Not all superheroes wear capes. But there are plenty of real-life heroes around the world that swoop in to save the day in the most unexpected ways. Although the media can be an avalanche of bad news, there are plenty of heartwarming stories and selfless acts of kindness that go unnoticed every single day.
These awe-inspiring acts often come from the unlikeliest places and often don’t get the recognition they deserve. So, we’ve compiled a list of the most inspirational tales and magical moments the world has ever witnessed. Some may even surprise you, some might warm your heart, and others might just help restore your faith in humanity.
The Blind Pug with a Can-do Attitude
When this cute pug named Xander lost his eyesight as a puppy and was left in a shelter by his former owner, he didn’t lose hope. Actually, he may be one of the most positive pups in the world. After all his challenges, he was later rescued by some kind new owners, who saw something special in him and gave him a forever home.
After Xander had his own happy ending, he continued to win everyone over with his charming and loveable personality. Since he managed to brighten the day of almost everyone he encountered, he was then trained as a therapy dog. Now Xander spends his days at a local hospital and provides comfort for old and young people and animals in need. He also became a viral sensation and continues to inspire millions on social media.
A Superhero Smile
These adorable children staying at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama received the surprise of their lives when a group of compassionate superheroes suddenly descended from the skies. Understandably, the children were blown away when they gazed outside. They were greeted by superheroes suspended from ropes outside the hospital building.
These smiling superheroes were not there to fight off evil villains. They dressed up as characters to help brighten up the day of every single child staying at the hospital, each facing their own personal struggles. They even took the time to stop at every floor, to give them high fives, flex their muscles, and make sure every patient smiled from ear to ear.
A Tear-Filled Father-Daughter Dance
The traditional father and daughter dance at any wedding can be pretty emotional. However, this sentimental dance brought every single wedding guest to tears. That’s because no one thought that dance would be possible. You see, Bruce Walton is an ex NFL player and radio station owner, and in 2017 his health deteriorated. After some time, he recovered but sadly lost his hearing. Still, he never lost his positive outlook on life.
When Bruce’s daughter Harmony got married, he didn’t want to break with tradition. So he invited her to dance to the classic song “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Although he couldn’t hear the melody, Harmony mouthed the words to him. Soon enough, they both danced in perfect harmony. After getting lost in the moment, they stopped to gaze around. Incredibly, and there wasn’t one dry eye in the room.
One Legendary Selfie
Although there may be tensions between North and South Korea, these budding young athletes demonstrated to the world that friendship can transcend borders and global conflicts. In the most millennial way possible, this iconic selfie was taken during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It sent shockwaves around the world for numerous reasons.
Most people might have expected the two young gymnastics from North and South Korea to steer well clear from each other at the games. However, these athletes had other ideas. They took the opportunity to make a powerful statement. That selfie became iconic and captured the spirit of the Olympics. It also became a symbol of hope for the future generation.
A Surprise Reunion
After this brave Army service member, Stephen Boissey was deployed on a mission abroad and had no idea how long he would be away. Being apart from his wife and missing every milestone with his children took a toll on everyone. After a long year of separation, thankfully, Stephen was finally released from his mission.
However, Stephen’s kids were away at camp, and he wanted to find a way to make his reunion even more memorable. The camp then organized a show and Stephen jumped out of a large box, giving his kids the surprise of their lives. What followed was a dramatic reunion. As his daughter leaped into his arms to embrace him, you can see these are tears of pure love and joy.
A Muppet Ray of Hope
In another smile-inducing story of hope, these children also received some unexpected furry visitors one day at their children’s hospital in New Jersey. Since life can seem a little gloomy inside of a hospital, any little ray of hope can go a long way. Still, these were no ordinary hospital visitors.
The children received a surprise visit from the nations most beloved Sesame Street characters, the real-life Elmo and Grover. It was all made possible by the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and Elmo and Grover rocked up to the hospital in character to entertain everyone’s day. While the furry muppets boosted the children’s spirits, they also help teach them some arts, crafts and sings some catchy songs too.
In times of natural disasters, it’s easy to lose hope. Still, sometimes real-life heroes can emerge from impossible situations. In the aftermath of a hurricane, when one defenseless pup was left stranded in the floodwaters, these selfless volunteers went beyond the call of duty.
These brave heroes thought of the most creative way to save the vulnerable dog from being left behind. They used their resources to create a makeshift boat and scooped the pup inside. After this, they then offered the lucky canine a free ride through the floodwaters and ensured it reached dry land again.
A VIP Fan
Although this might look like an ordinary encounter between a fan and a superstar basketballer, it soon escalated to the next level of awesome. When this young fan Lily met her idol, Giannis Antetokounmpo who just might be one of the best basketballers in the world, she handed him a jersey to sign. While he happily signed it for her, she then pulled out another special present.
Incredibly, Lily had been saving a folder of artwork for around 18 months, to give it specifically to her idol. As he opened the folder and checked out her masterpiece, he uttered, “Thank you so much. This is amazing. You did all this?” As she wiped away the tears from her eyes, the star embraced her and gave her a giant hug. The whole room was bawling, and earning the respect of her favorite athlete was a moment she’ll never forget.
An Unlikely Twist of Fate
This yoga-instructor Sarah Darling had a chance encounter with an impoverished man on the streets, Billy Ray. She was touched by his situation and decided to donate some money to him. Little did she realize that when she dropped the change into his cup, she also deposited something far more valuable inside by mistake.
She later realized that her diamond engagement ring accidentally fell in too. Unbelievably, when she returned to the same spot the next day, the man had saved it for her and graciously handed over the ring. Inspired by his selfless act, she launched a go-fund-me campaign for him, which raised a life-changing $190,000. This cash then helped him get his life back on track, buy a house, a car, and eventually reunite with his long-lost family.
A Worthy Makeover
As most women will testify, nothing beats being pampered every once and a while. However, for most homeless women, they can’t often afford the luxury of a makeover, let alone a manicure. That’s why the Fred Jordan Mission of Los Angeles wanted to shake things up.
The foundation hosts a series of pampering events, with volunteer hairstylists, manicurists, and estheticians. They then invite homeless women and underprivileged children to their full-day events and treat them to personal care supplies, free makeovers, and tasty lunches. Not only do these events make women feel fabulous, but they also work wonders for their confidence and self-worth.
Crowd Surfing Gold
This legendary Paralympian gold medalist, Dylan Alcott stole the show when he went to see his favorite band in a concert. Dylan had overcome various challenges in his life to become a successful athlete. This time he was faced with another challenge; being stuck in the crowd and not being able to see all of the rock and roll action.
Luckily, some enthusiastic concert-goers felt his pain and decided to raise Dylan above their heads. They then gave him the wheelchair crowd-surfing experience of a lifetime. Not only that, they then carried him on stage to rock it out with his favorite band for their last track of the show.
All Toys R on Him
While most athletes might drop their millions on show-stopping houses, extravagant cars, and jet-setting lifestyles; this humble athlete had other ideas. When the NFL football player Andre Johnson showed up at Toys R Us one day, no one could have prepared for what he was about to offer.
For the lucky children in the store that day, he was about to make all their Toys R Us dreams come true. Andre announced to 11 children that they had just 80 seconds to pick as many toys as they wanted. As the kids raced through the store, they managed to rack up a staggering bill of over $16,000. While Andre then had to explain his extravagant purchase to his bank manager, for these kids, they had the ultimate toy story adventure.
Man’s Best Friend
Sometimes one picture can tell a thousand words. And the backstory of this epic photo makes it even more heartwarming than it might seem on the surface. The photo captures a touching moment between a man and his best friend; John Unger and his 19-year-old rescue dog, Schoep. His canine companion was suffering from health issues at the time due to his age.
John later recalled how he loved taking his beloved dog for an evening swim in the local lake. The water helped soothe and provide therapy for the dog. It also provided some much-needed comfort for the owner. Since John was aware that the dog’s health was deteriorating, the photo captures the pure love and unshakeable bond between this owner and his beloved pup.
Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane?
Understandably, some residents might have questioned what exactly Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Thor or Iron Man were up to that day. Had they joined forces for a top-secret Marvel mission? Thankfully the truth behind this action-packed photo was even stranger than fiction. The photo features a group of creative window-washers, disguised as superheroes at a local Children’s hospital.
Since some children can stay in the hospital for months, the days can seem pretty mundane. So the window washers wanted to think of a creative way to surprise the children. And what better way to boost their day than descending down the side of the hospital. They also used their superpowers to wash the windows and took the time to surprise the children on each floor.
The World’s First Inclusive Theme Park
In a landmark move, this company made history by launching the world’s first ultra-accessible family-fun theme park in Texas. While most theme parks do have certain accessible rides for disabled people, Morgan’s Wonderland is designed to be all-inclusive. And the results have been magical.
The sprawling 25-acre playground oasis is filled with over 25 thrilling rides, designed for both disabled people and those without disabilities. From wheelchair-accessible swings to fun-packed Ferris wheels, there’s something to cater for everyone’s taste. The Wonderland reminds us all that playground fun should have no bounds!
A Mammoth Rescue
When 17 long-finned pilot whales suddenly washed up to the shore in Hamelin Bay in Australia, most residents were stunned and confused. As each whale weighed a whopping 5,000 pounds, they were also faced with a mammoth decision. What would they do with the whales?
Some people may have left the whales on the shore. However, these quick-thinking animal lovers pooled all their efforts together to save the whales lives. In total, around 60 volunteers joined together to race against the clock and rescue the gentle giants from their unsightly fate. While some comforted the whales, others helped guide them safely back out to the sea.
A Companion for Life
After the Philippines was struck by a treacherous monsoon, heavy rains battered down through the area. In fact, the rains were the fiercest on record and forced some residents to flee. It also caused official offices, businesses, and schools to close. Understandably, as the tropical storm left a trail of disaster, it might feel like nature was playing a cruel joke.
However, with every rain cloud, there’s a silver lining. While the rains continued to lash down, and the residents had to flee the area, there are also stories of selfless hope and humanity. In this photo, a young boy in Manila is wading through the floodwaters to safety. Instead of carrying his material possessions, he couldn’t leave his beloved dog behind and used all his strength to carry his companion to safety.
An Epic Birthday Wish
In the age of social media greetings, memes and emojis, real birthday cards might seem a little outdated and old-fashioned. However, when this WWII veteran Joe Cuba was approaching his 100th birthday, he only had one wish. All Joe wanted was to receive 100 heartfelt birthday cards to celebrate his milestone birthday.
Since Joe was residing in a retirement home, he shared his wish with one of the workers, who decided to help. The worker then turned to social media and shared this touching photo of him on a Facebook page. Still, while Joe wished for just 100 cards, he wasn’t prepared for the reaction he received.
100 Birthday Wishes Later
Before long, this adorable photo of Joe with his touching birthday sign managed to strike a chord with friends and strangers alike. Soon enough, this emotional photo went viral. It was shared over and over again around the world, and many were inspired to help grant Joe’s birthday wish.
Since that epic post, Joe has been kept the postman busy. His retirement home was flooded with around 2,500 cards, and over 100 gifts from generous strangers and well-wishers around the world. There were more cards and gifts than he could have ever imagined. It was the birthday of a lifetime, and stories like this show just how powerful the Internet can be!
Treading on Thin Ice
Along the coast of Norway, some teenage boys spotted a helpless lamb one day. Sadly, the lamb had slipped down the rocks into the icy waters. The idea of rescuing the lamb seemed dangerous. However, these brave teenagers threw caution to the wind and risked everything to save the animal from his fate.
The boys had to think on their feet and formed a human chain. They had to reach down a slippery rock face to get into the water and save the lamb. Luckily for everyone, their rescue attempt was successful, and they were able to use all their strength to haul the lamb back to safety, just in the nick of time!
A Chocolatey Love Story
When this adorable couple celebrated their 79th wedding anniversary, many were curious about the secret to their successful marriage. While you might think it ould be patience or understanding, this couple stunned us all. You see, the secret to their happiness melts down to their shared love of chocolate. Well, Hershey’s chocolate to be exact.
The happy couple first met during World War II and now have a loving family together. Now Cutis has turned 100, and Virginia is 103, they still love sharing bars of Hershey’s together all the time. They even credit Hersheys bars as their secret to keeping their love alive.
Pure Sibling Love
Just when we thought parents were always the weepiest ones at any graduation ceremony, this sweet-exchange between this adorable brother and sister proved us all wrong! When this proud mom from Connecticut, took her 5-year-old daughter to her pre-kindergarten graduation ceremony, she didn’t expect her 8-year-old son would be so overwhelmed with tears too.
After capturing the sweet embrace between the siblings on camera, the mom Aundrea wiped away her son’s tears. She then asked her little ‘pumpkin’ why he was crying. After taking a deep breath, her son gushed, “I’m just so happy” and proud of his little sister. It was also a great moment for their parents. They were just as touched that their kids” love each other so much.”
Never Too Old to Graduate
This 93-year-old, Joyce Lowenstein proved once and for all that you’re never too old to graduate either. After a 70-year-long hiatus from education, Joyce finally achieved her life-long dream. She graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in art and history. As she walked to pick up her degree with style and grace, the entire crowd then honored Joyce with a spontaneous standing ovation.
Joyce definitely deserved it. She had wanted to pursue college since 1943, but life got in the way. In the meantime, she started a family, became a great grandmother, and worked as an interior designer. When she finally embarked on her degree in her 80s, she worked harder than most for seven long years. Overcoming ailments and memory loss along the way, Joyce graduated with honors and scored one of the highest GPAs in her class.
A Hurricane of Hope
After Hurricane Katrina battered through the US in 2005, it left a trail of destruction. It also left a trail of hope. This powerful photo was captured just after a rescue operation. Three-year-old LaShay Brown is smiling and hugging her rescuer Sergeant Mike Maroney. LaShay Brown became a poster girl for the hurricane, and the photo became iconic. Back then, the pair didn’t probably realize how much they would impact each other’s lives.
After forming a tight bond, Mike Maroney was deployed on missions around the world. However, he never forgot that little girl, and they stayed close. As LaShay helped Mike deal with Post Traumatic Stress, he also inspired her to embark on a career in the military. After joining the Junior Reserves Corps (JROTC), LaShay then honored Mr. Maroney too. She invited him her to the JROTC ball, where she thanked her hero all over again.
A Four-Legged Assistant
While it’s true that dogs can be man’s best friend, they can also be a great companion for other four-legged patients, especially in times of need. This compassionate veterinarian recognized this early on. So the vet employed their own resident comfort-dog assistant, to provide solace to other sick pups in need.
This heartwarming photo of a comfort dog, staring deep into the weary brown eyes of this sick labrador really is everything. We can just imagine the comfort dog is assuring the other pup that everything will be ok. And if they stared at us like this, with those adorable brown eyes, and a knowing smile, we would believe it too.
You Can Stand Under My Umbrella
Just like Rhianna, this selfless man really meant it when he said anyone could stand under his umbrella. As the rain started to pummel down, he could have followed the crowd and ran to the sidewalk or inside shops for shelter. However, when he saw the woman struggling in her wheelchair in the middle of the street, he naturally rushed over to help.
The photo is even more powerful and dramatic, as he used his own umbrella to provide shade for the woman in need, rather than for himself. Acts of kindness like these that remind us that in rain or shine, there are people in the world who go out of there way to help others before themselves.
The World’s Smallest Superhero
Ok, we admit. Sometimes real-life superheroes do wear capes. Like Austin, the smallest superhero with a giant heart. By day he’s just a mild-mannered 4-year-old who lives in Alabama. But when he wears his cape, he transforms into a superhero; feeding as many homeless people in his neighborhood as he can.
It all started when Austin’s dad taught him about homelessness. Inspired to make a change, the caped crusader has been taking his town by storm. He uses his spare time to feed homeless people chicken sandwiches and spread his message of love. He even goes by the name of President Austin. After going viral, others have started donating to his cause. When he grows up, Austin plans to continue the cause, and open up a homeless center.
Project Open Paw
Sometimes in life, humans can be awesome companions to pets too. After working in a local dog boarding facility in San Francisco, California, Paul encountered many homeless dogs. He also noticed that there was a great deal of dog food going to waste at the facility. So, he put two and two together and decided to make a change.
Paul was touched that these pups provide so much love and joy to their homeless owners. So, he started to save the food from being wasted and delivered it to homeless dogs nearby. He later became the mastermind by the organization, Project Open Paw and became known as the dog guru. Paul now devotes his time to traveling and feeding all the homeless dogs in the area.
A Loving Hug
This photo almost broke the internet when it first surfaced online. It later became iconic, for a few reasons. First of all, it captures a spontaneous, innocent hug between two little boys in the cafeteria. The boys probably didn’t even see that they were different in any way. They also didn’t see that the color of their skin was different. They just wanted to hug it out.
In fact, this photo captures the innocence of youth. While the color of people’s skin may be an issue for some, this photo reminds us all that love comes naturally, hate and prejudice is something that’s learned. This adorable photo became a viral meme, and many can learn from the pure and innocent way these boys see the world.
Be Better in Real Life
We’re just happy someone captured this powerful photo of a selfless man on the street, offering his shoes to a homeless man. The reason it resonated with so many people is that the man on the street just saw a man in need, with no shoes. So, without thinking twice, he wanted to help. He didn’t help for glory or social media fame; he just wanted to do the right thing.
That image later went viral online. The reason it was shared so much is that it just shows us what a real selfless act of kindness should look like. Many saw it as inspiring, as often people do good deeds for social media likes. This raw image is not posed for the camera and reminds us all that you should be a better person in real life than on social media.
Building Castles in the Sky
At just two-years-old, Abby had already been through more than most kids her age. In the wake of a hurricane, she was evacuated with her family to a Red Cross shelter in North Carolina. Abby may be small, but when she arrived at the shelter, she was a bundle of energy. Soon enough, she won everyone over with her big personality and infectious smile.
In fact, her positive outlook on life was inspiring, that it made a big impression on everyone in the shelter. So some of the staff decided to reward her cheerfulness. They created a play castle for her out of some discarded boxes and filled it with toys inside. When they revealed her new play castle to her, seeing Abby’s little face light up made it all worth it. Abby reminds us that kindness makes the world go round.