Earlier this year we decided to run a little experiment. We were a little tired of hearing all the bad news and sadness happening in the world and reached out to our Intrepid family on Facebook to cheer us up. And boy, you guys did not disappoint.
We were so overwhelmed by the incredible stories of generosity and kindness you’ve experienced on the road that we just had to share it. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of stories from you, our readers, hoping to spread more smiles and happiness across this vast thing called the Internet. Enjoy!
Coke bottles full of kindness
I was at a homestay during an Intrepid trip in Peru. The gorgeous people who owned the house spoke no English and very little Spanish, but they were so unbelievably kind. That night it was bitterly cold and when we all went to bed the grandmother came around to each of us with a plastic Coke bottle filled with hot water she had boiled in the outdoor kitchen. She put them right at our feet…It was the simplest yet sweetest thing to do for us and it kept me warm all night!! – Kristie Neale
A night of generosity in Turkey
My friend and I were broke in Turkey and had been surviving on bread from the supermarket. On our last night we wanted to buy our dinner at a restaurant near our hotel because the staff were always friendly to us on our way past. We read the menu outside and realized we didn’t have enough money to eat there. We were going to try somewhere else when a man, who it turned out owned the restaurant, insisted we stay and he would only charge us what we could afford. We tried to politely refuse as we had hardly any money but he insisted. We got him to choose two dishes as we didn’t want to take advantage, and he ended up sitting with us, telling us his story and ordering food and wine for us. It was such a lovely night and we were so grateful. – Stace Will
A helping hand at the right time
I was hiking the overland track in Tasmania on my own in April 2014. I was two days in and, being a man with mild cerebral palsy, it was quite a challenge. A walking group happened to pass me during a particularly difficult climb. They saw that I was struggling and one of the members gave me one of his walking poles. I still have the pole today and use it regularly when I go hiking. The right help came at the right time and I will always be grateful for his kindness. – Nick Griffin
The very patient driver
After a long day of sightseeing in Bali with a private driver, we were dropped back at our hotel and went to our room to freshen up for dinner. When we came back downstairs a couple of hours later, our driver was sitting in the lobby. He was holding in his lap our very expensive camera (worth about five times the minimum monthly wage in Bali), which we hadn’t even realized we’d left behind in the car. He didn’t know our room number or our last names, so he had no way of asking the hotel desk to contact us. Instead, he just sat in the lobby after a very long workday, hoping he might see us pass through so he could return it to us. – Tammy Burns
An unforgettable hike
I had what I euphemistically call an ‘accidental adventure’ in the Grand Canyon – an unexpected 11h 20m hike when I walked way too far (having missed a marker at a busy spot). I was almost entirely out of water when I realised how far I still had ahead of me. I had two panic attacks (the first in my life) in quick succession. Some total strangers on the trail freely gave me their own water and energy drinks, sat with me and walked and talked with me. It’s this incredible kindness that I’ll never forget! – Jennifer Frame
The imaginary tea party
I was in Vang Vieng, Laos, when a sweet little local girl walked up to me. We couldn’t speak a single word of each other’s languages, but proceeded to have the most fun tea party ever. Just the two of us. We walked around gathering snippets of this and pinches of that to mix in our tea, and had the best time making each other laugh. When we parted ways we both kept looking back at each other because we were both fascinated by the time we spent together. I can still picture her now. – Nicole Arbuckle
Playing ball in Tanzania
I was in Tanzania with my family in June. We’d been to the nearest town to buy some footballs to give to the local children we met. Just as we were putting them in our jeep, a little boy walked by with a football made from plastic bags and rubber bands. I will never forget the look on his face when we gave him his new shiny new leather football – Paul Furner
The free travel advice
I was in San Jose, Costa Rica, and was just starting my trip with some sightseeing in the city centre. The jet lag had obviously fogged my brain and I didn’t pay attention to how I was wearing my bag, which was slung around to my back. I was frightened when a lady grabbed my arm, hauled my bag around to my front, and wagged her finger in my face. I then realized she was reminding me to use sensible traveller caution. She probably saved me from a sad start to the trip. – Paula Dyke
The Indian farmer and his blanket
A poor farmer offered to give me his only blanket on a cold bus ride in India, just because I couldn’t be bothered opening my rucksack tucked into a rack above us. It was a moment of generosity I have never forgotten. – Aritra Ray
A generous bus buddy
I was traveling in China and had to change trains while transferring from the North to the South train station in a bigger city. I had no idea where the right bus stop was so I started to ask people who were waiting at the bus station. It can get very difficult in China to find someone who at least understands a few words in English, or my rudimentary Chinese. Finally one young man tried to help me. He first called his friend to find out where the stop was, took me there and got on the bus with me. I realised later that he didn’t need to take the same bus as me and that he spent over an hour of his day just to make sure I reached my connecting train. – Christine Pfeifer
South Africa’s budding tour guides
We asked for a taxi to take us to a fabric shop in Cape Town. It turned out that part of town had a bad reputation and the taxi driver refused to wait for us. We took our time at the shop and then wandered back towards our hotel. Two men saw us and suddenly jumped up from the building they were leaning against, yelling “Nelson Mandela! Nelson Mandela!!” We smiled and kept walking. We had no idea what they were on about. The next day on a tour of the city we realised they’d been sitting on a plaque indicating the balcony above them was where Nelson Mandela made his first speech when he got out of prison. These guys had seen we were tourists and were trying to make sure we were seeing the sights. – Pippa Bethany.
Paying it forward in Taiwan
I was travelling alone in Chiayi, Taiwan, over my Christmas holidays. I was at a restaurant on Christmas Eve when this random woman noticed I was not from around there and started chatting with me. She ended up paying for my dinner. When I said she didn’t have to, she said that when she was traveling there were so many people who were kind to her, so this was her way of repaying the favor. It was so sweet! – Jody Buhay
The passionate conservationists
I was on the Intrepid Gorillas and Game Parks overland trip through Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Several of the local porters joined our little entourage even though we had not booked or paid for them. I’m so lucky they decided to come along! I couldn’t have got up the steep and muddy slopes to where the gorillas were without their help! They literally pulled me up when I was struggling with the heat and the incline. They were encouraging and smiling the whole way through. No amount of tipping would show my level of thanks! Extraordinary people who really care for the conservation of these amazing creatures. – Allison Hathaway
A gentle hitchhiker in Jordan
We rented a car in Jordan and chose not to get a GPS. We got very lost on our way to Petra. There was an older gentlemen standing on the road looking for a ride so we stopped and tried to ask for directions. He didn’t speak any English and neither my husband nor I knew Arabic. We were able to make out Petra and he hopped in the back seat of our car and drove with us until we were close enough to make it on our own. We were able to figure out he was quite far from where he was trying to go but he refused to let us take him closer. He was so sweet. He saw the water bottles we had in the car and motioned with his hands for one. We gave him the bottle and some cookies as well. It was awesome. – Debi McGrath
You feel those warm fuzzies too? This is only a snapshot of just how generous and kind the world can be. Discover it for yourself on one of our small-group adventures.
We’d love to hear more about your small moments of unexpected kindness on the road. Tell us about them in the comments below!
Note: Comments have been edited for clarity and length.