lady*

      I know this was tooting my own horn, but in all my years of work, this is the one accomplishment I am
      Most proud of. And my boss deserves the credit for making it happen, too.

      1. irene adler*

        Tooting your own horn- a-okay.
        Banding together to make a positive difference in another person’s life- priceless!

        You are so wonderful to look out for her!

    2. TypityTypeType*

      I love this story (and your username!). (“Downtrodden” is a great word, also.) Glad you and your team were able to help this lady at the end of her career — sounds like she’d had a rough time for a while.

    3. Belle of the Midwest*

      You helped TWO people with this: the lady who needed the medical leave–AND your intern. Nothing wrong at all with sharing your own good deeds here. Well done!

    4. Paperwhite*

      You deserve praise and admiration for being so consistently and long-term awesome! You are my role model of the day!

  112. Beboots*

    I work at a tourist destination in a nature preserve. I began supervising my current team three years ago when I was nearing thirty, being promoted to supervisor after working for nearly a decade as a tour guide at another site. Four of the seven people who worked for me that year were women nearing retirement age, and all four had been in their positions for at least eight years. One had been in her role longer than I’d been alive. (That was by choice – think of us as wild llama preserve and their jobs were giving engaging outdoor llama tours to children, instead of mine, which is supervising and mentoring the llama guides and doing all of the supporting paperwork.) All of this is to say these women were very experienced with the site had very clear ideas of how things should be, and a large part of my role is re-examining existing processes to make them more efficient and accountable, as well as supporting, supervising, and performance managing very experienced people. It’s not always easy to change hearts and minds!

    I didn’t quite know how I sat with the eldest woman, as her resting facial expression is very serious and she was very quiet unless she was with visitors, and then her passion for her subject came alive. (She had also been one of the whistle blowers that had had the previous supervisor removed for bullying and discrimination against a team member with a disability.) But with me? I got quiet questions after long periods of listening to what I had to say, some pushback against the changes that me and my manager were implementing, and steadily doing the routine of her work. Professional, but hard to read. I didn’t really know what she thought of me or what I brought to the table.

    About three months into the role, I had a really stressful week at work, with many problems thrown at me. Think tight deadlines leading up to a special event, juggling operational paperwork and lots of concerns brought up by my staff that had to be addressed quickly when I was still getting used to the operational season and implementing changes requested by my manager. I also mediated an emotionally fraught meeting between two staff, one who had been accused of harassing the other (the accusation had merit, but there were mitigating factors that made the case complicated). I managed to solve some, but not all, of the problems thrown my way, and then a pressing deadline came up for my staff and I couldn’t meet it because paperwork I’d submitted a month prior had gotten rejected for reasons outside of my control and I was notified too late to resubmit. I kept it together when I told my staff of this new challenge, we discussed what we could do to work around the issue, and then I left early for lunch because I knew I wasn’t in the right headspace to do my work at that time. I was feeling burned out and shaky and like I couldn’t do anything right.

    When I got back to my office, I was alone as my staff had left to do a llama tour, and sitting on my desk was the kindest note any of my staff had ever written me – from the eldest woman with the serious face. It had a labelled picture of two bears portaging a canoe (we’re both avid canoers, I learned later), with one bear labelled with my name and one with hers, and it said:
    “We will help carry the load. No one will ever say you didn’t do your best.”

    She later told me that she saw how hard I’d been working that week and that she appreciated my approach to making sure that the team did good work and was supported. It was a turning point in our relationship and we were better able to openly discuss work challenges together to address them. I still have that note pinned to my bulletin board above my computer monitor, to look at when I need reminding of why I’m doing things the way I am.

    We’re not lone wolves, we’re a wolf pack, and we’re in this together.

  113. Kate*

    My first year on the job, I was a visiting assistant professor (lots of work, low pay, 1 year contract) who got the opportunity to apply for a tenure-track position (more pay, better perks and decent job security–basically the brass ring job in academia.) It was a very stressful time because in academia, all your current coworkers vote on the hire. I had to do the two-day interview with all my current coworkers and then continue to do my job as normal while they interviewed other folks.

    It dragged on longer than I thought it would. I applied other places and was starting to get rejections. I was sitting in my office one day, looking at jobs outside academia, when a friendly coworker poked her head in and quietly said “have you heard anything yet?” I stressfully answered no, but it wasn’t till a few hours later that I realized, wait, she knows the result of the process . . .

    I got the job.

  114. LucyB*

    I just received a kind offer from a colleague. I’m relatively new to the job, so it was especially meaningful to me:

    I live in DC, and she lives in the suburbs. She messaged me to say that if things get chaotic tor dangerous in the city in the wake of the election, I am welcome to come stay with her. Of course I won’t, but she knows I don’t have family around here, and it was moving to me that she offered.

    1. Jen*

      I am in Reston! I was Georgetown last week and noticed all the shops being boarded up. I hope you are able to stay safe and take your friend up on it.

  115. Akcipitrokulo*

    OK, just realising how awesome that boss was (I did let him know at the time!)

    There was some draw or raffle for the whole company… everyone got a ticket… and he won amazon vouchers.

    He did get something for himself!

    And then told his team to pick something each for around £20 from amazon and he’d get it for them with the rest of his prize.

  116. Helen J*

    My nephew tested positive for COVID on Oct. 14th. He went into quarantine/isolation. His mother also had to quarantine. Her employer does not participate in FFCRA. She 2 weeks no pay. Then she got sick, had to go to the emergency room twice on Oct. 28th. She was tested for COVID, got her positive results yesterday, she and her son have to isolate until Nov. 17th. So it will be an entire month with no pay. And she’s a single mom and the dad is way behind on child support.

    A coworker overheard me on the phone talking to her yesterday. She was asking me for more money for bills and groceries. Because I am literally broke from paying her bills, my bills and groceries while she was in quarantine, I have nothing to give her. It hurts. She’s my family, my only sister and I have nothing to help her with. I came back from break and there was an envelope with a check for $100 to help my sister. This woman has a family and a child that has been ill and required a couple of medical procedures recently but still wanted to help. That money was a blessing and will be putting groceries on her table.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Helen, if you see this, would you please email me? (alison@askamanager.org) I’d like to put you in touch with someone who is interested in helping.

      1. Helen J*

        I have given Alison my email address and permission to share with anyone that would like to help. I just wanted to say thank you in advance for the wonderful commenters that have offered help. It will be a blessing for my sister and nephew.

    2. Third or Nothing!*

      Out of all the stories I’ve read so far on here, this one made me tear up the most. I hope everything turns out all right for all of you.

    3. Lucien Nova*

      Oh goodness. What a wonderful gesture.

      I hope you, your sister and nephew will get through this all right, Helen. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  117. TheEditorIsOut*

    I was at the train station on the way to a job interview when I realised I had left my wallet with all my cards/cash in my other coat, and didn’t have time to go home and get it and still make it in time for the interview. Station staff paid for my ticket out of their tea fund.

    I got the job.

  118. Indie*

    An year and a half ago I had a very bad fall down the stairs. While taking the first step my shoe started coming off so while I was trying to adjust it I just missed a step and went sliding down head first. I don’t remember exactly what happened immediately except that I was in a lot of pain but when I started coming to, there was this guy with me. He had heard me screaming from two floors down, gathered my things that were spilled pretty much everywhere, called an ambulance and helped me get to a more private space. After the ambulance came, he rode with me to make sure that everything was alright while staying on the phone with my husband the whole time. As this happened in mid morning, he essentially gave up a day’s wages to help me without asking anything un return. And while we worked together and were friendly, we never were “friends” before that. Easily the most selfless thing that anyone did for me in my long career.

  119. Three Seagrass*

    My birthday this year was a couple months after we all started working from home. My boss mailed me a package that contained a birthday card, my favorite candy, and my favorite chips. The chips got kind of squished in the mail, haha. It was such a mystery but a delight to open a package I wasn’t expecting.

  120. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    At my old hospital, I was in a cube in the cube farm that was sort of way off from the rest of my actual department – it was one of those things where we had been allotted specific cubes but any that didn’t have someone actively sitting in them got taken over, so I was literally a beacon against the darkness or something. Any rate, I was surrounded by the purchasing department, which was in absolutely no way even remotely connected with my job at the time, and my own team was on the other side of the giant cube farm and I rarely saw any of them.

    I had a fish. He was a betta in a small, but reasonably nice, tank in my cube. (He had a filter and a heater and such, it wasn’t just a tiny bowl.) His name was Cody, and the purchasing department LOVED him. However, someone else on our floor kept bringing his flea-bitten dog into his office, and fleas did what fleas do. The first two times maintenance flea-bombed the floor, they let us know, and I took Cody home for the weekend in Tupperware. But the third time, they did not say anything for whatever reason (or at least, not before I left on Friday), and when we came back in, Cody had turned up his little fishy toes and was no more shuffling this mortal coil. I was bummed, and not really sure how to appropriately dispose of this deceased fish – I didn’t want to like, carry him home on the bus in his Tupperware or something.

    A couple hours into the day, my team brought me a condolence card that they had all signed for the loss of my fish.

    An hour after THAT, the entire purchasing team gathered around my cube, asking if they could take Cody and bury him in their potted plant in their little lobby area. I kinda went ” O.o uh, sure? I guess? Is that um safe?” and they hand waved and dug him a little grave in this ficus tree’s pot with a plastic spoon, buried him in the potting soil, and made him a tiny tombstone out of Popsicle sticks that said RIP CODY 2008. There was a funeral dirge played on a kazoo and a moment of silence. It was very surreal and very sweet. I heard later, but cannot confirm, that the maintenance guy in charge of the flea bombing got a lecture from their manager. (The building management also finally stopped letting the dude bring in his flea-bitten dog.)

    1. That_guy*

      I am jealous that you can have a fish at work. That would make the day so much better.
      And I’m sorry about your fish. Bettas have great personality.

  121. A.N. Mouse*

    My employer gave all staff an extra day of PTO to take today or tomorrow, strongly encouraged us to take it, and declared that we should reschedule all internal and external meetings for today and tomorrow. This is so that staff can take the time they need to vote, engage in other election-related activities, or just take care of ourselves during this stressful time.

    They’ve also pretty much knocked their COVID response out of the park.

  122. NYWeasel*

    The Sr VP in charge of our entire NA business also happens to be one of the kindest, down-to-earth people you’ll meet. Knows almost all 700 employees on site, always with a warm greeting, etc etc. A few years ago, our offices were spread between two buildings, so it was common to see various VPs on the sidewalk that connected the two buildings. One day my coworkers and I saw the Sr VP hustling back to the building we’d just come from. Suddenly he stopped and picked something up off the ground, then did it again. It took us a moment to realize that it had recently rained, and he was saving the worms that had gotten trapped on the sidewalk. He didn’t even know anyone was watching, just couldn’t leave them there to die. I knew then that he would always try to do right by us!

    1. Don't Mind Killing Wasps*

      Over the summer, my building had wasps- in the president’s private bathroom (sounds fancier than it is). He had a can of Wasp Be Gone, but told us he felt bad about using it, so for awhile, he was *catching the wasps and releasing them outside.* Where, I presume, they went, “Dude, our nest is in your bathroom- we’ll be back in a sec.” So, he eventually used Wasp Be Gone, but felt really badly about it.

  123. paxfelis*

    I don’t know whether this is big enough to count, but I’ve been enjoying it.

    I’ve been floating at the clinic I work at, and one of the places I’ve floated to is the screening desk. I’ve been politely skeptical of people’s birthdays.

    1. Skeleton Key*

      … I can’t even begin to tell what this is about? Did you maybe forget to add part of the story?

      1. TechWorker*

        Maybe like a ‘gosh really you can’t be that old!’ with a smile when someone gives their date of birth.

      2. Diatryma*

        I expect it’s more like, “1974, really, not 84?” and such, telling people they look younger.

      3. paxfelis*

        I’m sorry. Here’s more, by way of explanation.

        I work in a cardiology clinic. Most of the patients are older than sixty, and a good chunk are in their eighties or nineties. While I’m screening I have to ask for their date of birth. They tell me, I look at them for a second and say things such as “You don’t look your age.”

        Most of them smile or chuckle, it only takes a few seconds, and I’ve had several people tell me I’ve made their day. I’m not restricting this to only the more senior people either: some of the best smiles have come from people that are in their fifties. And there are some amazingly beautiful smiles out there.

        1. White Wyne*

          I see where you think this might be a kindness but… many patients/people hate this and many providers do not want you to do this. You are in a position of authority, asking for *private* information for safety, and you are leveraging it systematically and, frankly, inauthentically. Furthermore, it says you are making judgements about information that you are privileged to know only because of your role. We coach our clinic support staff to take information politely but not comment on any of it – supplements, meds, alternative therapies, age, gender, sex partners — it’s important this info is both accurate and complete . Once you’ve shown that you are weighing it/evaluating its merits, by commenting, I think you are signaling something that you don’t mean to which is that your opinion about this information is relevant (and that you have an opinion). There are many other ways to be kind to patients.

          Because, many patients feel disadvantaged compared to the clinic team, they might not complain.

          I wouldn’t argue with you doing this outside of work like if someone says “I’m 80!” to you on the bus. It’s still weird and contrived, but whatever.

          1. Starling*

            Thank you for saying this compassionately. Our society puts a value on youth that it shouldn’t. I’m happy looking my age because there is no shame in it.

  124. Been Teaching For-EvEr*

    Back when I was a young teacher, with maybe 3 years under my belt, I was having a particularly rough day. My grandmother had passed during the day, but I was afraid to ask to leave because we were already short on subs. I also had dealt with a particularly rude student, managed to break up a fight, and then suffered through a parent phone call where I was berated for not entering a student’s make up test quickly enough for the parent’s liking.

    At the end of the day, my day got even worse. I was sent to cover an unruly math class because the sub that had been in there quit due to the behavior of the students. I managed to get the class in their seats and then began going over their assignment. A group of boys would not settle down and one started to become disrespectful. A girl that had been in my class the year before turned to the entire class and said, “She’s a really nice teacher and it looks like she isn’t having the best day of her life. How about we give her a break today?”

    The boys settled down, and I was amazed at this, because when I knew this girl, she was really quiet, and not one I would expect to stand up to an entire class. But whatever respect the boys had for her held and I managed to get thru the rest of the day without breaking down.

    Years later, when she had graduated, I told her how much it meant to me that she helped me that day, and all that had been going on. She said she could tell I wasn’t myself when I walked into that room and that she “felt the need to ask for grace.”

    Now, she’s well past 30 and we still keep in touch. That one small act kindness saved me from possibly breaking down into tears in the middle of that class.

  125. RuralLibrarian*

    I started at a new job in August, with the standard language in the contract – among which was that I could accrue PTO during my first six months, but I could not use it until my probationary period had passed. Eh, that’s standard, and I didn’t blink at it.

    Two months later, I found that my infant son needed corrective surgery on his tear ducts. We set up the date for the surgery so that my wife could make the 3 hour drive to the Children’s hospital and sit with him and return. My assistant heard about the surgery and wanted to know why I wasn’t going to be with him, and I explained about the contract stipulations: it’s what I expected for a new job, it’s not critical, it’ll be fine.

    Well, she narked on me to my governing Board – and in their Board meeting, they brought up that I wasn’t able to be with my son for his surgery. The entire Board unanimously voted to remove that language from my contract, because family is important.

  126. JustMe2*

    The CEO of my previous small technology company subsidized our wonderful low-cost health insurance. In 2019 he even decreased the amount we paid!

    Before he sold the company in January, he looked for an organization that he felt would treat employees as well as he did. He found one. Our new company’s low health insurance costs did not increase for 2021!

  127. Helvetica*

    A few years ago I was doing the job of three people, under a well-meaning but generally clueless boss who could not help me at all. I had to prepare a Very Important Document for Very Important People, and I had very little idea where to even begin or how to make it be a good, succinct and worthwhile strategic document. An extraordinary co-worker whom I collaborated with on one of my positions but not the way for which this document was written but who was more knowledgeable than me would allow me to call him for very long phone conversations – we were posted in different countries – and talk me through different wording options and suggest possibilities to think about this really complex issue. Sometimes, he just allowed me to vent and encouraged me to always talk to him. I remember one time I had a mild anxiety attack when I needed to make several corrections at the 25th hour and couldn’t make sense of a document full of competing track changes and he very calmly looked it through with me, while still on the phone. He didn’t write the document, to be clear, but he let me to bounce off ideas in a very constructive way. In the end, the document came out incredible, I still get praise for it two years later and I will be forever grateful for a co-worker who did not have to help me but did.

  128. Collarbone High*

    I had a medical emergency that left me hospitalized for six weeks. When two co-workers visited me, I gave them my house key so they could bring me some books and toiletries.

    They did that, but they also cleaned my entire kitchen, threw out everything from the refrigerator that would go bad before I got back, ran the dishwasher and took out all the trash. It was so practical and thoughtful, and I was immensely grateful to not come home to a smelly house.

    1. Hi there*

      That reminds me of when two colleagues came over to see the baby after I had a C-section. They brought lunch and did a load of laundry so I didn’t have to tackle the stairs to the basement. So kind!

  129. Lagrotto*

    My grandfather died suddenly during my last day on a job and two days before I started a new one. New job was so nice about me taking bereavement time in the middle of my first week and sent flowers to my home, everyone on the leadership team including the CEO signed the card. I was just an office assistant. Made me really confident I was in the right place during a super hard week.

  130. EventPlannerGal*

    Probably a weird one but here goes: my first office was a very macho environment where people really didn’t do feelings talk much. The closest you got was guys venting in the smoking area. Just lots of big of macho industry dudes and me doing admin and answering the phone. The day after a really bad breakup I was just having a completely shit day, on the verge of tears, everything was going wrong, nothing I could do or say that day was right in my manager’s opinion, etc etc. I gave up smoking years ago but I desperately needed a cigarette so I asked one of my coworkers for one and went out to smoke with a couple of them. They could obviously tell I was in a really bad way. They went out at lunchtime and when they came back, one of them came over to my desk and handed me a giant Hershey bar, a lighter and a pack of these pink cigarettes the guys would bring back from Russia (pink is my favourite colour). I know it sounds weird but from those guys it was like the equivalent of a bear hug, and it was honestly the kindest possible thing for me in that moment.

  131. Jenny F. Scientist*

    At the end of grad school, my advisor paid for me to be enrolled for an extra semester even though I’d already left, so I’d have insurance in case of emergency (I was pregnant at the time). He didn’t get anything out of it, just wanted to do the right thing. The kid is now a healthy 11-year-old and I defended 36 weeks pregnant.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      This reminds me of a supervisor I had. I was out of one program and I couldn’t find a job. So, she encouraged me to get into another program for a second Masters. A lot of library jobs like two and she said she could keep me on the funding she had for a 50% GA which would cover full tuition. Well, the Uni threatened to pull the funding as I was no longer in the “library program”. She emailed them her contract where it said she got a one funded 50% Graduate Assistant of her choice and demanded to be shown where it said the student had to be in a library program. Needless to say, my funding continued.

  132. waytothedawn*

    My team right now is just so incredibly kind and supportive. When COVID hit, our higher organization said no raises for everyone and cuts for higher paid employees. I was really worried about losing my job since I was the newest employee, but had such a great relationship with my manager that I expressed those worries to her. She was so supportive and told me not to worry. That afternoon she told the three of us on her team to take a mental health day – on her! We didn’t have to use PTO. It was so wonderful and so very needed.

    We have actually increased our workload during COVID due to multiple people quitting, and since she knows she can’t give us any raises, I get randomly delivered self care gifts and cupcakes at my house! She always emphasizes how much she appreciates me. I just love this team.

  133. ThatGirl*

    About 5 years ago, my husband came down with a debilitating migraine at work – first one he’d ever had. He spent half an hour throwing up and his boss left early and brought him home so I didn’t have to drive down to get him (obviously I would have but I appreciated that she did it without even thinking twice).

    The next day he was starting to feel better so I went in to work as normal; mid-afternoon he called me and said he was still having an aura, so he went to urgent care, who then sent him to the ER for an MRI, to rule out a brain tumor or something equally serious. I was 30 miles away and of course wanted to go be with him, so I went to my boss in a panic. He could see I was really flustered and kindly ignored me tearing up, told me to take a minute to catch my breath, and after I’d uttered only a few words told me to get out of there and drive safely.

    (Husband turned out to be totally fine, but in the moment it was really concerning!)

  134. Alex*

    A coworker I really liked was leaving the organization. I’d served as a reference for her, and to say thank you, she wrote me this really nice card that not only said thank you, but went into detail about what she liked about working with me, etc. It was just such a sweet and thoughtful card. I was so devastated she left but still have the card and read it when my job gets me down.

  135. JayemGriffin*

    I started my first job fresh out of grad school, working on a huge project that was due to go live at the end of the year. Within the space of two months, my dog died, and then I lost my mother very suddenly – she’d been fairly young and in perfect health. Of course, I hadn’t been at the company long enough to accrue any leave (let alone to be eligible for things like bereavement.) The rest of my family all lived in another state. My manager told me to go home, she’d figure it out – and she did. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I got about a week of PTO for free.

    The really sweet part came months later, as we quickly approached both the holiday season and our go-live date. I’d known when I took the job that no one would be getting days off in December, but having to spend the first Christmas without Mom far away from my family was a very painful prospect. So I asked if I could take a couple days to travel, and maybe work remote Christmas Eve (our big family holiday). I expected they’d say no, but instead, I got that time off too, despite the looming project deadline. Nobody on our team said a word except to wish me happy holidays and enjoy my time with my family. It meant a lot that I could spend that particular holiday being present with my family instead of working.

  136. Chinook*

    For me, it was my first non-education boss, JH (he deserves to be named but I know Allison prefers to keep things anonymous here). He hired me through an agency and offered me a permanent position. His kindness, though, was telling me how I was coming off as a colleague because I had not yet shed my teacher persona. He could have come off as harsh or mean or chosen not to bring it up and fire me.

    Instead, he explained that his mother had been a teacher and realized that I probably didn’t realize how I presented myself (I would now interpret it as bossy and know-it-all with a dash of overconfidence – a necessity when dealing with junior high students, not so with computer programmers) and coached me into being a better employee and colleague. I will forever be grateful that he took the time and compassion to show me a better way and I will always remember him fondly.

    BTW, JH is also the one who, when I went to give my notice because I was going to need more than 4 hours a day, immediately asked me to wait so he could check something and then offered me full-time hours and a raise. He inadvertently taught me that salary was negotiable, something that I never knew about, coming from a unionized profession and raised by a father with a union job.

  137. ToasterStrudel*

    On my last day at my last job one of the ladies I worked with really closely asked me to come find her when I came in on my last day to turn in my building badge. She made me (not bought, she made it herself) a candy bouquet. It was the sweetest (no pun intended) gift! I wish I could include a picture because she worked hard on it.

    A few months before that I had been working with our training team getti g our new hires trained. The position was supposed to be for 6 months and then I’d get rotated out to give other people a chance. But because a big change was getting rolled out they had me on for 9 months because I was helping roll it out. I really bonded with the trainers. So when it was actually time to rotate me out, one of the trainers who had paid attention when I told her about a book series I was reading, got me a copy of the next book in the series and the training team all signed it with well wishes. It was lovely!

  138. WantonSeedStitch*

    This year my employer decided to 100% cover the increase in cost in our healthcare plan rather than make employees shoulder some of it, just because it’s been such a crappy year for everyone. Frankly, while pizza parties and so on are nice (and yes, I do like them!) I think this was a really great example of a workplace being in touch with its employees’ concerns and needs, and meeting them in order to help keep people feeling engaged and motivated.

  139. I'm embarassed but this was so nice*

    I was the recipient of major kindness that I always think of with a smirk and a giggle. I was 6-7 months pregnant and had cut back to one small cup of coffee per morning, that I savored carefully at work. I was walking back to my desk after my daily journey to the office coffee machine, and tripped over my own swollen pregnancy feet and went flying. Was I wearing a giant tent-dress that day? Of course I was. For some reason when I went down, I prioritized the baby bump and the coffee, but not my dignity. I did a weird roll to the side with my coffee in the air, but showed half the (open concept) office my pregnancy underwear. The closest row of desks to me housed the latest batch of interns, and of course they were all young guys. The shyest one didn’t miss a beat: he scooped me up, carefully avoiding the hand in the air miraculously still holding the hardly-sloshed coffee, set me back on my feet and whispered, “they’re deep in their blogs, no one saw!” as we both went back to our seats and never spoke of it again.

  140. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    I had a boss who really got under my skin and did a lot of annoying things -j like try to tell me to pay for a work expense out of pocket because he didn’t want to do any paperwork – but was genuinely a nice person. I had moved across the country for this job, didn’t know anyone, and my then-fiance (now husband) was working as a bar manager which meant working nights and weekends (and usually 60+ hours a week). My job was Mon-Fri, 8-5, and usually involved quite a bit of travel. Thanks to a coworker I was close with, my boss found out that my fiance usually had Tuesdays off so he got special approval for me to leave early on Tuesdays without making up the hours elsewhere in the week. It only ended up being maybe 6-10 hours a month since I was often out of town on Tuesdays, but just the thought was so touching.

  141. Aurion*

    Years ago, I had some sort of weird digestive issue for about 3-4 weeks where, roughly 40 minutes after any sort of food, I’d get cramps and pains so bad that I was literally curled up in a ball on the ground. I was working in a lab at the time, and trying to power through one such attack by guzzling antacids.

    A supervisor (from a different department) told me to go home. I said I’d try to wait it out (honest answer: I didn’t think I could drive). A little later, two coworkers (whom were dating at the time) – one from the office side, one whom was a friend I was having a difficult patch with – saw me, and both were like “yup, you’re done, we’re driving you to the hospital”. They stayed with me until my parents and boyfriend could come.

    The friend-whom-I-was-having-a-rough-patch-with is now one of my closest friends. Her ex turned out to be a massive tool. But I still remember that night of kindness when both stayed with me and made those calls, and asked after me for weeks afterwards.

  142. Three Flowers*

    My boss briefly lent me her boat as a living space so I didn’t get heatstroke in my apartment.

    I live in a place where most people do not have air conditioning because usually there’s only three days a year when you might want it. Not this year–and because 2020 is 2020, I was living in temporary housing without even my big fans because the Rona derailed my search for permanent housing. After watching me melt in Zoom meetings, my boss–of less than six months–called me after hours and persuaded me to accept help–namely, staying on her blessedly breeze-filled boat at the marina for the duration of that heat wave.

    I’m pretty sure my family is going to tell the hyperbolic “Three Flowers was homeless and lived on her boss’s boat during a plague” story for the rest of my life, even though I was not technically homeless and it was only a few days. But lordy, it was a blessing.

  143. AvonLady Barksdale*

    An SVP once surprised me with an umbrella after mine broke while we were heading to a meeting together. I think of him every time I use it (8 years later!).

    My bar is low.

  144. Super Admin*

    Back when I was in my twenties and teaching English abroad, my 21yo brother passed away suddenly. It was traumatic. I’d already extended the permitted two weeks off from work in order to attend the inquest, and after getting back in the country the night before I was due to return to work I called my boss in tears because I couldn’t handle it. He okayed it, though the board of education were annoyed.

    When I did finally get back into school the PE teacher, who was very sweet but didn’t speak great English, came up behind me at my desk, put her arms around my shoulders, and said “I’m glad you came back.” That small gesture meant so much to me in that moment. I felt seen, appreciated, and cared for. It made a hard day slightly better.

  145. Nola*

    Just a couple weeks after my mom unexpectedly passed away earlier this year, I had to go forward with my first employee layoff due to position elimination. To say I was in a tenuous place emotionally is putting it mildly, but I put on my tough outer shell and got the job done. A little later in the day, as word started to spread to other departments, I got a text from my ex-manager checking in on me to see how I was doing. That small kindness meant everything to me then, and really helped me get through a very tough day.

  146. Janon*

    Two years ago, the running joke was that of course I planned my wedding during the busiest conference season I had ever experienced, including a conference in my hometown the weekend before the wedding. It was pure insanity but I knew I had a few days off before the wedding and I am a super planner so all would be fine. We hosted an event 4 days before my wedding. Once that got underway and I could breathe for a minute, my grandboss pulled me aside, thanked me for sticking with it, told me to not come in the next day so I could have an extra day to unwind, and handed me a small bonus check. It was very small and already spent considering the wedding coming up but meant that my work didn’t go unnoticed.

  147. AnotherLibrarian*

    Years ago, I worked at my first real office job. My manager had been a contract lawyer before she became a librarian and she was militant about me taking my breaks. She was a different Union, but she knew my contract well. No argument from me swayed her, I was going to take my 10 am break, my 3pm break and my full hour lunch. Every time she nagged me about it, I thought she was being silly. It wasn’t until I learned many people, even though we were Union, faced pressure from their bosses not to take their breaks. It was in that moment that I discovered that what she’d been doing was a huge kindness. Both in making sure I got what I was supposed to get (as my manager), but teaching me how to manage others. I think of her when I remind my own staff that they get breaks and don’t let my students work off the clock.

  148. Turkey Smuggler*

    Back in the day when I temped, I was working at a place that gave out turkeys for Thanksgiving. Temps, however, were not eligible for a turkey. My manager knew that I was flat broke. She also knew that enough people didn’t care about the turkeys that there were always a ton left. She snuck me into the room where they were storing the turkeys and then covered for me while I smuggled it out to my car. I made a ton of meals out of that one turkey and was so grateful.
    I paid it forward in my first supervising job. That place gave out a large food product for Christmas. They also decided that temps didn’t get gifts, but they had tighter security on the gifts. One of the EA stood there with a list and checked it off, so there was no sneaking them out. Every year (for 4 years), I would go around and lobby the other managers and directors to donate their gift to the temps. Every year, it worked, and we were able to gift the temps.
    I’m incredibly grateful that I no longer work somewhere with temps. No offense to anyone temping, but I whole heartedly believe that it’s mostly a crappy way of staffing.

  149. Ali G*

    I’ve only been working at my current job for 2 years, but I have been blown away by how well we are treated (especially in comparison to my previous employers):
    1. There have been 2 people (precedes me) that have transitioned while employed here. HR went full in to educate staff on use of new name, pronouns etc. It’s widely believed that the second person was recommended to us from the first person based on her experience with her transition while working here (and great health insurance!).
    2. A coworker’s husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness shortly after I joined the company. She used all her paid leave to be with him until the end, and then lots of coworkers with leave to spare donated their time so she could have paid time off to recover. She ended up taking a lot of unpaid leave as well, but when she was ready she returned to her job without any issues.
    3. We have woman working for us that was on a student visa set to expire in March 2020. She was going to return to her home country, but couldn’t due to covid. She got an extension and had to work at least 20 hours a week to maintain her visa status, so we kept her on after her contract expired so she wouldn’t get deported. Although we typically have a policy of not being able to do the leg work of sponsoring work visas for non-US workers, our COO is exhausting all efforts to get her visa extended beyond it’s expiration, as her home country is in awful shape and her family does not want her to return yet.
    4. I have a contractor that works for me in Latin America. His country is in turmoil. He’s emptied their bank accounts, sold their car, and already purchased plane tickets for their eventual escape (he and his family have already survived one actual riot where rioters tried to break into their apartment building and residents were literally protecting their home with makeshift weapons). My boss, the CEO is brainstorming ways we can legally and ethically assist him in leaving and starting over somewhere safer.
    I’ve never worked anywhere were management actually cared about the people, as people, not just bottom line-lifters. These people here are top 1%.

  150. Beancat*

    Ahhh I forgot one! A different workplace found out I don’t really have family here and wasn’t going to have a bridal shower, and they quietly arranged a little tea party hour to throw me one – got someone to cover the desk so I could actually step away, brought in all these delicate little pastries, and all made time out of their day to spend it with me. But possibly the biggest kindness was that the coworker who led the charge knows that I get very anxious and gave me a subtle heads up that there was going to be an event so I could prepare myself.

    I sure miss all of them. Such kind folks!

    1. HarDee*

      My last job did that for me and it was so nice! They all chipped in and gave me a gift card and then when we were actually married, the whole company put together a restaurant gift card that my husband I used for our 1-year anniversary this past January. It was so nice and made me feel great when my own family was 2,000 miles away.

  151. Casper the Friendly Worker*

    I’ve found that getting to know (and get on the good side of) the admins to various VP’s is always a good idea. As an intern I sat near 3 admins and would talk to them regularly (all 3 had children older than me) about life, etc. One day one of the admins had received a bunch of polos for her VP’s team and she was really confused as the sizing looked wrong. I mentioned to check which side the buttons were on as women’s are opposite mens in many cases (holdover to when women used to be dressed vs. dressing themselves). Sure enough that’s what it was. A couple days later I walked in to one of the polos sitting on my desk and a note that said to keep it quiet for a couple weeks until after the VP had handed them out, but thanks for alleviating her worries.

    Second story, while waiting for meetings with various leaders (the Presidents direct reports all sat in a section of the building), I would check in with the admin team in the central area of the floor, bring them cookies I baked etc. A couple times I got offered the tickets to the local MLB team that President controlled after the other business leaders declined. My other coworkers never got the offer. Most people who waited would basically ignore them vs. having a friendly chat and recognizing them.

  152. Claire*

    I’m pleased to have several contributions to this thread!
    – After my Mum died, my colleagues sent me a care package – it was mainly snacks, hot chocolate mix, stuff they probably bought from the nearby supermarket. I really appreciated the tangible evidence that they were thinking of me in a really difficult time.
    – When a colleague was pregnant, she fainted at work – I now understand this is not uncommon, but it freaked everyone out. A more senior colleague borrowed a pool car and drove her home in the middle of the day so that she didn’t have to take public transport.
    – This happened before I started but I heard about it from the recipient of the kindness – a colleague got a call while at work that her husband had a sudden heart attack and died. She went into shock, it seems like, and really couldn’t take in what she was being told – so another colleague came in to her office and talked to the newsbearer on the phone, so she could understand. After that, two colleagues drove her home – one drove the recently bereaved lady’s car, since she was not fit to drive, and the other colleague drove her own car so the driver if the other car had a way to get back.

  153. Alive&Well*

    I was a new employee working in an entry-level position. It would be safe to say there was likely a pretty big pay differential between myself and the vast majority of other employees. Part of my job was actually to order lunches from local restaurants then deliver them to the employees, a nicety for which most everyone working on my floor was eligible (based on the nature of their work). My role was not eligible for this (no problem!) program and I dutifully brought my lunch to avoid the expense of eating out to make ends meet. One day, someone took a frozen meal that I put in the freezer for myself. I’m pretty sure I even labeled it, not that it was otherwise customary to think of unlabeled things as being up for grabs. I was between upset and furious. The thought of someone eating it who made way more money than me (which was likely the case) AND the fact that they likely could have asked me to order a lunch for them made my blood boil. Even if neither of those things were true, the company also made multiple snack foods available for free to staff, which I ordered and stocked! My boss at the time was great and I mentioned what happened to him (calmly) in passing. The next thing I know our HR rep was at my desk saying I could add on my own lunch order that day for whatever I wanted and our company would pay the cost. I do still hope that the person that took it took the first bite and found the inside still frozen and the edges boiling lava hot. If not, at the very least I hope they stepped on a Lego barefoot later that day. I know there’s a lot of office fridge drama out there, but I couldn’t have been happier with how kind their response was. Thanks, Management!

  154. Anonforthis*

    My husband and I went through a devastating personal loss related to his business, and my some of my closer coworkers knew about the circumstances. Husband and I took a week long getaway to grieve and recover from the difficult event. My coworker asked for the mailing address of the place we were staying, and sent us a surprise $50 meal gift card that said “one less thing to worry about.” It was so kind.

  155. 30Something*

    In my first job out of university, I would go to and from work on the bus. I only had to take one bus, but it was on a major North/South artery of the city and any heavy traffic or unusual circumstance would majorly mess up the route. Our office was also located in a weird industrial area, even though our company had nothing to do with manufacturing or logistics, so it was a difficult trek home on foot.
    Even though I live in Canada and snow is something we are all familiar with, the first snowstorm of the year really brought everything to a standstill. I waited at the bus stop for over an hour only to find that when the bus did arrive, it was packed to capacity, and the bus driver was not letting any more passengers on the bus. I went back into the office to call a cab, but the the taxi service was so inundated with calls that the line did not even ring and I just got a busy signal.
    At that point, I was starting to think about how I might have to sleep under my desk; but, thankfully, I found one of my coworkers was still in the office. She had a car and didn’t even think twice about giving me a ride home, even though her usual commute was over an hour drive in the opposite direction of my apartment. What was normally a 20 minute ride to my place took an hour and half, and my coworker then had to turn around and get herself home. I bought her a big box of chocolates as a thank-you.

  156. blue*

    I was very ill when I was pregnant, and a kind co-worker took it upon herself to listen out when I was vomiting and offered a hand with cleanup. GOOD COWORKER VIP HALL OF FAME.

  157. Michael Valentine*

    I met my husband at work, and my boss took credit for introducing us. She was so wonderful and offered to do the desserts for the wedding. She spent weeks practicing and preparing, and the petit fours were not only gorgeous, they were delicious too. We insisted on paying her, but she’d only accept $50 for the ingredients. I had a baby shortly after, and she threw a big baby shower for us. I was so lucky, and I miss her like crazy (we moved for my husband’s work).

  158. CupcakeCounter*

    I’ve got a twofer!
    We had a lady, Sarah, at work diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her best friends, Tanna, worked in my area and she, with the company’s blessing, organized a fundraiser shaving party. Not only did Tanna shave her head, but one of our VP’s said if we hit a certain level of donations he would match the total and let her shave his head. We did and he held up his end AND dragged 2 more VP’s in who also matched the donation and shaved their heads. I think in total we raised over $10k for Sarah’s medical bills and then she donated the rest to the Susan G Komen.

    A couple years later when Sarah was in remission, she found out that Tanna was graduating with her combined bachelors & masters AND getting married in one weekend (awesome guy but a very small, courthouse wedding due to finances). Tanna has had a rougher life and really worked her butt off to support herself and her children while also being the first person to volunteer for anything that involved giving back to the community. Sarah got a few of us together and planned a surprise party for her to celebrate both milestones. I actually got to help and made the wedding cake (lemon cake with berries and cream filling). Tanna was really surprised and touched.

  159. Your Shoes May Not be Welcome*

    A few years ago I was working from home one day, wrapping up some work projects in preparation to go on a 2 week vacation in Eastern Europe 2 days later. I didn’t get to go on that vacation because that night I burst an intestine and developed a life threatening case of sepsis in a very short period of time, requiring emergency surgery and a week in the hospital. Most of my coworkers I saw in office daily knew I was supposed to be in Europe so they didn’t think any thing of it when I was gone for 2 weeks and figured I was enjoying my vacation. One of my friends who worked there notified the west coast teams I worked with that I was very ill and would not be providing the expected files before I went on vacation, as I was hospitalized, and not on vacation as planned. I had never met the west coast teams in person, we always communicated via email or video chat. By the time I woke up from emergency surgery and the heavy doses of medication they gave me, my room was filled with flowers from the west coast team, wishing me a swift recovery! I was so touched.

  160. MB*

    Almost 20 years ago, I was immersed in a project that had me working 60-70 hour weeks. I didn’t mind too much because I had just broken up with my boyfriend and needed the distraction. I was usually the only person in the office for hours at the end of the day. One night, after a particularly long and exhausting day, the department head asked what I was up to, and I told him that I was working late again on the project. He asked what I was doing for dinner and I said “vending machine!” He told me to order pizza on him. When it came, we ate it together in his office. About 10 minutes after we were finished, he came by to tell me to not stay too late and have a good night. I was surprised – I assumed that he had a lot of work to finish up that night. Turns out that he just stayed so I wouldn’t be eating dinner alone.

    He was always a kind man, and I was sad when he was pushed out. About a year later they brought him back in a different role, and I was so happy to see him. He always seemed to know what to say and when to say it – that encouraging word or compliment. He has since retired and I’ve moved on, but I will always remember his kindness.

  161. Betty*

    When I was pregnant, I had really, really horrible nausea and vomiting. Thankfully it usually hit in the evenings, so didn’t impact work too much– until I had to take a business trip with an early evening flight, after an overheated cab ride in stop & go traffic and a hasty greasy pizza slice for dinner in the airport. We hit turbulence after takeoff and I got sick– then had to claim my neighbor’s bag and get sick again. My boss was in the row ahead of me, and gathered all other available bags (which, sadly, turned out to be necessary)– and offered to drive me home (an hour out of his way) when we got off the plane. It was such a miserable situation, and it was such a kindness to be so supportive in that moment.

  162. I have a super kind boss*

    My husband was diagnosed with cancer in Feb, right before the pandemic got really bad. I manage a small primary care practice. About three weeks ago, after months of helping our patients deal with increased stress and fear, we had a brand new patient that was frankly horrible to me and lied to my boss about what she said and how I was doing my job. The next day, a Friday my boss pulled me aside for a private conversation. She told me what a great job I have been doing and that she had noticed my increased stress. She then offered me the next week off paid, not coming out of my PTO and to pay for me to have 5 days away in a Airbnb of my choice so I could relax. It frankly was the best 5 days off I’ve had in a while.

  163. HannahSnow*

    My department just went through a massive amount of lay-offs (like 70% of a several hundred person department, including people who were called back to work after being furloughed over the summer). The day after the worst of the announcements, I came into work and was pretty upset. My manager looked at me in our morning update, and asked how I was. I answered honestly that I wasn’t doing great and would probably have to take a few extra little breaks from the work. She looked at me with the most sympathetic expression, and asked if I didn’t want to be here, and would I like to go home for the day to process? It was so kind of her to let me leave, as we were already way short staffed from the layoffs so it would be a genuine hardship for the operation that day.

  164. hayling*

    Its it okay to share something I did personally? I think I saved someone’s life!

    I went into the womens restroom and saw a coworker and it looked like she was gasping for air, and I realized she was choking. I wasn’t even quite sure how to do the Heimlich maneuver but I just went for it and managed to dislodge whatever it was from her airway. I am so glad that I was at the right place at the right time!

    1. Sandi*

      It’s apparently quite typical for choking people to want to disappear as they don’t want to make a scene, so finding them in a washroom doesn’t surprise me. Saving them is impressive!

  165. Jackalope*

    My Best Boss Ever story: A former boss spent much of her career working lower level positions because it was convenient for her, so made supervisor position only 5-10 years before she retired. Her unit was for the entry-level position at our employer, so she decided that her mission was to launch as many careers as she could. When someone new would show up in her unit she’d spend a few months getting to know them, and then have a conversation with them about what the different career paths were where we worked. If didn’t know what we wanted, she’d include recommendations based on what she’d learned about us. Then if we decided what path we tentatively wanted, she’d go to bat. Any experience that could help us get there, she’d tell us about it. Someone out for a few months on maternity leave? She’d say, “Hey, I have a great employee that could fill in,” so we could get experience in that position. Help with our resumes? She gave us time to work on them when possible, and let us see hers so we knew what a successful resume looked like.

    By the time positions opened up we had relevant experience (including, frequently, a few months of working the actual job position as a temp worker so we could show that we could hack it), and that helped put us at the front of the pack. She also gave realistic and glowing reviews. When she retired, every single person who’d been interested in moving up (some people liked the entry level) for the first 6 years or so of her supervisory position had moved out of entry level and on to something different. I am currently at exactly the point in my career that she sat down and helped me map out a decade ago, and I’ve loved it.

      1. Jackalope*

        You totally should! More bosses should be like her!

        (As a funny aside, when I got the lateral move that was the first step to the position I’m in now, I had one of my first meetings with my new boss. I remember asking him, “Is this the part of the meeting where we talk about my future career goals and what I need to do to attain them?” First Boss up above had trained me that that was one of the main points of annual reviews, and I just assumed that a part of a boss’s job was to help you get to your ideal position. To his credit, he said, “Why yes, it is,” and we proceeded to have that talk, and he provided a lot of support to me in getting where I am now. But looking back, yeah… that’s really not how most of those talks go, is it?)

  166. Please make it stop*

    Earlier this summer, I took a week off work for what I thought would be a relaxing break before the start of our busy time. In the middle of the week, I received a gift box full of bath salts, lotions, bath bombs, etc etc from my office with a note that I deserved a break. It took me three tries to figure out who was responsible for the idea which, I think, indicates I work with a pretty amazing group of people.

    It was even more appreciated, as on my first day off my dad unexpectedly went to the hospital where over the course of the week, he was diagnosed with leukemia and unfortunately passed away. Knowing I had support from my coworkers even though they didn’t know what was happening was so very much appreciated.

  167. KindnessAnon*

    My mom worked for a hard ass defensive attorney in the late eighties. A real scumbag in the courtroom. She and my adoptive dad were recently married and of course had nothing and this little kid that caught everything and anything that came around. It was completely normal for me to be too sick for daycare 2-3 days a week but really not be seriously sick – think bad cold with a low grade fever. He pushed about her having to miss work on a big court day and she finally confessed that my dad had been working out of town and not able to share the load like they normally did. He told her she was welcome to put me on the couch in his office with cartoons on his TV anytime and that he could work just as well from his conference room as from his desk. He also got a typewriter she could take home so she could work from home if she needed.

    The same guy found out that sometimes my mom and another secretary would have younger kids in the office for an hour or two before or after doctor’s appointments and he made sure there was a stash of coloring books, crayons, and a few kid friendly snacks added to the break-room snack stash.

  168. hayling*

    Not sure if this fits because it’s not at work per se, but wanted to share:

    I am part of a network of about 50 people in my industry. Due to COVID, some of us have never met in person (our big industry conference was cancelled this spring) but we have become really close through Slack and Zoom. One of our members announced that she had breast cancer (at age 27!) and the outpouring of support has been amazing. One person started a virtual team for her in a Komen fundraiser. Another sent a care package. Another organized a “card chain” where we sign up to send her a card each week.

    1. hayling*

      Not sure if this fits because it’s not at work per se, but wanted to share:

      I am part of a network of about 50 people in my industry. Due to COVID, some of us have never met in person (our big industry conference was cancelled this spring) but we have become really close through Slack and Zoom. One of our members announced that she had breast cancer (at age 27!) and the outpouring of support has been amazing.

      One person started a virtual team for her in a Komen fundraiser and we raised over $1000. Another sent a care package. Another organized a “card chain” where we sign up to send her a card each week. When we had a big meeting, we all surprised her by wearing pink and using a pink ribbon Zoom backround.

      She said that the support we have given her has been really helpful. Her work has been weird about her diagnosis and so have a lot of her good friends, and she really appreciates having us. I am so glad that we can be there for her!

  169. Lighthouse beacon*

    As an academic librarian, I don’t often know whether my assistance made any difference to the students and their research papers. But every once in a while, someone takes the time to tell you . . . I was standing in line waiting to enter a comedy club venue. My backpack has a luggage tag with my business card. A young man saw the business card and struck up a conversation. Turns out I helped with his paper years ago, and he so appreciated the help. I thanked him, really appreciating his taking the time to tell (remembering) me. I thought that was the end of it. After being seated, he visited my table a couple more times, telling me again how much I helped him. To this day, whenever I get sad, I think of that young man and the difference he made.

  170. Chris*

    So this might be an atypical show of kindness, but I really appreciated it. I was working an entry-level job at a law firm that was essentially rote data entry. My managing attorneys knew that I was overqualified and that I consistently had the highest output, rarely made mistakes, and often had hours each day with nothing to do once I finished my work. Because I was so often bored and my team’s office was away from everyone else/rarely visited, I took to streaming tv/movies on my phone (with headphones, of course). My team members would try and signal each other if we heard someone coming in so we could maintain cover. But of course, one day, I was in the office alone and my managing partner walked in and definitely saw. Thankfully, even though it was officially against the rules, my manager never said anything to me about it or otherwise acknowledged it at all and I was so thankful, because it truly was the only way I could stay sane throughout the day. On top of that, he gave me a glowing letter of recommendation when I went back to school!

  171. I've never done this before...*

    I got married April 2020 and my parents live in a different state than me. We made the difficult decision to not have out of town guests at our (1o person) wedding to prevent unnecessary travel during COVID. My mom was crushed but didn’t complain about having to attend via zoom. Her coworkers knew she was disappointed and organized a surprise parade past my parents’ house right after the ceremony ended. They made signs, decorated cars, blasted music and brought a bottle of champagne! These coworkers don’t know me, but they wanted to make sure my parents felt special and celebrated on the day their first child got married.

  172. Mona Lisa Vito*

    I was Llama Grooming Assistant at a small company while getting my Masters in Llama Grooming. The company had been up front with me about the fact that there wouldn’t be room for promotion due to the size of the company, so we all knew I was looking for a job following graduation. At the time, it was legal to ask candidates’ current salary, so I went to my boss prepared to negotiate for a slight increase after I graduated to set myself up for a substantial increase at my next role. He gave me a huge increase (10k!), no negotiation needed. It ended up making my next job almost double what I had originally been making! Now that this is many years in the past I can see that it was probably a small cost to the company (I think I stayed on another month after the increase went through?), but it meant so much to me at the time! He was a great boss, and an all-around good guy.

  173. Alex*

    I was transferring offices across the country, and my office director (not in my direct reporting line or even same division of company) gave me gas gift cards, car snacks, and some books from the region I was moving away from. Seeing as how my company was too cheap to give me any money to relocate (despite the fact that me moving was going to significantly help the company), it was such a nice glimmer of kindness as I left that office for the other coast.

  174. AndersonDarling*

    Once upon a time, I worked for a company that won an award and that resulted in many other companies wanting to do visits and tours. One group of guests was from a school district and they focused in on software that I use. They ended up ditching the tour, and I spent the day teaching them about the software and what it could and couldn’t do for them in the real world.
    A few weeks later I received a thoughtful thank-you note in the mail. It may not seem like much, but no one had ever written a thank-you for anything work related. I have moved through 3 other jobs since then and I always keep that note with me.

  175. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

    My husband and I worked for the same company and he was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive cancer. Not only did our leaders and colleagues reach out to help, our immediate leader visited my husband in the hospital and later, when my husband’s cancer became terminal, set up a meal train for us. I took off about a month to care for my husband at the end, and work told me not to worry about anything and if I ran out of vacation or sick time, to let them know and they’d find a way to make sure I got paid. He, along with several of my colleagues and my boss, visited me in that first week after my husband died and just made sure I was doing ok. I got emails from so many people who knew me or my husband (or both of us) sharing funny stories and their condolences, including an email from one of the executives who’d interviewed my husband when he started at the company. My husband’s primary client still reaches out around the anniversary of his death to see how I’m doing. And every year the company participates in a fundraising event where we raise several thousand dollars to fight the specific type of cancer my husband died from. Honestly, every time I think about how amazingly supportive and kind my company has been, it makes me tear up.

  176. Al Anon*

    My husband is an alcoholic and went through a NASTY relapse when our first daughter was only 3 months old and I had just returned from maternity leave and struggling with my own post partum depression. I told my boss what was going on and that I needed a few days to get my husband in rehab and back in AA. My grand boss’s husband was also an alcoholic and she got wind of my issue, and invited me to go to Al-anon support group with her. This woman was someone who I initially was pretty intimidated by, just because of she the CFO and my grand boss, but the fact that she took to time to go to a meeting with me and give me literature on AA is pretty much why she’s my angel. Without her kindness and support I would have definitely divorced my husband!

    update: husband is sober for 1 year and we are going strong! Not perfect, but taking a day at a time!:)

  177. mreasy*

    I had been at my job about 3.5 years when I had a serious mental break and had to be hospitalized. I ended up missing 3 weeks of work, and they didn’t make me use up my PTO or apply for STD coverage – they just let me have the days, understanding that I’d done a lot off the clock through the years and worked hard. That job unfortunately was a bad environment for other reasons, mostly to do with my direct supervisors and other stakeholders I worked with (despite some great folks, including the company President), and I ended up leaving at about the 4 year mark. When I left, they let me keep my laptop and phone (purchased by the company), and when I said I didn’t want a big going away party as per the usual custom, they let me choose my own – and it was pie and champagne, low key, and lovely.

  178. Yoga today and every day*

    Once upon a time I worked for an employer at the top of a mountain that received a lot of snow. Most employees worked down in the valley below, so on really bad storm days, occasionally the workplace would shut down and employees were instructed to stay home (hourly staff still received a couple hours of pay on these days). One day this happened and it was a pay day, and I was to distribute pay checks to employees at the Starbucks at the bottom of the mountain (we were not connected to this Starbucks at all, but they were always nice about accommodating us during these snow storms on pay days). When I got there early in the morning I found that the General Manager at my job had basically opened a tab at the Starbucks to pay for any drinks that our employees might order while picking up their checks. It was such a nice and unexpected gesture. Brightened my day and many others.

  179. Okapi*

    Five years ago, I was unemployed and job-hunting. I kept making it to the end of the process and being the runner-up candidate, over and over. Finally, a hiring manager called me, and she told me outright that one of my references was NOT being a good reference for me.

    I changed out that one reference and got offers at the next two jobs I applied for, one of which is my current employer!

    I will always be grateful to that woman for going out of her way to let me know about that rogue reference. (And I’ll always be mad about that one guy who said he’d be a reference but then was a terrible reference, but that’s another thing.)

    1. skittish*

      My immediate supervisor was the one giving the bad references as I was job hunting. What then happened was another supervisor stepped up & I was able to put her down as my supervisor & another supervisor stepped up, too. Finally, an upper level coworker (with a PhD) was my final reference & was able to say that I trained her on software & did work for her on the side (kinda true). Due to the three of them, I was able to get a position to a different level job & 50% pay increase.

      1. skittish*

        to continue:
        My just retired (current) supervisor made the comment at my six-month review that the reason that I had problems (never mentioned) at my previous position was that I was vastly overqualified for the job. (after hire, supervisors are allowed to read the “permanent” personnel file – I worked for a branch of “the government” and they do not lose anything in your permanent record)
        She thought I was fantastic & so I would do jobs that others turned their noses up at, but gave her reputation a boost. We had a mutual admiration society relationship.

  180. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

    When lockdown started, employees were allowed to go up to the office to collect equipment (monitors, etc.), but obviously everyone was a little wary of going anywhere. My fantastic boss offered to “play Santa” as he put it and personally deliver everyone’s items. It was such a kind offer, especially since some on our team live as far as 40 miles from the office!

    1. WantonSeedStitch*

      One of the folks on my team made deliveries of monitors to people in our office who didn’t have cars! I thought that was super nice.

  181. Proooooove*

    My company’s CEO sent out an email yesterday to all 200 employees to let us know that he cleared his calendar today so that he’d be free to help people on their projects if they needed to take some time off to vote.

  182. RedinSC*

    Today, my boss – who is often not the most forward thinking guy – sent out an email to all staff. it was lovely, it was talking about how politically divisive the times are, that no matter how the election goes, people will either be elated or depressed, so let’s all act with kindness and respect.

    Then he asked all staff to share something that they are looking forward to, to highlight the power of positivity.

    I am so astonished by this message, and so pleased that he wrote this without me having to do the heaving lifting around messaging.

  183. Suessy*

    This one happened just today!

    I’m starting a new job in two weeks’ time. I got a welcome email from the training manager yesterday saying that they’d taken the liberty of booking me into a training session at the end of the month, in a different city. With a sinking heart I realised that the flight home from the training clashed with a late night flight I’d already booked for a girls weekend away at the other end of the country. I emailed the training manager to confirm the travel arrangements, and mentioned in passing that I’d be moving my weekend away. Then my phone rang, and it was the training manager – she’d seen my email, talked to my new boss, and they have decided to fly me straight from the training session to the city where my girls weekend is going to be. It’s costing them maybe $150 to change the flights but it’s absolutely made my day!

  184. katemonster*

    I’m a YA librarian, at a busy urban public library. Last fall, I was drugged and raped on a date.
    Understandably, I was dealing with quite a lot.
    At work, my children’s librarian always found a reason to be on the floor when I was on desk, ready to cover for me if I needed to run and hide in the office to cry. She never explicitly said it, but she always made sure I was okay. It was a constant kindness that really helped me get through each day.

      1. katemonster*

        She is a gem. I am truly fortunate to work with such an amazing person.

        Also we usually have a grand old time with our puppets in the office.

        1. skittish*

          and hugs to you…. as socially distant as you need, but you can lean if you need to. when you need to.

  185. cleo*

    A co-worker literally saved my life at one of my temp jobs.

    It was my first month on the job, it was a little after 5 and most of the office was empty. I was rushing to get ready to go – trying to put on my coat and eat an energy bar at the same time, when I realized that the weird noise I was hearing was coming from me and that I couldn’t really breathe. The operations manager appeared at my side, asked me if I was choking and applied first aid by hitting me between the should blades. And that dislodged the bit of energy bar that was stuck in my throat and I could breathe.

    I have never loved a co-worker as much as I loved that operations manager in that moment.

    Later she told me that she’d just renewed her first aid training earlier in the month. And that she’d planned on leaving early that day but kind of had a feeling that she should stay until 5. I’m so glad that she did!

  186. MMM*

    It was at the worst job I’ve had do it really stood out–I would often come in to find baked goods on my desk in the morning, muffins, scones etc and had no idea where they were coming from. Eventually one of the designers brought cookies during the day so I knew who they had been coming from–he just knew that I often looked stressed and upset so I was one of the few people outside of his department who he shared the treats with. It honestly meant so much to know that at least one person there was looking out for me in a small way

  187. Pikapika*

    When I was a young female software developer intern (in a majority male team), one of the other interns hit on me pretty relentlessly. Lots of uninvited touching, surprise back massages, lurking near my office and, if he thought no one was looking, he’d try to kiss me. This was, back then, not actually super unusual for intern experiences and usually I was basically on my own in dealing with it, but this summer stood out because my (male) office mate stood up for me, told the guy to back off and when he didn’t, started a guerilla campaign to reciprocate the same behavior (including kissing!) on the offending intern just to demonstrate precisely why his behavior was unwelcome. It’s been twenty years, but my officemate and I are still in touch and I’m still grateful that he did that.

  188. SY*

    My team is spread out all over the country, and we all work from home. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, they created a care package for me. I don’t know how they coordinated it, but a GIANT box arrived at my house. It was full of puzzles and games and other things to keep me busy while I recovered from surgery, went to chemo, etc.

    Five years later, I had a fifth “birthday party” to celebrate my survival. Those same coworkers dressed in pink, made signs, and took selfies that someone then made into a slide show for me. I was so touched that they would take the time to celebrate in that way with me!

    These are just two examples of what a great team we have. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been here for 25+ years!

  189. Brienne the Blue*

    In the before times, when everyone was still going into the office, I had a coworker who kept chickens and every so often, he’d leave half a dozen fresh eggs on my desk. It always came out of total nowhere. The eggs were, of course, delicious as well as beautiful, and he also knew exactly which hen had laid which egg so there were also entertaining chicken stories that went with the gift.

    He also worked with a lot of companies that would send promotional swag, and whenever they sent him something kid-appropriate, he’d pass it to me to give to my four-year-old, whom he’d met all of one time.

    It’s funny that I feel like I could go the rest of my life without going to a bar or a movie theater again, but I miss going to my open-plan office and hanging out with my coworkers. This particular one is my favorite, though.

  190. Liz*

    When I was a new-ish employee and still fairly young to the workforce, a coworker took me aside and asked if everything was all right, because I hadn’t been my “normal detail-oriented self” lately.

    I actually hadn’t noticed anything, but the combination of her genuine concern couched in genuine respect for my work made me reflect and realize I wasn’t all right.

    It took a bit of time, but I eventually realized I get terrible seasonal depression, which manifests partially in having terrible tunnel vision (in the sense of not being able to handle big-picture concepts or see patterns). I never would’ve figured it out or started treating myself without that coworker’s concern.

  191. CRM*

    In my first job out of college, I had a true rockstar boss who managed a small team of young inexperienced analysts. He was heavily invested in our careers; he provided us with thorough training and taught us valuable skills even if they weren’t entirely relevant to our jobs (without which, I would not be where I am today). He made sure we were involved in high level projects, and gave us credit when they succeeded. He was also extremely contentious about time off, work/life balance, and managing priorities. He drove me to work when my car broke down and I was without a vehicle for a month, and when I got a concussion he eased up on my workload until I was feeling better.

    We all really appreciated him, so one year for the holidays we decided to pitch in and get him a small gift with a card thanking him for being such a great manager (this was before I started reading your blog- I now know that gifts shouldn’t flow upward). He was moved to tears when we gave it to him.

    Several months later he was up for a big promotion, and we discovered that we were the second team he had managed at the company. Apparently things did not go well with his first team, and managing our team was actually a demotion for him (he was also under consideration to be fired at that time). I now understand how much that gift, and more importantly the positive feedback, meant to him!

  192. Rambler*

    We had a company softball league. I was the one and only fan for my program’s team, but I showed up to every have to cheer them on. We made it to the championship and the night before the game, I legit snuck in to the office after hours and decorated the entire place in full on high school pep rally style. All the players got hand drawn jerseys with “go Llamas,” “beat the Teapots,” etc. at their office/cube doors and I decked out the common areas with streamers and banners.

    A lot of people who didn’t know there was a softball league were REALLY confused, but the rival team had to walk through our area to get to their office space, and of course all of our players loved it.

    We won the championship and several of the team members refused to part with their decorations.

  193. Why Not*

    Our area was recently threatened by wildfires and we were at a low level for evacuation all while working from home and trying to get distance learning started for one of our kids. I had two different co-workers, neither of whom I know very well, offer to let us come stay with them if we needed to evacuate. Thankfully that never happened but I still appreciated the offer as we had no idea where we could go (no family in the area).

  194. Anon for this*

    My email signature carries the tag line: “Be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

    Over the years I have gotten so much feedback from people, telling me this has helped them in some way, has made them really think, and so forth.

  195. MerelyMe*

    Several years ago, I was having a fairly terrible week and it was only Tuesday, when one of my favorite faculty members came to ask me something. I took care of what she wanted, and then we got chatting about nothing in particular, including food. The next day she came back and brought me an absolutely massive salad with stuffed grape leaves in it because I had said I liked them, and she could tell I was having a terrible week.

  196. Steven*

    This story is both: a Machiavellian stroke deployed in the course of doing good (I almost posted it in the last thread, but didn’t think to in time). At an old job at a big company a while back, I was involved in organizing a medium-sized conference that the company hosted every year, as part of which I was on a committee responsible for giving out grants to cover travel and lodging for people from backgrounds underrepresented in our field. We had enough budget to give out twenty grants, but after a whole lot of deliberation we narrowed the field to 25 applicants who we thought should get it, and had a lot of trouble cutting down to the last five.

    My manager (who, it should be mentioned, was a very well-regarded leader with a lot of build-up goodwill and social capital, which is why he was able to get away with this without getting in (much) trouble) was on the grant committee, and he said he was positive we could get an increase to the budget approved, but that by the time it worked its way through assorted big-company bureaucracy for approval it would be too late for many of the recipients to book flights. So, in a stroke of brilliance, he emailed all 25 finalists telling them they had been accepted, then went hat-in-hand to the people in charge of budget to tell them “I’m so sorry, I made a terrible mistake, I accidentally emailed the wrong list, this is awful, but now we need an emergency increase to the grant budget to avoid the potential PR nightmare of telling these people we’d give them grants and then pulling them, ok thanks bye”. We got approval the same day.

  197. Liz*

    When I left an awful job of five years, the accountant I worked with gave me a beautiful paperweight and told me “Congratulations on getting out of here. Don’t use [boss] as a reference, she won’t give you a good one.”

  198. DorthVader*

    In high school and college I worked for a retail store where you could build teddy bears. We were in a busy mall, and I started working there shortly before the Great Recession. While other companies cut back on hours and perks, our store did its darndest to make sure we were taken care of. During the holidays we usually got lunch or dinner brought in from a pizza place or sub shop, and if we missed the catered meal our managers would take care of our lunch or dinner for us (and call it in/extend our break to deal with the crowds). When corporate started cutting employee perks and being really strict on hours (so as to not have to pay benefits) our management implemented its own incentive programs. We were always recognized and rewarded for good work. Management had our backs with customers, which was probably the best thing for a group of teenagers. There’s a reason most of the group I was hired with stayed for 3-5 years and came back whenever we were home!

    Once our store manager left things went downhill, unfortunately. It was after my time but I went to visit often and one day I walked in and didn’t know anyone. That was a huge bummer, but I’m still good friends with most of my coworkers and we see each other whenever we can!

  199. R342*

    When my grandparents died I mentioned it in passing to someone in the office who I didn’t know very well (worked in a different directorate). She arranged a collection and sent flowers and a lovely card.

    When I had a miscarriage I got cards from work people I never would have expected to hear from, often sharing their own experiences, sometimes from years before. It meant the world (particularly as many of my actual friends kind of fell down on the job). I didn’t keep the cards but I still remember them with infinite gratitude.

  200. e*

    Another death one: when my mother passed away, I came in early and told my boss I would be wanting to take some time off in the near future, and he told me to just book the flight immediately and go, because I wouldn’t regret not being there for the work but I would regret not being there with her.

    Not actually my colleague, but I was completely unable to hold it together when checking into the hotel for my office holiday party later that year and the woman at hotel reception sent me a plate of cookies and a very nice letter.

    Less emotional, but a big kindness in its own way – this job let me give basically six months notice, acted as my reference while I was job searching in another state, and okayed dying my hair blue on my way out (I had been in an externally facing financial services role).

  201. Addy*

    In another life I worked for a department head at a prestigious university, he decided we should host an international conference on campus and I was the main person in charge of coordinating everything between the Paris office and campus. It was a LOT of extra work and long hours but everything went really well. (and solidified my love of event planning).
    The hard work did not go unnoticed as my boss surprised me with an iPad to say thank you! Completely unexpected and super nice of him to do :)

  202. Colette*

    I’d been unemployed for 6 months before I started a contract job. 6 weeks in, my dad died unexpectedly. My boss insisted I go home (even though I couldn’t get a flight until morning). I was off for 6 days which should have been unpaid, but while I was gone she went to her management to get approval to pay me anyway.

  203. Just S*

    Years ago, I worked as an appointment scheduler in a hospital. At the same I was dealing withing a Crohn’s flair, not eating or sleeping on top of being in pain. My GI at the time wasn’t helping but I still kept going work looking worse and worse. One of the surgeon’s nurses, he handled the pediatric patients, came to me to say, if your dr doesn’t admit you today, we will. I worked in the neurosurgery department. Was escorted down the ER and admitted. While there I met my new GI who helped me to remission.

  204. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

    I don’t know if anyone will read down this far, but here it goes:
    A few years ago I needed some shapes where the edges were made out of a strong, solid material (for reasons I won’t go into right now). I thought these would be easy to find within my industry but to put it mildly they were NOT. Reworking the project so as not to need them would have been a big headache and while I could easily made them myself, I didn’t have the equipment. Someone in another department heard about this and told me they had what was essentially a portable soldering station (proper soldering, not a soldering iron) and they could bring it in for me to use if I wanted, blowtorch and all. Of course I gratefully said yes! Which is how we ended up set up at this tiny bench at the back of the staff parking lot, with me happily soldering together a bunch of metal, just in time. Thank you (let’s call you) Roger Hamley!

  205. Bad Spellir*

    I was working at a public school, gosh, ten years or so ago. We were Title I, and the building was run down, our test score were low. We had a family move in from out of state. They had eight kids, and had never attended a public school before. Their parents were a nurse and an engineer, it was during the recession, they had been laid off for six months, and the kids had only attended private schools.

    The mom was scare of us, scared for her kids. They spoke to the principal for an hour, and then we walked the third grader to his class with his mom. The teacher was introduced, the child was introduced and sent in to class. I was out in the hallway with the mom, and she starts crying. Sobbing. Our principal, who was a southern gentleman in the best sense, asked her what was wrong. She said that she did not even have a dollar and a half for her son to eat lunch that day.

    I went to get the school councilor, and as I was coming back, I heard their conversation. Our principal said that her son was one of our kids now, and our kids did not go hungry at school, even if we had to take up a collection so he could eat. The councilor and I made a list of all the school supplies that all eight kids would need, everything from graphing calculators to school uniforms, and then gathered it all from our donated supplies, gave it to her, and got the mom a list of churches and volunteer organizations that could help.

    The parents got back on their feet, and until the last child graduated, they would bring the teachers homemade treats every so often. They also would donate items for other students. It all comes around in the end.

  206. Anon Admin*

    We had to close our museum due to the shelter-in-place order back in March. We worked from home for the first time in the 18 years I’ve been at the museum. We did as much working from home you can do for a museum.

    We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We do not get any government funds of any kind. We have an amazing board and during 3 months we were closed, they paid the entire staff our normal salary, even the part-timers. I am full-time so I did video meetings, notes and other administrative tasks, but our part-time people (Cafe staff, Guest Services staff, EDU staff) could not WFH because there was literally nothing they could do from home. They could have not paid us, made us use our leave or left us to fend for ourselves.

    I still think there are some things that could be changed for the better, but I was sincerely appreciative of what they did for us.

  207. LeahS*

    I was three months into a new job when I went septic, my kidneys failed, and I almost died. The HR rep came to see me in the ICU and signed me up for health insurance so that only one day of my hospital stay was not covered. I will never forget that.

  208. Rascal*

    I used to have a really mentally and physically taxing job in human services. One day I spent hours working with a notoriously difficult client – she was demanding, berated me over things completely outside my control, and at times intentionally tried to upset me. It was one of my first times working at that location so I didn’t know any of my co-workers, but one of them could see that I was reaching the end of my rope. During a brief respite she took me aside and, pretending she couldn’t see I was on the verge of tears, asked me if anyone had told me the story of the most ridiculous thing that client had ever done.
    She regaled me with a tale that I cannot repeat for privacy reasons, but by the end of it I was crying tears of laughter instead of frustration. It made working with that client so much easier! I will never forget that my co-worker could tell, without knowing me, exactly what I needed to hear. She’s still one of the kindest, big-hearted people I’ve ever worked with.

  209. Sedna*

    In my prior job, the person who hired me resigned after years of high stress days (she was a wonderful person who was not at all suited for a bunch of the things she had to do in that position, and I ended up picking up a lot of her work). I was close to leaving myself at that point, both due to the stress level and the fact that I was starting to outgrow what was an entry-level position. My new boss reduced the stress, immediately (with a month!) got me a minor promotion, and was just generally a pleasure to work with. About 10 months later, I found my current job (different spot in the same large organization). She had to approve my application, since it had been less than a year since I was promoted. She gave her approval at once and without question, wrote me a glowing review, and was just generally happy to see me go on to bigger and better things – even though it meant my leaving.

  210. Short Time Lurker Komo*

    Every year, my company does a Secret Santa with a $20-$30 gift limit where you can unwrap a gift or steal a gift. One year, I had my gift stolen, so I was opening a new one…

    And it was a cheap, wooden fork that that had painted artwork for the company (logos and such). I do mean cheap too, if you paid $2 for the fork, you paid too much. The paint was nice, but also wasn’t sticking well because the fork had a light glaze of some sort over it. This isn’t a Secret Santa with a lot of home made gifts like this, so it was very out of the norm of the other types of gifts given (in the years before and since).

    I playfully tried to convince coworkers to steal it (It’s one of a kind!), but ended the game with the fork. Bummer. I didn’t complain though – what could the organizer do after all? She couldn’t force someone to buy a new gift that was better aligned with the spirit of the game. My supervisor was mad (he was in the game and had seen what I’d opened), the organizer was mad, but meh? No need to pitch a fit that can’t be fix.

    The organizer – after the game was done – came by and dropped the gift she ended with by my desk. I told her I didn’t mind, but she insisted. I went to let my supervisor know (as he was invested in this little drama by this point), and as he and I are talking, over the interoffice intercom, I hear our HR person summoning me to the head admin’s office.

    They were also pissed about the fork, and so HR and head admin lady got into petty cash and gave me $25. I was beyond overwhelmed by the kindness. I took the organizer back her present and was on cloud nine for a week easily knowing that my company cared.

    The person who did the fork swung by after all this had played out, and said that it’d taken them about 3 hours of their time to decorate the fork, so they felt that their time was worth $10 an hour. I agreed and complemented the hard work that went into it, and what I liked about it. I still have that fork on my cube wall to remind me what kind of company I work for.

  211. Magenta Sky*

    A cashier working for me had her husband (an armored car security guard) shot and killed in a robbery. Our corporate office came to run the store the day of the funeral so that anyone in the store who wanted to attend the funeral could. There were nearly as many of her coworkers there as his.

  212. No Sleep Till Hippo*

    My current job is chock-full of kind, amazing people, bottom-to-top, but this story is the one that really sticks with me:

    I started this job as a temp. I actually worked in-house for the temp agency for a while before converting to a temp to apply for this role, so I kind of got a behind-the-scenes look at the process. I knew that I wasn’t the org’s first choice -they’d inteviewed a couple other candidates before agreeing to being me in. But, as luck would have it I ended up getting picked and I was determined to make a good impression.

    I let them know when I started that I had planned a week-long trip out of state, which would be happening right around my third month in the role (end of October). Not a problem for them work-wise, and the temp agency was handling my payroll and (very bare-bones, already-expended) PTO, so it wouldn’t cost them anything. It happened to line up pretty closely with the end of my temp assignment, so I assumed that either they’d let me go just before the trip, or we’d talk about whether they wanted to keep me on when I got back.

    Well, end of September or so, my boss and grandboss call me into the conference room to talk. I’m the type that always assumes a surprise talk with the boss is bad news, so I figured they were planning to give me notice that they’d be ending my assignment. It seemed a little early, but no point in dragging out the inevitable, right?

    Well. They offered me a permanent job. Start date October 1. Which, since I’d worked on the back-end of the process, I knew meant that they’d be paying an extra fee to hire me on before my assignment was up, rather than waiting until I’d worked enough hours for them to avoid the fee. I think I said something like “I’m thrilled, but wouldn’t it be cheaper for you to do this at the end of the month?”

    “Yeah,” they said, “but we know you have a trip coming up, and we wanted you to have PTO to use for it.” (Company policy allows us to use up to 40 hours of PTO before we’ve accrued it, which meant that time off was available immediately.)

    I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. I love my job.

  213. MerelyMe*

    Several years ago, I was having a fairly terrible week and it was only Tuesday, when one of my favorite faculty members came to ask me something. I took care of what she wanted and then we got chatting about nothing in particular, including food. The next day she came back and brought me an absolutely massive homemade salad with stuffed grape leaves in it because I had said I liked them, and she could tell I was having a terrible week.

  214. Thank you note with a (literal) bonus*

    I worked hard to keep apprised of our business financial resources when Covid hit and was ready to apply for our Paycheck Protection Program loan right when they became available. Even in the chaos, I was able to secure a first round loan. Then, when it came time for the forgiveness application, I spent three days gathering invoices, receipts, reports, cancelled checks, and the like to document every single eligible expense. I was able to get our PPP loan FULLY forgiven!

    I was excited since this loan allowed me to keep my job and my paycheck during Covid, and getting it fully forgiven left the business in a good place to keep operating. I have a job, and it’s one I love – YAY! However, there was MORE to be exited about…

    The day after we were informed of the forgiveness the business owner handed me a thank you card and said he noticed how hard I worked on our PPP loan, both obtaining and forgiving, and saw how laser focused I had been while also getting my regular duties done. I thought the card was SO thoughtful, and it meant a lot to me that my hard work was noticed and appreciated.

    Then I opened the card to read the interior message and a $100 bill fell out of the card, and another, and ANOTHER… he had stuffed ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS in the thank you note! I am nerdy and socially awkward, so I just walked up to him and said “wow, thanks, you didn’t have to do that!” and walked away. Later I texted him to say I’m bad at showing how excited I am, but that the money will make a huge difference for me right now and I’m ecstatic. He replied that he knows my personality well and understood that I was excited and grateful LOL – such a great boss!

  215. Lost, in disrepair*

    I was 7 weeks pregnant and had a miscarriage (I was close to my manager and informed him). After taking a day off I went in because I felt slightly better but then started cramping REALLY badly. I layed on a sofa in women’s bathroom barely able to move. When I had a brief moment of respite I went and told my manager that I had to leave and he was so caring when I kept bringing up things I needed to do he said just go home and don’t worry about it at all. I did this for 2 days (yes, hindsight is 20/20 but this was a very confusing time for me) before he told me to just stay home. He didn’t even press me for sick time information when I came back, he trusted me to take care of it.

    I didn’t realize how much I appreciated this until I had a seperate health issue at a different job and the manager emailed me very early on a daily basis (before I was normally in the office) to find out when I’d be back with no inquiries about how I was doing and constantly reminded me to put in the sick time.

  216. SharkFan*

    I once worked as a member of an over-worked and under-appreciated department of a large, poorly performing company. Our office was depressing – outdated cubicles and one window in the entire department. One Monday we came in and over the weekend our wonderful boss had gone out and bought patio furniture and rearranged the area by the one window to be a communal space, with a mini fridge, coffee maker and comfortable seating. It really boosted everyone’s morale!

  217. Harriet Vane*

    I’m a TA and this semester the professor I work for sent me and my fellow TA gift cards to order take-out while we were grading exams. I wasn’t expecting this at all (I thought her email had been hacked at first!!), and it was really lovely to be able to take a night off from cooking and order a much fancier and nicer meal than I would have made or ordered for myself. It totally turned my weekend around and I am still thinking about it weeks later.

  218. Jen*

    This didn’t happen to me, but to my coworker and friend. Shortly before she was due to return from maternity leave, her child was diagnosed with a serious illness and there was no way to tell how long treatment would take. She wanted to quit her job so she could focus on her child’s health, but her manager convinced her to stay and take as much time off as she needed. And even better – before she went on leave, she was being underpaid, so the manager arranged for an almost 50% raise when she returned. (And the child made a full recovery!)

  219. Middle Manager*

    This is a totally pre-covid story, since no one is traveling in our office now and we’re all working remotely.
    But we have a co-worker who travelled more than the rest of us, meaning she often picked up nice pens from conferences/hotels/partner agencies she visits. Our office buys THE WORST PENS IN THE WORLD.. Traveling co-worker shares the nice pens freely, but she goes out of her way to notice when someone is having a terrible day and will leave a nice pen on our desk, sometime with a kind note. The pen is nice, but her noticing you’re having a rough day is just so appreciated. I cried the last time I found one on my desk.

  220. Another Teacher*

    I spent the last four and a half years (half of my career) teaching at a school that was an absolute DREAM to work at. I told everyone that they were stuck with me until I retired, and I meant it. Teacher friends of mine couldn’t believe how amazing this school was when I talked about it. It was truly a unicorn of a school.

    After four magical years there, a new principal was hired. In an independent school like this one, the principal is pretty much the end-all-be-all; there is a board of directors, but they just handle the really big picture stuff. The principal has pretty much total control over the school, so they almost solely determine the school’s culture. And this one… was not a good fit. And for several complicated reasons, he was also not likely to leave anytime soon. The culture of the school went on a rapid decline almost immediately, and employee morale plummeted. I started looking for a new job two weeks into the school year, but didn’t find one that met my extremely high expectations- after knowing how amazing a school can really be- until January. During that time, I really went through a full grieving process- I was grieving the life that I thought I would have over the next few decades at that school. It was incredibly painful. I put in my two weeks notice and was truthful as to why I was leaving.

    On my last day, the entire school surprised me with a party. Every class was in the gym when I walked in. Every single person in the school got cake, and every child lined up to give me a letter they wrote for me (I taught every kid in the school every year). The school gave me a Pandora charm related to my subject area. It meant so, so much to know that I was so valued there, because that school meant so much to me. I’m still grieving that loss to some degree, but my new school is honestly great in a lot of the same ways as my old one, and with a wonderful principal who keeps finding ways to make changes that benefit everyone!

  221. TechWorker*

    Two minor things from different managers that meant a lot at the time:

    1) One evening I was randomly ill in the evening (threw up) and only managed to actually get to bed about 1/2am. I felt totally fine in the morning but told my manager I’d slept badly through being ill and would take the morning off as PTO. He said ‘sounds like you were ill to me, take it as sick’ (UK, paid sick leave with fairly large limits).

    2) My partner fell seriously ill at work (we work at the same place). We normally walk in and I was worried about getting him home so was about to call a taxi. My manager told me to go home and not worry about the time as I’d worked late recently, and drove us home himself (only a 15min round trip) so we didn’t have to wait for a taxi. (That was a super fun 1am A&E trip but whatever it was my partner was fine a few days later – who knows!)

  222. Surprised Blessing*

    We discovered that we could still get pregnant after my husband was laid off from his job in 2008. He was having a hard time finding a new one and I was the only one working. My coworkers very kindly put together a HUGE baby shower for me and covered lots of my needs. I was so embarrassed to have a shower for a second baby but what a difference their kindness made. They kept pitching in too at odd moments, I would get a gift card for Wal-mart which covered formula when breast feeding didn’t work out. Or groceries when the price of medical insurance went up. I was very fortunate in a very stressful time because of my coworkers.

  223. nora*

    I worked in restaurants/bars throughout college. After graduating, I took a bit of a breather but soon buckled down and begin a job search outside of the service industry. A regular customer got wind of this (she was friends with the owner/my boss) and insisted that she would help outfit me for my interviews. As a former CEO of a national fashion brand, she had more connections than most to make this happen. But not only did she make the necessary arrangements to have staff ready to coordinate a personal shopping/tailoring experience, both she and her husband took time on a Saturday afternoon to accompany me, and paid for my new professional wardrobe out of their own pockets as well. I can never explain why they did this for me, a person who was (and remains) essentially a stranger. But I only hope they know how much that gesture meant to me, because I had a lot of anxiety about dressing for interviews (I had a very limited budget). In addition, I was and remain estranged from my family and that sense of having someone look out for me in both a material and a mentor-like capacity impacted me in a way I didn’t expect.

  224. Petty Editor*

    We had just moved to Phoenix in the summer. We were a one car family and we weren’t earning enough at our temp jobs to afford a car, so we had a complex commute. My spouse worked 3-11 and I worked 8-5,in opposite directions. The bus didn’t run all the way between my job & home, and didn’t run from home to my spouse’s job at all. In the morning they dropped me off at work, then went home to sleep until their job started in the afternoon. After work, I took a bus 1.5 hours one way then walked 2 miles to my spouse’s job to take our car home until they got off, then I would need to go back when they got off 3rd shift. Doing this in 115-120 degree weather, full sun, no cover at the bus stops SUCKED. A coworker gave me a ride on her way home once after she overheard my experience being sexually harassed by a bus driver. The whole drive took 25 minutes instead of hours, then when she heard about my dilemma, gave me a ride every day for 3 months until we had enough to get a motorcycle for my spouse so I could take our car. She refused gas money, saying she was paying it forward from when she had been in a similar situation. Still a great friend to this day!

  225. Modest Anony Mouse*

    I became the target of a right-wing campaign–what we would now call a cancel campaign–many years ago because of an action I took at work. (Social media was not as widespread as it is now, so this campaign mainly spread via blogs.)

    My boss not only fully supported me, she took most of the heat. The right-wing bloggers organized a phone campaign against my organization and my boss ended up spending about 10 hours per week for three or four months handling the hate calls/emails she received. She was already regularly working 50-60 hours weeks, so this was adding to an already immense workload.

    She wasn’t a perfect boss but she stood up for what was right when it mattered, and that’s shaped my understanding of what a true leader is.

  226. Lori*

    It was summer. It was 97F and about 100% humidity outside. I was about 6 months pregnant, and I was trying to get some exercise by pacing around the office during my lunch break. I had been working at this job for about 4 months, so I was pretty new. My boss saw me, asked what I was doing, listened carefully to my answer, and asked if he should buy a treadmill for the office.

  227. Detached Elemental*

    We hired a new staff member from interstate. Before she started, some of her coworkers from Old Job visited our site for some meetings. One of her coworkers asked to see the new staff member’s desk. When I showed her, she slipped a couple of chocolate bars into the drawer. They were good friends, and she’d sometimes buy chocolate for her at Old Job. The chocolate bars were a way of welcoming her to New Job.

  228. DoubleE*

    We had a major severe weather event over the summer and I had a bunch of downed trees in my yard. It would have taken me months to clean it up myself, but several of my coworkers came over with chainsaws, and accomplished 90% of the cleanup in one afternoon.

  229. Ana Gram*

    I’m a cop and we turn out when someone in our department has a tragedy (house fire, death, etc.). We had a new front desk person years ago when an officer’s house burned down and she couldn’t figure out why officers were coming in and handing her cash.

    It’s a really cool thing to see.

  230. LittleBirdInTheBigCity*

    I worked as a consultant for a company that was preparing to be bought out by another company. Because they needed to keep their profit margin high, they cancelled all Christmas parties that year and everyone was feeling pretty rotten about all the extra hours we had been working and the uncertainty of our jobs if this buy out happened.
    Our section lead had a chat with the CEO, basically along the lines of, “If I take the team out and just give you a bill will you pay the bill?” And her response was along the lines of, “If you give me a bill, I will pay the bill and will ask no further questions”.
    So our section lead took us all out, permanents, contractors, consultants alike, to a super nice place for lunch and thanked us for everything we’d done, and that even though the Christmas party couldn’t happen, the least he could do was make sure we knew how appreciated we were.
    Once the buy out happened, he was one of the first people to be let go. It friggin’ SUCKED because he was seriously such a great boss.
    On a happier note, after a few months of the section disastrously trying to plod along without a lead, he was asked to come back, and was able to negotiate a return on his own terms with many more perks.

  231. Exhausted Trope*

    Reading through the comments has left me at a loss for examples. But #toxiccurrentjob is to blame for that.

    1. Diatryma*

      Yeah, it’s hard to see so clearly that my horrible former job could have been better with so little effort. Just a little follow-through, one or two compliments, nothing like ‘surprise birthday party’ but ‘covers leave and makes it work’ or the York mint from the beginning of the thread. I’m going to try to do more of the little things, being reminded that they make a big difference sometimes.

  232. Asperger Hare*

    One of my parents died. I was having to try to find 24hr care for my surviving parent from the other side of the country. My manager quietly gave me far more than the approved time off, no question, no problems. I didn’t even realise until months afterwards, when I had a look at our Leave procedures. It was so kind at the hardest point I’d ever experienced in my life.

  233. Djuna*

    My team had 4 weeks to move all of our work between two databases that didn’t speak nicely to one another. Various tech solutions were tried, and failed. The final solution copied everything, but included code that made records impossible to read from the front end. We had a frantic week of manual code editing and testing, where we touched every dang entry in the thing, in every language version. It was rough, but we were determined to make it work.
    My team, and my boss, are on a different continent to me. There was overtime and weekend work, and my boss pitched in with the rest of us.
    Fast forward to the day the thing is deployed. There are some hitches and I’ve been stuck to my desk trying to put out fires while waiting for the rest of the team to come online. Boss sends someone from another department to yank me away to lunch and orders me to go.
    I get back to my desk and there is a jar of my favorite candy there, with a note from my boss thanking me for my hard work. She’d talked someone in yet another department into finding that candy (it’s pretty old fashioned and a local to me kind of thing) and had gotten them to print the note and leave both things on my desk in a very specific time window.
    The candy and the note were kind enough, but the effort she went to to pull in other people to help and make sure I got that lovely surprise right when I needed it most was next level.

  234. It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s SuperAnon*

    Early in my career, I reported my coworker for making violent comments in the office. By the next day, he was out on leave and HR put a meeting on my calendar. I went into it thinking I would be grilled about what exactly was said, did he say it to me, who else can corroborate it, did I really think he would be violent… basically, I was dreading it.

    Instead, the HR manager sat with me and asked if I was okay, and validated that I did the right thing by speaking up. I started to cry a bit and apologized, but he immediately said I had no reason to apologize and had been incredibly brave to say anything. He gave me some time to re-compose myself before I went back to my cube. As a young employee it was a relief to know that he and my manager that I made the report to had my back.

  235. Jigglypuff*

    I worked at a small public library, and there were 3 of us at the circulation desk. We needed two to be there at all times, so lunches would have to be spread out – someone would take an early lunch and someone would take a late lunch. While we were discussing who would do what, the library director came out from her office and told us all to take lunch at the normal time; she would cover the desk for us. It means a lot to me when managers are willing to pitch in and do the lower-level jobs that need to be done.

  236. tears of the mushroom*

    Many years ago, when I was an intern and therefore working 90 hours a week, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I was beside myself. He is an ER doc. A week after his first chemo I looked out the window and his partners and their spouses were cutting the grass and taking care of the house. Two physicians, a PhD, and an attorney. His group kept it up until he was able to heal.
    Many years later I was able to pay it forward by continuing to pay a nurse for full time work while giving her a day off a week to complete a higher level of education. Rumi says “be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder”.

      1. Hi*

        I was a medical resident on an ICU rotation (24+ hour call) & I was so tired. A nurse pulled her chair over so we could “share it”. Just to rest for a few minutes felt like heaven.

  237. Ms. Frizzle*

    Not my story, but my parents’ –
    A few months ago there was a bad fire at the apartment building where one of my father’s coworkers lived. They became homeless overnight (along with a cat and dog that made staying in a hotel fairly impossible) while they looked for a new apartment. Because everyone had been quarantining responsibly, my parents felt safe enough to have the coworker and their pets move in. It took about a week, but everyone is safe and in stable housing now!

  238. Jigglypuff*

    I worked at a big box retail store while I was in graduate school – I was only part-time so I didn’t have any PTO or anything like that. When my mom died, I stopped by the store to tell them I’d be gone for a week (travel to another state, arrange funeral, etc.). They of course allowed me to go, but also paid me for the shifts I would have worked that week.

  239. Endurogirl*

    Last year I was voluntold to help out our crazy busy audit manager, despite having zero background with ISO or audits. I did such a stellar job for her and she took the time to explain things and train me and was super patient, and when she visited my site from company headquarters she left a beautiful little wooden ring box on my desk with a horse design on it, as she remembered I own a horse and love them! I would go through fire for that woman but she died in January…

  240. Thanks for this!*

    I had just started my first job out of college at a rapidly growing small business, and it was retirement plan sign up time. I’d looked over the forms, wanted to research my options, but was too busy, and so when the accountant/HR person sent me an email reminder for the sign up deadline, I replied that I was too busy but would sign up next year instead.
    Five minutes later she was in my office, even through she was just as busy as I was. Without making me feel young or irresponsible, she outlined the basics of the plan, said that once I was enrolled I could do my research on the funds later and move my money around at any point in the future, and strongly encouraged me to sign up THIS YEAR. And so I did! I will be forever grateful to her for getting me to start my retirement plan early in my career.

  241. TinaLevinTwelve*

    Come to think of it, this might qualify for both…

    I was on my way out of a toxic Teapot Repair shop right around the time my peers are assigned their new Teapot Assessor for the next year. I noticed, quite quickly, that there seemed to be an awful lot of empty schedule days for one of my peers and a lot of empty ones for two others, but the newest hire was absolutely slammed.
    I created a spread sheet calculating how many appointments each person’s Teapot Assessor’s had each day and what percentage of each day and each week went to each staff member.

    The newest hire (who just “happened” to be the only one not in the clique with her peers) obviously got the shortest end of the stick. In the 19 days already on the schedule, 13 of those days she had the most appointments to prepare teapots for the Assessors. 6 of those 13 days she had more appointments than the other three employees combined!! Her highest load was 87% of the work at least 1 day each week. I included totals, percentages, totally objective data.

    I sent the spreadsheet (completely with scary conditional formatting) to the interim department chair.
    The assignments were changed within 24 hours to a much more equitable load, approx 25% each day for each staff member. The clique was furious. The new hire cried with relief. And I moved on to a higher paying job.

    :)

  242. Momma Bear*

    Last year I was having a rough day and out of nowhere one of our admins came by and gave me a daisy. I asked her what it was for and she said, “For you”, smiled and went to give out more flowers to more people. Made my week.

  243. SheLooksFamiliar*

    So many of my bosses and colleagues have shown kindness and compassion, for professional reasons, and just doing little things like bring me coffee.

    The kindness I remember most is my boss, business partners, and team members showing up at the hospital when my niece was in ICU. They were simply there for me and my family, sitting with us for hours, praying over her, bringing snacks and telling jokes…sigh. They also attended her funeral, and again were simply there for us. I can’t remember everything they said or did that day, but I remember the hugs and kind faces. I remember my boss telling me to take the next week off, and to let him know when I felt ready to come back to the office. And I remember the hugs when I did. Those people are still my friends and I’m still in awe of what they did for us.

  244. Drtheliz*

    I think the kindest thing any boss has ever done for me is when I wrote to my MSc supervisor (we no longer had a formal professional relationship) saying that I was really struggling with my PhD and was considering dropping out. He told me to come and show him what I had. He told me it was good, and that if I did a couple of simulations, I’d probably pass. I then told him about the (slightly niche) experimental work I wanted to do to validate a pet hypothesis, and he arranged for me to do it with his group at “mates’ rates” (I think £100/ day instead of £400, mostly used for pseudo internal work). I walked out of that meeting nearly crying because he’d turned “3.5 years of wasted work” into “the home stretch and the bit you’re good at”.

  245. Cafe au Lait*

    Years ago I worked at Kohl’s in college. I had a bad experience with roommates and I needed to move out. Quickly. When I was telling my coworker what happened she offered to let me move in with her. She was a middle aged woman, with several kids. Having me move in with her would necessitate some juggling at her house to make me fit.

    I ended up finding a room elsewhere. But I’ve thought about my coworker over the years. Her kindness. Her willingness to open her house to me. It was a growth year for me, and part of that growth was discovering what form kindness truly looked like.

    1. Mimi Me*

      A few years ago my landlord sold our apartment and we had to move. My kids were in middle school at the time and it was traumatizing to think of pulling them out mid year. My mother, who lives in the same town, refused to let us stay with her so the kids could finish out the remaining months (two of them at the time). My daughter’s best friend, who was on vacation at the time, told her mother who called me (again, on vacation at the time!) and offered to move around her family to accommodate my family of four. Flabbergasted by that kindness. We were able to find something to rent so we didn’t have to move in with them, but I always think about that. There’s a reason I say that friends are the family we pick for ourselves. :)

  246. Jean Pargetter Hardcastle*

    One of my first managers was a wonderful mentor to me and taught me so much about managing, but a particular kindness also stands out. At the time this happened, I was an hourly employee. My manager called me on a day off and asked if I wanted to come in, as I could work some more hours that week and a project had come up that I would be good at completing quickly. I did want the hours, and while I was there someone called out for the evening shift. Manager asked if I would mind staying to cover the shift, which I was happy to do (early 20s, single, hourly employee…I wanted every hour I could have!). Because of the extra time, I was going to need to take a dinner break, but I hadn’t brought anything as I only expected to work a few hours. Fortunately, we worked walking distance from several restaurants, and my manager insisted on giving me money from the petty cash to cover my meal. She said, “You are doing me and this entire place a favor by working this shift. It would be unconscionable for me to ask you to pay more than you make in an hour just to eat a dinner you weren’t planning on and now need so you can help us out.” She also advocated unsuccessfully but tirelessly for all of us hourly employees to make closer to living wages. As I said, she taught me tons about how to be a good manager.

  247. Mimi Me*

    My former boss is very professional and not at all the kind of person to share personal info about her life outside of the office. A few years ago my son was in 5th grade and having a really hard time behaviorally. He was having major anxiety meltdowns, violent outbursts, and all kinds of other crap that had me using my PTO for school meetings and emergency early dismissals. During a regularly scheduled one on one my boss, who was aware of all my unscheduled PTO, asked how my son was and I emotionally told her that I felt like this was never going to end. She then shared a story about how her son, who was now in his 20’s and living a full and happy life, had similar issues around the same age and said that it felt like forever now but it would pass and get better if I kept on the path we were on (counselors, therapy, etc). We even talked about our feelings about medicating our children (a hot button issue for me because so many teachers pushed that as a first course of action that we were ultimately able to avoid). It was one of the only really personal conversations I’d ever had with her but it went a long way to make me feel seen and heard as a working mother during a time when I truly felt like I was failing at doing both. I work under a different manager now (who I also like) but she holds a definite space in my heart for that conversation.

  248. Third or Nothing!*

    Oh! I have another one! So yesterday I was out walking with my daughter, as I do every day to burn off her incessant toddler energy so I can actually get work done in the in-between times, when I was bitten by a dog on the hand. Of course, I had to go to the doctor to get antibiotics as a precautionary measure. When I called my boss to let him know and ask whether I should use PTO or sick leave since I’d have to be away from my computer for the entire afternoon, he said “don’t worry about it, just get your hand taken care of and let us know if you’re ok.”

    It’s a small thing, really, and something I’m sure a lot of good managers would do anyway, but it was such a bright light during a really rough time. I’ve been dealing with my husband’s layoff, COVID burnout, loneliness from 7 months of isolation, a weird phase with my toddler where she’s being a total brat that’s making it very difficult to get any work done, and I just…I really needed a little kindness.

  249. RaeofSunshine*

    My first job out of college, I was hired without industry experience into a large company who was centralizing and expanding a core business department. I was given a pretty rote and predictable job, but I was tenacious and clueless and kept asking for more things to do. My boss recognized my enthusiasm, gave me side projects of increasing responsibility, and really went to bat for me with the higher-ups over what I was capable of.
    I had been hired in at the lowest level on the lowest salary band, since I didn’t have experience or a corresponding degree. After a year of helping me grow and giving me so much confidence in what I was capable of, that boss advocated for me to HR and surprised me with a 35% (!!) raise to put my salary in line with what my responsibilities were at that point. I was a young, naïve, 22-year-old who didn’t know how to advocate for myself (or even that I should!) and he continued to go above and beyond to mentor and encourage me.

  250. Andrea*

    My first manager at my current job was TERRIBLE. He was a bad manager as it was, who used people to build up his own reputation rather than developing them, but he also hated me specifically. He often didn’t know what he was talking about technically, and I’d correct him, and he told everyone that I was stupid and didn’t know what I was doing and had only managed to stay in my career because I’m a woman; enough people in our company believed him that I’m still dealing with the ramifications of that. He’d belittle me in meetings and tell everyone that he couldn’t believe I had gotten past an entry level job (I have 20 years of experience; outside of my company I am considered one of the top experts in my field).

    He managed to keep most of my colleagues away from me and funnel work to me directly through himself or one of his lackeys, but I was finally allowed to work on a project with a colleague I didn’t have much experience with. When the project was over, that guy asked for a meeting with me, and he used the time to tell me how much he enjoyed working with me, how impressed he was by my technical knowledge and my ease with customers, and how much easier I had made his job. He didn’t have to do that; he could have just said “thank you for your help” and left it at that, but he went out of his way to let me know I was valued (and capable) because he knew what our boss was doing. I will remember that for the rest of my life.

  251. [insert witty username here]*

    Several years ago, we had to put our beloved dog to sleep after a long battle with epilepsy, which turned out to be caused by a brain tumor. The last few months were particularly tough as he went downhill and I tried desperately to find a solution. Without going into too many details, I hadn’t been getting any sort of regular sleep while I cared for him and it had definitely taken it’s toll on me. I took a few days off after we lost him and when I came back in, two of my officemates had kindly put together a little bag of treats – candy, snacks, self care/beauty items, and a few little trinkets. It was so sweet and thoughtful. Our office is generally not very involved in each other’s personal lives but they knew how much he meant to me and it was just such a kind gesture to come back to.

  252. Ruh Roh Raggy*

    I had been at my company a little over three months when my husband died unexpectedly. My boss told me to take as much time as I needed before coming back to work. I kept checking in, and he kept saying not to worry about it. After six weeks, I asked if I could come back working 20-30 hours a week, but I didn’t know what hours or when I’d be in the office. He said that was fine and told me to see the office as a place I could go when I needed to get away from the house. I kept my full salary and benefits throughout. Honestly, I do not know how people cope with the loss of a loved one without this kind of support, but I know it’s incredibly unusual. It seemed to me that the quality of my work was impacted for quite a while, but he never stopped being my cheerleader and telling me what a great job I was doing. Obviously, he would not have been able to do this without the full support of the company’s leadership as well. They were all wonderful to me.

  253. This is an anon story*

    I messed up. I messed up bad. It was a stupid mistake and I made it worse by delaying telling my manager. The project I was working on was big, high margin and client was king.

    I told my manager when it couldn’t be avoided any longer and burst into tears while doing so. He very calmly told me it was alright, he let me go calm down and ‘right myself’ while he discussed it with his superior. It was dealt with without any finger pointing and blaming at me and they managed to present it in a way where the client considered it a minor issue vs. a huge fuck up.

    I know I was a good worker 99% of the time and if I wasn’t, they might have dealt with it differently. But I will never forget that when push came to shove, they supported me rather than ripped me down.

  254. Ms. Frizzle*

    And this one is my story! Many years ago I picked up a seasonal retail job at the holidays to get me through the gap between graduation and the start of a paid internship. During training the managers logged our time for us and I noticed my first paycheck was much bigger than I expected – turns out the assistant manager accidentally logged an extra 12 hours (AM instead of PM). I reported the mistake as soon as I saw it and my branch manager let all of us keep the money as we hadn’t made the error. Since I was the only one who came forward about the problem, and therefore helped her catch the budget error early, I got first consideration on whether I wanted to be an opener or closer for the week.

    That job was also just generally kind. At 2 am on Christmas Eve, my younger brother (who had the beginnings of the flu) had to drive my dad to the ER for a possible heart ache (my mother had just had surgery herself and couldn’t drive). I had an opening shift (yes, we were open) and my family told me to go, but I was obviously really worried and my manager let me keep my phone with me on the floor until I heard back that everyone was safe at home. She also gave me a gift card to pick up soup for my super sick family after that shift.

  255. Popcorn Burner*

    I’ll add a few (I really needed this thread today.)

    1) At a previous job, I was underpaid and often in the crosshairs of volunteer complaints. One day, some volunteers surprised me with a gigantic donut from a local shop. I love donuts. I forever appreciate these volunteers.

    2) The owners of my current firm like to give random partial or full days off. It’s so appreciated to get an email telling me I can clock out at 3:00 PM. Due to multiple job changes this year, I have to save what little PTO I have for my birthday.

  256. Tidewater 4-1009*

    I worked for 5 years at a small business. One of my colleagues was Mary. She was senior to me and we both reported to the owner.
    The owner was a horrible person who liked Mary but often got abusive with me. Mary had worked for her a long time and understood her better.
    Mary was very reserved. She never talked about her personal life. She was from another country so it may have been cultural.
    Many Americans would take her reserve personally, but I respected it and never tried to push her boundaries. She was always supportive with the work, and she is the reason I made it to 5 years with that awful boss. When I needed help or work-related advice she always came through. She is the best colleague I ever had. <3

  257. Former Retail Lifer*

    Years ago, my sister passed away. My family lived out of state and I needed to buy a plane ticket to attend the funeral, but I was a broke retail manager living paycheck-to-paycheck. While I got three days of paid bereavement time, I was going to miss out on three big sales days and the loss of commission would really hurt, not to mention the cost of the ticket. I mentioned this in passing to my boss in hopes of picking up more night and weekend shifts when I got back, as those were the best shifts for commission. My boss actually asked the rest of the team if they could donate a couple of bucks each to help me get home and to help make up for the loss of income, and they came through. From what I understand, there was absolutely ZERO pressure, just a quick ask and then it wasn’t brought up again. Almost everyone contributed, from my boss who made a decent salary to the part-time high-schoolers who made close to minimum wage, and I took home almost $200 in cash. I was able to find a reasonably priced plane ticket and that covered it. It was a huge relief and I still tear up thinking about it.

  258. Nonny*

    I’ve got one that still makes me choke up a little, from my former job. There was a woman in our department who had been there for a while, and was a genuinely lovely human being. Everyone loved her, and she was well liked within the company as a whole. At one point, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, treated, then cleared…. but then it came back. The prognosis was very bad, and they ended up transferring him to a specialty hospital across the country for treatment. She started working remote from the hospital to be with him, but mentioned how tough of a time they were having. The department admin decided to organize a gift for the two of them, and spent weeks putting together a well-thought-out “chemo care package” with customized items for his treatment (anti-nausea candies, a blanket/hat since he was having trouble maintaining his body heat, trivia books because he liked to quiz the nurses during vitals checks, gift cards so she could order delivery and not have to eat the hospital food, etc etc) and enough money was donated from various across the company that they were able to contribute a fairly substantial amount to her for their relocation and healthcare costs.

  259. Youngin*

    Not my story, but really sweet:

    Last year, my friends pup passed away suddenly. She was having a hard time moving on, mostly because she lives alone. Anyone that has lost a pet knows that going home to that empty house is one of the hardest parts.

    She wanted to get another dog because she thought that would help her heal, same breed, but couldn’t afford the adoption fees and all the other random expenses with bringing home a new pup. She was constantly checking this one adoption page to see if any of the pups caught her eye. Finally, one did, and she really wanted him because she felt she just connected with him, even via a computer screen. She went to the adoption agency to meet the little guy and they fell in love with each other, but she still couldn’t afford him, so she essentially left heartbroken again. The next day she went in and told her coworkers about the pup and how sad she was he would go to another home.
     
     Her boss, after hearing about her visit, called the adoption agency, and said he wanted to adopt the dog for her, so he did! He told his office assistant so she could set up the surprise (making sure my friend was in the office and scheduling a replacement for her after the surprise, so she could have the day off with her new friend). The assistant told the rest of the office of the surprise and they all decided to chip in with toy and treats and the like. 

    Well a week later her coworkers surprised her with the puppy, and hundreds of dollars in food and toys and treats. She of course cried, thanked them and left to play with her new pup. She still has him, and he comes to the office to be with his “Office Family” every Wednesday, and he is named after the boss that bought him.

    1. Youngin*

      Oh, also, he comes on Wednesday because thats when her boss is in the office. Her boss likes to take the dog for a walk during her lunch. He had the puppy for a few days before the surprise, so he maybe got a little attached. I always thought that was sweet

  260. WomensRea*

    Due to weird personal circumstances, I studied for the bar exam and worked full-time for a whole year. My boss (also a lawyer) successfully advocated for me and I was able to take a lot of half days as the exam date got closer. She said she wished she could do more, and also shifted work away from me so that I could study at work too. And then on my last day of work before I took time off for the test, she gave me a super cute water bottle and a good luck card. We used to joke about my love for water bottles all of the time so it was a personal, thoughtful, and useful gift. And aside from that it was really great having someone who knows how hard emotionally the test is and was very clearly in my corner about it.

  261. Other Duties as Assigned*

    When I was working on my MBA, I had a part-time job as a commercial radio announcer. My normal schedule was what we termed a “turnaround” one: 6:00pm-midnight Saturday and back in at 5:30am Sunday morning and on until noon. In between, I’d go home and try to catch a couple of hours of sleep. I also filled in for full time announcers during the week and those times had the added duties of producing radio commercials.

    One year, Saturday/Sunday was Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. I came in Christmas Eve to be on the air and learned from the announcer on before me that there was a commercial for a grocery store chain that needed to be produced for the next morning. This was odd, since there was never commercial production on Saturdays since the copywriters and sales staff didn’t work weekends. Moreover, why didn’t the announcer before me just do it? What had happened is that the station sales staff had promised the store that their commercial would include audio of the person who won their year-end drawing for a new automobile. The station actually sent a person to the drawing with a field recorder that morning. Unfortunately, the winner was not at the drawing to be recorded: it was Christmas Eve after all.

    What my colleague had done in the meantime was to leave a cryptic phone message with the winner to call the station’s call-in line “for an important message;” that way, we could get the person’s reaction over the phone. However, with it being the holidays, there was no assurance they’d even get the message. I asked what the options were and my colleague just said I’d have to figure out something, since it had to run the next (Christmas) morning.

    Happily, the winner did call late that evening. I quickly put the call through the call-in system (off the air) and recorded her response when I told her she’d won. I then included her response when I produced the commercial after midnight once the next announcer took over the on-air duties.

    I came in at 5:30am the next (Christmas) morning and a few hours later, the commercial played as scheduled. I breathed a sigh of relief that everything had worked and went back to being just a groggy announcer cheerfully playing holiday music on the air.

    About 20 minutes later, the Vice President of sales for our entire multi-state group of stations walked into my studio. I said: “What brings you in?” He said, “Well, that Food Center commercial.” I thought I’d somehow messed up and was going to be fired on Christmas. With some trepidation, I asked, “Problem?” He said, “No, no problem at all. That’s precisely what we promised the client. They’ll be thrilled and it will likely mean a lot of future business from them. I just wanted to come down to personally thank you and to wish you a Merry Christmas.”

    Wow. In the grand scheme of things, I was pretty close to the bottom of the food chain: a part time weekend announcer with so little status that I was scheduled for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Still, a Vice President of the company thought it important enough to thank me in person that he left his family on the holiday, got in his car on a bitterly cold morning and drove to the station to do so. He could have called in by phone and it would have been 90% as good (or even waited until he saw me after the holidays). His gesture of appreciation meant so much to me in that moment. I learned more about how to treat employees from that episode than from all the business management classes I’ve taken.

  262. Lady Kelvin*

    I am the only woman on my team (or I was at the time) and I had gone on maternity leave in the middle of my biggest project of the year leaving my equally busy coworkers picking up my slack. My supervisor was only reasonably supportive of my pregnancy and I was worried about taking a lot of time off. The day I returned to work my co-workers left an orchid on my desk as a welcome back with a note letting me know how much they missed me. It went a long way towards making me feel comfortable with how they viewed my leave and my contributions to our team.

  263. Zephy*

    During my time with City Year, one morning, we had a couple of kittens run into the school building during morning drop-off. I assume someone dumped them nearby – feral kittens wouldn’t run into a building swarming with teenagers, I wouldn’t think. They would have been probably 4 months old, so old enough to eat solid food and go potty without help. I was only a fledgling Cat Lady at the time, but I stepped up to spearhead the Kitten Caper – I didn’t really have a plan, honestly, so it’s good that the kittens turned out to be friendly (so friendly!! I wish I could have taken them!)

    Anyway, this happened first-thing, like 7 AM – obviously no high school just keeps kitten food and litterboxes handy, so we couldn’t keep them in our classroom that served as our base of operations all day. My boss would have been 100% within his rights to tell me and my teammates who caught the little buggers to toss them back outside – animal rescue was far outside the scope of our work, and one of our other teammates was irrationally terrified of cats, so bringing them into our space affected her negatively as well. But instead, he allowed us to go get supplies and set the kittens up at teammate C’s apartment for the day. C had a friend who worked with a cat rescue and said she could get them placed with a foster through them. He drove, I navigated (we got the supplies from my place), and we brought along a third teammate L to act as Designated Kitten Wrangler in the back seat.

  264. RecoveringSWO*

    Since we had the fabled military story last week about an Ops Officer moving a warship to get the sun out of his eyes, I thought I would share another famous military story about Gen. Mattis displaying extreme kindness:

    General Krulak said, when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps, every year, starting about a week before Christmas, he and his wife would bake hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies. They would package them in small bundles.

    Then on Christmas day, he would load his vehicle. At about 4 a.m., General Krulak would drive himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and deliver a small package of Christmas cookies to whatever Marines were pulling guard duty that day. He said that one year, he had gone down to Quantico as one of his stops to deliver Christmas cookies to the Marines on guard duty. He went to the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal who was on duty.

    He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.” Since the officer of the day was typically a young junior officer, General Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas day?” The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”

    General Krulak said that, about that time, he spotted in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”

    About that time, General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?” General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day.

  265. Amber Rose*

    Lots of little things, but I just want to mention again that time my coworker’s 1 year old daughter was diagnosed with a ridiculously nasty, life threatening problem so we sent him home to deal with it however long he needed, and did a charity drive. In addition to the funds his Go Fund Me got, we pulled together our suppliers, customers and everyone local for a huge event and raised $32,000 for Ronald McDonald House in his name. We even got t-shirts done up.

    Also shout out to RMH for inviting us over to pose with the giant prop check and take a lil tour of the place.

    The girl lived, by the way. She was literally that year’s Christmas miracle, since she needed a transplant of basically her entire stomach.

  266. Ciela*

    I am not very good at sewing. I can attach a button, or sew up a hole in a pocket, as long as no one cares what it looks like, but that’s it.
    I have a very, very old stuffed dinosaur I’ve had since I was 2. Over the years, he has had several surgeries performed by my mother. Recently he required another surgery to close a gap in his stomach, and I could not rationalize shipping him to my mom. I was too afraid to try myself, as the fabric was rather fragile.
    One of my co-workers, who knits and sews and embroiders, etc. offered to fix him for me. She did a great job and was appropriately respectful of this dinosaur that was over 10 years older than her.

  267. Ellie*

    All of the managers I work with/for are amazing. Like, absolute angels, I can’t believe I got this lucky.

    The work-life balance is fantastic. Casual dress code! Flexible working hours! Unlimited paid vacation that people are strongly encouraged to use! And during major holidays, the VP sometimes just emails us telling us to take a day off in addition to the actual holiday and it won’t count towards the time off tally (they still track even though it’s unlimited). They’re really, really flexible about time off too. I’ve never even heard of anyone getting denied a request. I think people don’t abuse the privilege because we know it’s a great benefit.

    The healthcare is great. I get ~$2k worth of blood work done every year for FREE as part of their employee health program. There’s always money available for professional training and continued education. There are good snacks and drinks in the office that the company pays for. The CFO once caught the summer interns in the act of stealing company-supplied snacks and coffee packets from the top floor’s kitchen (C-Suite is housed on the top floor) and when one of the interns explained that the top floor was the only one that had cookies and name brand coffee, he laughed and told them to carry on. A few days later, every floor had the same food and drink options as the C-Suite.

    There were no layoffs during the pandemic, just voluntary furlough for frontline workers that were uncomfortable with the risk, and they’re all able to come back to work now if they want to. Execs and VPs and upper management took huge pay cuts and agreed to give up year end bonuses if that’s what it took to keep the company afloat and all the staff employed. Thankfully, our industry bounced back so that isn’t necessary but still, it was nice to hear.

    There’s just this culture of “We have so much, why should any of us ever go without?”

  268. A truly fearless leader*

    This summer, a bee made its way into my office and I got stung. I was so surprised and confused, so I freaked out quite a bit. I ran out of my office and closed the door, but couldn’t seem to think about what to do next. I could see through my window that the bee was still flying around inside. One of my coworkers (very even keeled and respected) helped me get some ice and bravely went into my office stood up on a chair and fought the bee!

    She checked in on me the rest of the day too. It is so kind when someone helps you in a moment of panic!

  269. saltedchocolatechip*

    When I left my first job, after 5+ years, my boss threw a cupcake party and had a notebook out for people to write well wishes and a ton of people did. I still look back through it years later especially when I’m having coworker stress!

  270. Always Learning*

    I went through a very traumatic loss of my twin pregnancy last year at 14 weeks, after I’d announced to everyone at work. I subsequently had to take 5 weeks off of work. I was so anxious about going back to the office, because I’m typically very private and I didn’t want to face a lot of conversation about the topic when I was still so emotionally raw.

    My boss was wonderful. She had “welcome back” donuts (my favorite) waiting for me on my first day back, and everyone left me alone to catch up on my emails the rest of the day. She prepped the team so my return would be as calm as possible. I remember her going out of her way to make sure I wasn’t overwhelmed, and her proactive thinking helped calm me down on a very anxious day. I still remember that day fondly.

  271. Too Tired to Think Today*

    Probably too late, but I wanted to add this. I am the sole coordinator of a major event for my department (~300-400 people). The days around the event are 10+ hours easily. My coworker, who previously organized it, always volunteers to help. He comes early, stays late, and is willing to do any menial task I might ask of him. He does this all off the clock (he should get paid, but no way is my organization paying overtime) because he wants to make sure that my experience is not as hellish as his. He has done this for every coordinator after him. It is always such a relief to turn around and see the dozens of things you need to get done are already finished because he quietly went in and did them.

  272. Mimi Me*

    I have one more: my husband’s job. Just over a year ago the guy my husband worked for sold his business to a larger group (think private MD office to a hospital group office type move). When the deal went through the now former owner gave every employee a check with a percentage based on how long they’d been with the company. My husband was only there for 2 years at that point and got over $2000. One guy had been there since day one. His percentage was more than $50,000. My husband thinks it was closer to $100K.
    Not something that was required, but definitely something that was appreciated by everyone.

  273. Wendy Darling*

    I was working The Worst Temp Job when my mom found out she needed her THIRD brain surgery. Surgery was scheduled for a Tuesday. I asked my boss if I could have the day of her surgery and the day she came home from the hospital off so I could be with/help my dad. He said no, and that if I couldn’t be at work he’d replace me with someone who could. (I’d never missed a day before. I’d never even been more than 2 minutes late before.)

    The day of the surgery my coworkers figured out something was up with me before I’d been in an hour, and asked what was up, so I told them. They asked why I was even there, and I told them our manager said I had to come in or I’d be fired. They declared this bullshit, and then proceeded to come together and bust their asses doing their own jobs AND helping me do my job. My work was done by 2pm and one of the guys went up to our boss like, “Hey, Wendy’s done with her work for today, you should let her off so she can go see her mom in the hospital.”

    Sensing an impending coup, Evil Boss allowed it, and I got to the hospital half an hour before my mom got out of surgery.

    I hated that job a LOT but my coworkers were good people.

  274. KuklaRed*

    I was temping at a law firm, hadn’t been there for very long. I was in the middle of a very nasty divorce, in danger of losing my home, and money was very tight. I went to an ATM on my way to work to get cash for grocery shopping later. Took the subway uptown and when I got to my station, realized that someone had unzipped my backpack and stolen my wallet, with pretty much all the money I had in the world. I got to my office, very upset. My boss asked me what was wrong, so I told him. He called one of the firm’s vendors and said “Don’t you want to take me for a very expensive lunch today? I ended up going to Morton’s Steakhouse with them, huge amazing lunch with all the trimmings. Got back to my desk and there was an envelope with more money than I had stolen. I was in tears and my boss said “Well, you need to buy a new wallet, don’t you?” I love that man, we are still friends to this day, over 20 years later.

  275. NiceOrc*

    I was turning 50, and am a bit of an introvert. I planned to take morning tea to work to share with my co-workers, and told my mother I didn’t want to have a party or fuss. A co-worker arranged a meeting for that morning, but it was about a thing we were working on so not unusual. She said it would be just quick as she wanted to come back and have some of the cake I brought. But then she just kept talking! Finally my manager came looking for me, saying I was late to cover the reception desk. I rushed downstairs, all apologetic that I had apparently forgotten (and a tiny bit annoyed that morning tea was going to be delayed). Got to the desk and saw my son. He also works there part-time, so I just said I didn’t know you were scheduled today, then turned around and saw … my daughter and my parents! Then noticed an elaborate morning tea laid out, and all my co-workers laughing at me! The sneaky so-and-so’s had contacted my lovely manager and asked if it would be ok, then she had arranged to get me out of the way while they brought everything in and set it up! It turned out quite a lot of people at work knew about it because there was a constant stream of visitors from other departments popping in to say Happy birthday (and ooh! cake!). I know Americans don’t approve of family and work overlapping, but this was one of my best birthdays ever and made me really happy. :)

  276. Temperance*

    I’ve shared this here before, but in 2016, I had a sudden, freak medical crisis. As in, I worked on Wednesday, and was in the ICU on Thursday with an infection so rare that apparently my doctor had only seen it twice in ~35 years of practice.

    My colleagues covered me. HR offered to make sure my treatment was covered and that our insurance company acted right. They also got my FMLA paperwork together for me, which I sorely needed but also couldn’t have predicted.

  277. Eleanor*

    I was a single parent with a toddler when I was diagnosed with cancer. It required surgery, and my coworkers made a schedule for who would take my daughter to daycare and who would pick her up, since I couldn’t drive for a week and her daycare was in our office park. It was the most sweet, thoughtful thing. It was a scary, stressful time and for them to just say, “Hey, we can all help with this” was incredible.

  278. Lizy*

    A couple of them… as seems to be the theme, it’s not necessarily big things, but it’s definitely the idea that someone went out of their way to help/be kind.

    I’m hard-of-hearing and haven’t had hearing aids in years (long story). A supervisor once offered to pay for new aids for me. I couldn’t accept – they’re a good couple of grand, and told her so, but the fact she offered without even blinking at the cost meant a lot. The company as a whole was really accommodating when my now 7-YO was having issues as a baby. I felt horrible about it, as my husband wasn’t working and I kept having to leave work to help, but I remember one time when the head honcho just brushed off my worries and said “sometimes, they just need mom”. And now that I think about it… a couple of coworkers (awesome supervisor included) came to help me pack the house when I was in the middle of moving. I had already given my 2 weeks and was working and then headed home with a newborn and an 8-year-old to pack up the entire house as my husband had already gone to New Town, and they brought dinner over and helped pack a TON.

    My current job is very male-centric. I just had another baby, and was slightly worried at how the guys would react to a newish employee pumping twice a day (I’ve been here since January), but they’ve all taken it in stride and been really great about it. I think it definitely helps that I treat it as normal and Not a Big Deal (thanks to Alison’s scripts!) but it’s been nice realizing I don’t have to stress about it.

  279. LogicalOne*

    The HR person at my company listened to my needs and gripes. My boss dismissed my complaints after I complained about a staff member. I rarely complain or tell on someone but I knew I had to do something. So our HR person made me feel valued and listened to and really took my complaint seriously. It just feels good when you have someone you can confide in and be honest and transparent about problems at work. Listening is a highly undervalued trait. Thank you to you anonymous HR person that I shall not mention LOL. :)

  280. Parenthetically*

    I had an unusual circumstance in that I brought Little Brackets to work when he was a tiny baby. One morning he had been an absolute screaming colicky blowout-having nightmare after a sleepless night, and I was dealing with PPA and absolutely at the end of my resources. I came in frazzled to the max and on the verge of tears, and two of my coworkers swept in to rescue me. One took the baby, one handed me a five dollar bill and sent me back out to get a coffee, and a third went to cover my class for twenty minutes. It was a beautiful moment and I’m still SO grateful for it.

  281. Roz*

    I worked in government relations for a well respected charity. I was tapped into all things politics, but mostly at the provincial level. Anyway, I’m a long-time NDPer and my colleague was a long-time Liberal. We worked great together but differed on some key areas that promoted fun discussions.
    One day, the leader for the federal NDPs announced he had cancer. I was at the office when weeks later the news broke that he had died, and I was gutted. On the verge of a tearful outburst, I made my way to this little phone booth we had in the office hallway, and just let the tears flow. Out of nowhere I felt a big strong hug, and I just crumbled against her while she held me up. I realized in that moment she was actually listening to me when we talked politics and knew just how much his leadership meant to me. I really valued how attuned someone at work was to me and was there for me without a word.
    That’s certainly not anything I would have expected from a colleague. But I’m so glad we met!

    1. Sandi*

      I assume you mean Jack Layton, and I think all parties and Canadians valued and respected him. His loss is still so sad.

  282. Hannah*

    Emma was my first mentor at my first professional job. She taught me so many things and I was blessed to have her be so patient and supportive. In a time where I thought I was just a big imposter, she believed in me. Then it was time for Emma to retire and the plan was to shift me into her team lead position – I had been assisting her in everything and even directly handling portions of the work for the last couple of years but I needed a degree that I wasn’t quite finished with yet. Everybody in our immediate leadership was ok with letting that slide for the few months it would take me to finish but one person kicked up a fit – she wanted that higher level role and she’d report us to upper management if I was offered the position before I had the degree*.
    Emma was so incredibly ready to retire, had major plans waiting for her. But she blew me away – she hung in there until I finished my degree. That was my first step up the ladder and 6 years later, I’m progressing rapidly!

    *I have to say, she did have the degree over me but I had more experience and better relationships with the clients than she did.

  283. PunEnthusiast*

    There’s a popular donut place in Philadelphia called Federal Donuts (they’re awesome). On President’s Day this past year, two of our managers went out and bought several dozen assorted donuts, printed and individually cut out miniature portraits of the presidents, and taped them to toothpicks inserted into each donut. Because they were FEDERAL DONUTS. I don’t know which I appreciated more, the pun or the free breakfast.

  284. JC Books*

    Years ago I managed a bookstore. On Christmas Eve, I was yelled at by a customer because UPS did not deliver a box that had one of her Christmas gifts. I was embarrassed, exhausted and fighting back tears. One of my regular customers witnessed the scene. She came back a couple of hours later. She handed me homemade cinnamon rolls. She hugged me and told me to bake them on Christmas morning. I have never forgotten her kindness!

  285. Mayor of Llamatown*

    When I was in high school I had a part time job at a gift/home decor shop. The week before our holiday open house (one of the busiest times of year), I got incredibly sick – throwing up, fever, couldn’t get off the couch. I called in sick for my one weekend shift, and then spent the next five days on the couch recovering. I missed being in my senior fall play, had to make up all sorts of assignments – it was no fun.

    On Friday, just as I was starting to feel better, I got a call from the shift manager asking if I was coming in. I started crying over the phone. I hadn’t even picked up the new schedule and didn’t know I was scheduled to work. She was so incredibly kind about it, told me she would take care of it, and she wouldn’t tell our department manager (so it wouldn’t end up being a formal reprimand.)

    Back then I knew it was really nice, but now that I’m an adult and I know how big a no-call-no-show is, I’m still touched by how kind that manager was, and how far she went to make it okay for an overwhelmed 17 year old girl.

  286. SimplyAlissa*

    A few years back, I got the flu. I’m immuno-compromised so I have trouble fighting off everyday stuff. That year, I almost died, no joke. It was bad. Given that I was completely out of commission for over two months, I fully expected my clients to hire someone new when I went awol. But once they heard thru the grapevine that I was seriously ill, they held my contract open, got temp help while I was sick, and showered me with flowers & food deliveries.

    My current job status is that I’m no longer a consultant but have a “typical day job”, and it’s something where you’re usually not WFH. AND my boss is not a fan of work from home arrangements. But once we got settled into the new (necessary) routine, boss has been doing little things like ordering me lunch every few weeks. And office lunches were not A Thing when we were in the office full time, other than holidays. I’m just happy to be working safely from home, and being able to bring all the multiple big monitors home with me (instead of the tiny company issued laptop), and spend my days in comfy yoga pants while staying safely isolated…so I don’t need more. WFH is my happiness (as happy as one can be in the middle of an apocalypse, lol), but it’s still nice that he does extra little things to help create connections. It’s his way of saying “hey, you might be isolated, but you’re still the other half of our team”. Which I appreciate.

  287. Too Identifiable to Name*

    I was 31 when I found a slight dent in my chest. I told our lab manager that I was going to be out for a mammogram, but I thought it was just a cyst based on family history. She told her husband, a PA, who warned her that dents are usually bad news. They role played at home what would happen when I got the call. Sure enough, it was bad news. I ran into her office and she took the call, scheduled my appointments at the cancer center, etc. I had no idea she had spent two days getting ready for it, just in case.

    Later, a bunch of coworkers helped me move when I still wasn’t allowed to carry more than 5 lbs after surgery.

  288. JenC*

    A couple of years ago I broke my ankle at work. I got the usual cards and calls, but when I was able to return, on crutches, in the dead of winter, coworkers picked me up, brought me home, took me to and from pt, and even helped take my dog to daycare. They were all so good to me, and I hope to return the favor, though I really hope no one else goes through that. It sucked.

  289. Emily*

    18 years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer and had to have extensive surgery around Thanksgiving. My mother had just started as support staff at a very large law firm and mentioned in passing that my dad was bummed he couldn’t put up Christmas lights on the house like usual. The next weekend, a partner and his two sons showed up with boxes of lights and ladders and decked out the whole house. The firm was also extraordinarily supportive of my mom taking time off to send time at the hospital with dad. Unfortunately my dad died a few months later, but we still remember the kindness shown during that awful time.

  290. ELK*

    When my husband was in the final week of his life, after several years of me missing work to take him to therapy, doctor’s visits, and hospitalizations, my manager told our program director that she needed to help me any way possible. He gave her his full approval to do whatever was needed for me. (I didn’t know all this at the time.) The outcome was that she went with me to pick him up at the hospital the last time, and was with me for the hard conversation about hospice, and then stayed with me the next three days from morning to night. She brought me hot food, shopped for groceries, fed my animals, and helped me manage my husband’s very complicated medications. She stayed quiet when I just wanted to sit and hold his hand; she talked with me when I needed conversation, and she helped communicate with the hospice staff when I simply could not. When he died at almost midnight, she was the first person I called, and although she’d left my home only a few hours before, she got right back up and came straight over, and stayed with me while the hospice nurse came and didn’t leave until after the funeral director took my husband’s body. She came with me the next day to the funeral home to make the arrangements, and helped me with all those decisions that you don’t anticipate. I could barely function but she was careful to make sure I felt supported, not commanded, in every possible way. To this day I can’t possibly imagine a more incredibly supportive thing for a work friend to do, and she did it all on her own time. With the support of our director, she gave me the most loving gift anyone could possibly give.

  291. Mary*

    When I got married, eloping in the week between when he left boot camp and flew out to his first deployment, my office took up a collection and sent us for a short honeymoon. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but we were young and broke, and it was a beautiful hotel for the weekend with tickets to a local museum and and a wonderful dinner. My office manager arranged the whole thing. The sheer thoughtfulness of it was so perfect.

    1. Mary*

      Also, three years ago I needed to get a pacemaker/defibrillator implant, suddenly. With three days notice my husband’s department organized meals and gave us a gift card that covered groceries for a solid month while I was out of work. I owe those ladies so much for that gesture… maybe part of it is that they’re all mothers and grandmothers, and know how hard it can be to get sudden medical issues.

  292. Tizzy*

    My story is similar:

    I broke a few bones, was told by the surgeon not to drive until further notice, and had physical therapy appointments twice a week. My husband and I carpooled to and from work every day, but my physical therapy appointments were in the middle of our workday and he wasn’t available to drive me to those. This was before ride sharing apps were available, and public transportation options near me were terrible.

    I came back to work after the first appointment and was looking at a printed calendar of all my appointments for the next 2 months. A co-worker who was seated next to me looked over my shoulder at the page and said, “Oh, is that a sign-up sheet to drive you to physical therapy? I’ll take next week!” My team at work ended up setting up a rotation so all of my rides to PT were covered.

    1. BadWolf*

      I love it! Whether the coworker really thought it was a sign up sheet or invented the idea so they could help you out, it is kind either way!

    2. blink14*

      I love this! I had major ankle surgery about 4 months into my current job, and my boss was great about all the time off and allowing me to come in an hour late 2-3 times a week for months of early morning PT appointments, without logging sick time – all of my time had gone to the weeks off for recovery. Our department at the time was just her and I, and this was all she could do for me, but I was so grateful, especially it being a new job.

      Once I returned to work, my co-workers in our shared space were very helpful, and I think had I been there longer, I would’ve felt more comfortable opening up about the things I needed help with outside of work, but it just really never occurred to me that people would be that level of helpful! Fortunately I had been able to stay with my family until I could drive short distances, and I had extended family near where I lived that would help me with errands and check on me.

  293. Twill*

    I had no idea how badly I needed this, on this day, at this time, in this year. Every story has touched my heart and reminded me there are a lot of good, decent people in the world. Group hug!!!

  294. Mint*

    (((self-harm trigger warning)))

    I was in a low-level admin job at a hospital and hadn’t told anyone I worked with that my mental health gets kind of rough once in a while. When I’d been there about six months, things tanked one particular weekend. I self-harmed, took myself up to the hospital, and was admitted for surgery. On the Monday morning I called the department manager to say I wouldn’t be in. All I had to tell him was that I was in hospital because I’d hurt myself. He did all the right manager things – told me not to worry, figured out cover (not easy), stayed in touch over the next couple of days and kept telling me that if there was anything at all he could do to let him know.

    I did ask him for one thing: the ward I was on had run out of toothbrushes and my mouth was feeling pretty manky. I asked whether he would be able to bring me one. Less than five minutes later he appeared at the end of my bed holding about five toothbrushes that he’d nabbed from another ward and telling me that if I wanted a different kind he would go and get one.

    The whole thing was clearly a shock to him, from getting the phone call to seeing me there on the ward in a hospital gown with a cannula in, but that didn’t stop him being completely empathetic and supportive and respectful the entire time. I was discharged a couple of days later and was back at work at the end of the week. I’m in a different role in a different department now, but we still meet up for coffee sometimes. He consistently makes it clear how highly he thinks of me and that he will always have my back, and he’s never let what he knows colour how he sees me in any way.

  295. Not Passed Over*

    Last year, my office threw a baby shower for one of my colleagues that happened to fall the week after Passover (an eight-day-long Jewish holiday that includes a prohibition against eating leavened bread, which is broadly interpreted to exclude pretty much anything made with grain). The person organizing the shower mixed up the dates, though, and thought Passover would still be in progress. Usually non-Jewish event organizers don’t even consider kosher-for-Passover food options for light refreshments, or at most they provide a box of matzah (a sort of cracker made of flour and water). This time though, the organizer went out and bought a box of kosher-for-Passover cookies, which would have been a good replacement for the delicious cupcakes that everyone else was eating! It ended up being moot, since it wasn’t actually still Passover, but I was so grateful for the thought.

    I’ve long since become resigned to missing out on sweet treats during the holiday, though I’m always quietly bitter about it (shout out to my second grade classmate who brought in cookies to share on their birthday that I couldn’t eat!) This was the first time someone actually bothered finding an appropriate alternative. I nearly cried.

    1. Diatryma*

      I’m quite annoyed that people don’t generally consider this, though in my case it’s because I have hosted a smallish convention party where all the food is vegan, gluten-free, or both. It’s not that hard to get salted chocolate caramels!

  296. sweet coworkers*

    I thought this was very sweet… my partner and I broke up on a Friday night and on Monday morning I came into the office. ‘How was your weekend?’, my colleague asked, and I told her my news – she immediately burst into tears. Five minutes later our boss came in and asked me, I told her, and she burst into tears too. She then got me a lovely card with a movie ticket voucher so that I could take myself to the movies near our work.

  297. OrigCassandra*

    I have many professional opinions and I’m not shy about sharing them. At Toxic Ex-Job, this got me called on the carpet and very nearly fired. (Academia isn’t an industry where firing happens often, just to give you the flavor.)

    Early on in my current position, I wrote an op-ed for a trade publication that caused the campus CIO to ask for a meeting with me, as the position I had taken was diametrically opposed to his. I immediately went to my department chair and explained what was going on, showing her the op-ed and the email, fully expecting a dressing-down.

    She just… looked at me. “We didn’t hire you to be quiet,” she said. It had been so long since anyone had affirmed anything I’d said that I almost cried.

    (I replied promptly to the CIO, saying I’d be happy to meet with him. The meeting somehow never got set up on his end. He was gone the next year anyway, for wholly unrelated reasons.)

  298. Former Usher*

    About a decade ago, I was in a meeting with some VPs and directors. I was the technical expert, but couldn’t get a word in. One of the VPs broke in and said, “Let’s hear what Former Usher” has to say. Folks, he is the VP in charge of my department at the new job that I start in a few weeks!

  299. JennyP*

    In these very stressful teaching times, I have breakfast duty (in a cafeteria full of unmasked kids eating) having to argue about which seats the kids are allowed to sit in. ‍♀️ I always get there early. I’m always the first to show up. My AP noticed and put a thank you card in my box. I didn’t know I needed it, but it’s nice to be seen.

  300. Teapotcleaner*

    A man at my job works two full time jobs as a janitor. After our job he goes to the hospital across the street and he works the overnight shift back to back. He once pulled over on the parking lot of the beach to sleep and he got a ticket and a referral to a homeless shelter. He was very upset about getting a ticket written and an insensitive homeless shelter referral paper to accompany it. He felt offended that one can’t even pay a ticket if they are homeless so why write it. He has a home but he sleeps on his car while working the two jobs for his family. He came to me because I fill out his paperwork I’m also a cleaner but I know how to write and type on computers. Well he wanted me to dispute his parking ticket. I knew he would get denied if I tried to dispute it and the thought of paying the ticket would crush him and his purpose. Life would be too unfair for him as a hardworking person that he is so…..I secretly paid his parking ticket and I told him that he won the dispute. I felt that doing so would validate his hard work ethic and make him feel purposed. I would never tell anyone about this kind deed but he deserves the best. Short abbreviation: I paid my coworkers parking ticket.

      1. Teapotcleaner*

        Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad it worked out that he never suspected a thing. He felt really glad about ‘winning his dispute’. I continue to encourage him everyday at work as he has other hardships.

  301. the Viking Diva*

    My far-flung team is attending an online conference later this week, and I had snack boxes delivered to substitute for the conference lunches and drinks we won’t get to have while attending. I am enjoying the responses as they get delivered!

  302. Park Ranger*

    I used to be a park ranger in various places. Park rangers’ flat hats – aka Smokey Bear hats, as the public tends to call them – are very stupidly not very waterproof. I was warned that they’d disintegrate in rain. They come with these ridiculous plastic hat-shaped condoms that you can elastically wrangle over them in case of inclement weather, but during one season in Colorado, it started POURING and I’d left my hat sheath at home in park housing, due to the fact that we were in the desert in Colorado and it never rains. Park housing was half a mile down the road from the Visitor Center, so of course I always walked to work. I called my coworker – it was his day off, but he lived in park housing too – and asked, “Hey, so sorry to ask this on your day off, but any chance you can pick me up from the VC so my hat doesn’t melt?” His reply – “I’m actually already in the parking lot. I thought you might want a ride.” I peered out the window, and there he was.

  303. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

    Many, many decades ago I worked at “Big Insurance Company” as back office support. It was a very diverse team with young kids like myself using “BIC” to pay college tuition and old people (I was 19 so over 30 was old) working to support themselves.
    It was a cold snowy difficult Mid-Atlantic January day and while I was taking public transportation home, a co-worker from another department asked me for help. She was a 30ish Russian immigrant who was very naïve about big city US living. She drove to the subway station and failed at parallel parking in the snow. Her car was sticking out into the street, so she turned on her blinkers and went to work. Now, almost 10 hours later, she wanted help getting out of the parking spot.
    Of course, she had no shovel, her battery died and her husband was out of town working. Being a nice guy (shhh, don’t tell anybody) I had her take the bus home to my parents house, we warmed up a little and Mom made her comfortable and me and pop drove to the subway terminal to dig her out. By the time we were finished, the temperature was 20 degrees and pop and I were ice cubes.
    I wanted to go home and take a super hot shower, but mom insisted I drive her car and pop to follow so she didn’t have to drive home on the icy streets. (I thought people from Russia were used to this weather).
    I worked a Tuesday to Saturday shift and when I arrived at work Tuesday morning I was surprised with a company commendation, I handshake from the top company VP and a big a$$ hoagie from super expensive gourmet hoagie shop.

  304. BonzaSonza*

    I was once a young professional in the financial services industry, in a fairly conservative office.

    One very unfortunate day I got my menstrual period unexpectedly. It came fast and heavy, and within minutes it was all over my light business slacks and the chair seat was ruined.

    I was deeply embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. I was afraid of getting out of my chair, didn’t have sanitary supplies on my person, and didn’t want to go walking in the office or in public with a literal red target on my butt screaming for attention.

    Somehow, a sales manager in the office figured out what was going on. She called me into her office to do some “urgent work” for her (bring your own chair!), gave me supplies, then went downtown and BOUGHT ME NEW PANTS. She even guessed my size correctly.

    Once I’d gotten changed and was feeling a bit better she reported to facilities that her chair was broken and needed a replacement, gave me hers, then wheeled my stained chair down to the basement to disappear with all the other abandoned supplies.

    She then waltzed on out the door to her next appointment, and behaved like the whole situation had never happened.

    If you ever read this Shaz, you’re still my hero. Thank you

  305. Lore*

    I had a small medical emergency earlier this year that meant I had to leave work and go to the ER. (One of those “call your doctor to see what to do and they call back and tell you to go to the ER just to be safe” sorts of things.) I got the call on my way into a meeting so I just grabbed the first person I saw who was also headed to that meeting and told her I was leaving. She went to the meeting, found the colleague there to whom I was closest, sent her to come with me, and then my colleague stayed with me at the ER until my partner could get there (almost 2 hours because he works at the other end of town). Then, when as the end result of that situation I needed surgery that meant I was out on medical leave the week the office flipped to remote for the pandemic, my same coworker (while also trying to get herself and her five direct reports set up to WFH) ransacked my cubicle for anything I might possibly need to refer to when I got back, packed it into the world’s largest box, and messengered it all to me so I would have some hope of catching up two weeks later.

  306. Elizabeth West*

    Once upon a time in my very early twenties, I moved to another state and found a job working in a mall for a pittance. My roommates did drugs all the time—not my thing; one of them was even dealing—and the landlord was an abusive ass. I couldn’t find a better paying job to get away from them. After paying rent, I often didn’t have anything to eat (to this day I get anxious when groceries are running low). It was just a crap situation all around.

    A coworker noticed and she started very low-key bringing me lunch—a brown bag with a sandwich and an apple. Soon after that I ended up leaving both the job and the state. I can’t really remember her name, but I will always remember how kind she was.

    1. Teapotcleaner*

      Great coworker, food insecurity is real and it can be embarrassing if it is detected as mentioned. Your coworker did a good deed by playing it off nicely. I am so glad you were able to improve your situation.

  307. Turquoisecow*

    I work part time remotely (even before Covid) so I don’t feel really connected to many of my coworkers. I worked with some of them at a previous company but many of them I don’t know very well. My boss and I are on a kind of independent team, so I don’t have much occasion to interact with many of them.

    I had a baby two months ago and was absolutely floored to get a package from the company with baby clothes of various sizes. I texted my boss to say thanks and ask him to pass along my thanks to the rest of the company, and he told me there was more coming! It was probably the new mom hormones but I was pretty much crying at how generous they were.

    A few weeks later I got another package, this one from my immediate department (a few of whom I’ve known from the old company) of even more baby clothes.

  308. I Herd the Cats*

    This is kind of small potatoes compared to some of the other amazing comments, but: a woman I worked with (this was pre-COVID, a couple of years ago) had a vacation home in Maine, we’re in the DC area. She and I were friendly but not super close. We both loved to bake and cook, and I mentioned to her how much I loved Maine wild blueberries and how bummed I was when I visited Maine the year before and they hadn’t been ripe yet. (And I know you can get wild blueberries frozen, but it’s just not the same.) She was gone a couple of weeks to Maine on her vacation. One morning I woke up to a text: as she drove back from Maine she passed our house at about 5am and left a couple quarts in a cooler on the porch, she didn’t want to wake me up. Fresh blueberries, all the way from Maine, from a woman who didn’t owe me anything.

  309. coldbrewraktajino*

    My company has been big on mental health this year: we’ve gotten two company-wide mental health days, there have been regular reminders about resources available, and someone hosts a weekly meditation. For years we have also had surprisingly good mental health coverage: no-copay, pre-deductible, NO network restrictions. (Unfortunately, this is barely advertised and so I had been picking the plan that didn’t have this coverage until 2020.) This year our insurance is changing. The only change in coverage is a new requirement of in-network on our mental health coverage.

    BUT! They changed their mind! I just got this email today from the benefits manager: We were going to change that in 2021 to move it to an in-network benefit only. But after further discussion – now is not the right time to do this. So we’ve made a decision to keep things the way they are today.

    I know this is more bureaucratic than might be considered “kindness.” Still, this shows empathy and, yes, kindness on the part of a whole panel of higher-ups.

  310. germank106*

    Almost three years ago my Husband got quite ill. He needed lots of help throughout the day and the Nurse and Home Health Care workers were not able to cover all his needs. After using up all my FMLA and all of my vacation (a generous 30 days) I made the decision to hand in my notice. Instead of accepting my notice the company I worked for “collected” vacation days from my co-workers and the factory workers in the plant. Just about everyone gave up one of their vacation days. I was able to stay home for almost 8 months at my full rate of pay with all Benefits at no extra cost. I was then able to cut back to part time and work from home a lot.
    Unfortunately I ended up quitting when my husband was put on hospice, but this awesome group of people is the reason why I stayed with that Company for almost 15 years.

  311. Mr. T*

    I was working on a software project with a colleague and all I could see was the errors, glitches, and funky things that went wrong with it, all of which was my domain. They bought me a bottle of whiskey to thank me, and it was only then that I realized, Oh maybe I don’t totally stink at this. It was good whiskey too.

  312. ScampiForever*

    Last year, I went home sick the day before our office holiday cookie swap. My boss knew that I was excited about making snickerdoodles so she made a dozen for me so that I could still participate! I ended up still making my own cookies and bringing them to participate, but it was the loveliest gesture.

  313. CDel*

    Back in June, when the pandemic situation was already seeming like it had gone on forever, my team lead handmade everyone on the team cards that had inside jokes or personalized elements on the outside. Inside the cards were words of encouragement and compliments about what she liked best about working with us. It was so thoughtful and kind, and clearly took a lot of her personal time, which made it even more of a generous gesture. She’s the best boss I’ve ever had, and the new COVID working world would be way worse without her!

  314. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

    I’ve got a few from my own work, but my sister’s office has been especially lovely this year, so I’ll share some of her stories.
    Early this year she was discussing timesheets with one of her coworkers. When he found out what she was making he decided it was not enough for everything she did and lobbied for her to get a raise- which she did.
    Another one of her coworkers learned she was interested in getting her doctorate and set up a meeting with one of his contacts in the program she was looking at.
    They’re also really great in everyday ways- making sure to tell her they appreciate work she does and things like that.
    She is so much happier than she was at her last (very toxic) job and I credit alot of that to her very nice coworkers.

  315. Anon just because*

    Not long after my new supervisor started, I was diagnosed with cancer. Since he was new I wasn’t sure how he was going to react. He was very helpful setting up disability etc. When I came back after 6 months on disability, he asked how I was doing and if there was anything he could do to help. I explained that I still had lots of follow up appointments and treatments but I will work to cover the time or request leave without pay, since I had no leave. Though we have a really good leave policy, the Company required me to use all my leave before disability kicks in, which sucked just for this reason. He said not to worry, he would “keep it in the family”
    So the first month passes and I submit my leave without pay form for the days I missed. I got a notice that the form had been canceled, so I went in to talk to my manager about it. He said he had canceled the request because we were “keeping it in the family”
    He turned it down for over five months until I could build up my leave bank again. He also sent me home early several times, when he thought I didn’t look well and he has never mentioned the napping at my desk during the week after chemo, when sometimes my body just shuts down.
    My annual review was fabulous and he put me in for a pay step increase. I could not have asked for better support

  316. AMC*

    The president of my large company takes time to hand write thank you notes to employees that go above and beyond. I just got one last week and it made my day.

  317. Office Chinchilla*

    My boss had a really bad day, about a year ago. Screaming phone call with outside counsel (they were screaming), hanging up the phone in protest (boss did this), the whole bit. And his immediate response was to go to the grocery store across the street and get ice cream and toppings and throw an impromptu ice cream party for the office. That’s when I knew I had made the correct decision working here.

  318. mlk*

    It’s not quite kindness, but definitely above-and-beyond.

    I was sitting in my work’s cafe with my previous supervisor (I took over a part of his job) and another colleague. The previous supervisor was sitting across from me. I was breaking up a white dinner roll and eating the pieces. I suddenly realized that I was choking. I put my hands on my throat and looked at him. He immediately jumped up and ran around behind me. I’d also gotten up and he performed the Heimlich maneuver on me. Roll popped out along with some lunch and I was fine.

    It turned out that he’d never had first aid or other training but had seen or read about it somewhere.

    Later, I found that my problems with choking (I did it again at a Thanksgiving while eating gummy mashed potatoes–my mom-the-doctor helped me that time) was due to a hiatal hernia and some scarring in my esophagus from GERD (heartburn). All fixed now!

  319. Llama face!*

    I love reading these all. It is very encouraging! Here’s mine:

    Not my own story but a relative of mine has a fantastic employer. Some of the things they’ve done include giving her a raise in the months before she went on maternity leave so the payout would end up higher, making her job partially WFH & flexing her hours when she came back to accomodate her child care (in a customer facing job no less), and letting her bring her very young (but mobile) child to work when she was temporarily stuck without childcare.

    For myself, I was once in a very bad residence situation with little money and no local family. My boss let me move into her basement for about a month while I figured out another place to stay. Possibly a boundary problem (that workplace was actually a gong show for many reasons) but it saved me from temporarily ending up homeless.

    In another workplace, my parent had been suddenly admitted into hospital for life-threatening reasons and one coworker who I was friendly but not friends with gave me her personal number and offered to make meals for my family and drive me places if I needed a ride (I had no car). I never needed to take her up on the offer since my family had a surplus of friend and community support but it was so kind of her to offer. My parent did survive, thankfully.

  320. Katie*

    I had to go into work to gather up my stuff and prepare for a time away after my brother got into a motorcycle accident and was in a coma. One of my work friends insisted on coming with me to gather up my stuff and tell my boss what had happened. It still means a lot that she insisted on coming with me.

  321. Gela*

    It’s a small thing, but I’ve been having a rough year at work. A couple of months ago I came in to find a card with a very encouraging note inside. It wasn’t signed and I didn’t recognize the handwriting, but it really lifted my mood.

  322. Harriet Vane*

    20 years ago, my SIL was pregnant and learned she was ill with cancer. My brother’s company hired a nanny for the first year of the baby’s life. My SIL’s company held a bake sale that raised $30,000 to help with expenses.
    The baby is a healthy 19 year old, but we lost my SIL.
    The generosity of people during that time was humbling, and has been a true example for how I treat others.

  323. More Coffee Please*

    Many come to mind, but I’ll stick with 2. I’ve been lucky to work with some great people over the years.
    1) My first post-graduation job involved moving to a new company location (different states, sometimes different countries) every 6 months. It was a great opportunity but logistically difficult. When I got to my first placement, I didn’t have any household items and was a little stressed out about having to buy a bunch of stuff, then move it in 6 months. A coworker boxed up some random extra items she had (plates, bowls, cups, a broom, a shower mat, etc.) to lend me for 6 months. It was a small gesture but meant so much early in my career and made my life significantly easier.

    2) When I had a work placement in Europe as part of the same program (moving every 6 months), the small company I was placed with went to great efforts to make sure I felt included. They helped me find an apartment ahead of time and even stocked the fridge for me. They took me out on a few weekend day trips, like to go hiking or try traditional restaurants. One of the VPs even let me borrow his car while he was on vacation for 2 weeks and wouldn’t need it. I was only with them a short time, but they were just so wonderful. About 2 years later, when I left the parent company to move onto another opportunity, I emailed to let them know. The CEO wrote back to tell me that I always had true friends on the other side of the Atlantic. I was so touched; I’m never getting rid of that email.

  324. Anna NotherThing*

    While 95% of my company’s workforce is working from home I changed departments. Usually the department I left would have a potluck or mark the change in some special way but since we’re all at home that wasn’t possible so my former team lead bough (take out) dinner for me and my spouse. It was delicious and, as an introvert, the kind of spend-off I prefer.

  325. TX Lizard*

    My first year out of school I moved to Houston for work. We got stuck in the building during Imelda when the city flooded (like knee deep in the parking lot, with a high water rescue happening on the road to the building). I had never experienced flooding and drive a tiny, low to the ground car. My boss was so kind and helped me stay calm about it. When I finally was able to leave he offered to rescue me in his truck if the roads near my house were still flooded, and texted me to make sure I made it.

  326. Lisa*

    I work as a relief teacher and one of the hardest parts is that I go in and do my best, but it gets overlooked.
    One day, I had a known bad class in a otherwise good school. I had given them this fun activity (scavenger hunt) to do on the way to dropping them off to music class.
    At lunch time, the music teacher came up to me and told me how well behaved the class was and how much she appreciated it. She noted that relief teachers don’t get a lot of appreciation and wanted to make sure I knew.
    It made me smile for weeks afterwards.

  327. SlightlyStoopid*

    I have a coworker who ends every meeting with me telling me how highly she think of me, and how much she appreciates all the things I do. With a boss who doesn’t see any of the contributions I make, some days it’s the only reason I don’t just quit!

  328. Rara Avis*

    The weekend before I started a new teaching job, my colleague and his wife invited me to dinner and said, “Call if you need anything.” I was commuting by bike and train, and got a flat tire (puncture weed) on day 2 of new teacher training. My colleague lived nearby, so I called him. (Woke him up, since returning teachers were still on vacation.). Not only did he give me a ride to work, but he fixed my tire. Only the first of many kindnesses, including the year he graded all of my exams when I missed the last week of school due to emergency surgery.

    1. Rara Avis*

      I actually had two surgeries that summer, the second of which resulted in a 9-day stay in the ICU. The new school year started 4 weeks into my recovery. We spent the first day of meetings sitting in really uncomfortable folding chairs. During a midafternoon break, the intimidating head of school saw me sitting in the office lobby. I must have looked terrible, because she said, “Go home! The world is not going to end if you miss these meetings.”

  329. Beezus*

    I broke my foot in college and worked at the library. The college is built into a partially filled ravine so is very hilly. And my coworkers who drove in to work would always go out of the way to insist that one of them drop me off at my apartment if the few with a car that parked on campus got off their shift the same time I did or if they were being dropped off when I got off work. It was just really nice to have them give a shit. I loved that job.

  330. Janis Mayhem*

    Actual conversation many many years ago at my first office job:
    Boss: What are you doing here?
    Me: Working…?
    Boss: You’re getting married in two days. Go home.
    Me: The mail hasn’t come in yet (that was one of my responsibilities).
    Boss: Okay. But as soon as the mail is done, go home. And if you’re still here after 2:00, I’m going to fire you and rehire you after your honeymoon.

  331. Veronica Mars*

    Not looking for kudos.
    Years ago, I worked at a Casino in their accounting department. Part of our duties was counting the table games money (soft-count) this was done daily even on Christmas day. I was a senior employee so received Christmas off. Since, I was single with no kids, I would always volunteer to work on Christmas so that a parent could stay home with their family.

  332. Office Cat*

    I had to lay off three people — my entire staff. I was devastated, and barely held it together while I had the meetings with them. The chief engineer, a gruff man of few words, took me into his office, let me cry, and handed me Kleenex. It was one of the kindest things anyone ever did for me.

  333. LoneWanderer*

    Two of my managers at work wrote me letters of recommendation for grad school. This isn’t a degree that will benefit work in any way so they did this for me out of kindness and I’m very grateful for it.

  334. dodubln*

    I am the office manager for a private medical practice. I have been there since 1996. My boss, who is the owner of the practice, has become a mentor/best friend/second mom to me over the years. She has done so many incredibly wonderful things for me over the last 24 years, but one in particular literally changed everything. In 2004, I got married, and both my husband and I had debt from our previous marriages. We decided to try and get a loan from the bank my boss used for the practice (the bank president was an old friend of my boss, and godfather to one of her children), so that we could pay off our credit cards , and consolidate everything into one loan/payment at a much lower interest rate. I am talking about a $15,000 loan…so not crazy, but still a chunk of change. Because my husband had a bankruptcy on record that he wasn’t quite clear of, we needed a co-signer. The only person we could use was my mom, and because she was retired on Social Security, our loan application was rejected. Yet, even before my husband and I found that out, the president of the bank called my boss, said we needed a co-signer, and she immediately agreed to co-sign the loan. Due to the relationship between me, my boss, and the bank president (who was also a patient that I knew well), he knew I/my husband would not have any problem with him reaching out to my boss about this, even though we didn’t know he did so until after the fact. Not the usual situation in terms of privacy, but completely fine in THIS situation. We got the loan, we paid it off early. The direct result of my boss co-signing that loan made it possible for us to buy our house in 2010, as well as two cars, as our older cars died. Today, we are debt free other than our mortgage, because of my boss co-signing that loan, as well as her extremely generous bonuses to me every year. I truly think I have the best boss ever, and we think of ourselves as family, and always will be.