Since its inception eighteen months ago, our sister site Makes Me Think (MMT) has truly evolved into a remarkable online community. Every day, users share their thought-provoking life stories and vote on stories that other users have shared. Some are happy, some are sad, and others twist your emotions, pulling them in several directions at once.
As stated on the MMT About page, sometimes the most random everyday encounters force us to stop and rethink the truths and perceptions we have ingrained in our minds. These encounters are educationally priceless. They spawn moments of deep thought and self-reflection that challenge the status quo and help us evolve as sensible individuals.
I believe the 101 stories listed below perfectly fulfill that description. Of the thousands of stories that have been submitted to MMT in the last eighteen months, these are my personal favorites.
What do you think?
- Today, after a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center.” MMT
- Today, at the age of 70, my grandfather graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in business studies. He’s been a successful business owner most of his life, but he told me he earned his degree to fulfill a promise he made to his mother before she lost her battle with cancer 50 years ago. MMT
- Today, my mom is a healthy 54 year old who successfully owns and operates a popular bakery downtown – a goal she had all her life. 15 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. In the face of death, she quit her store clerk job, opened the bakery, started chemo therapy, and succeeded on all fronts. MMT
- Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face. MMT
- Today, as a young ‘up and coming’ lawyer, everyone in the firm was congratulating me for winning my first big case this morning. And all day long all I could think about is how I used a technicality in the law to help a murderer walk away a free man. MMT
- Today, on our 50th wedding anniversary, she smiled at me and said, “I only wish I had met you sooner.” MMT
- Today, after 2 years of separation, my ex-wife and I resolved our differences and met for dinner. We laughed and chatted for almost 4 hours. Then just before she left, she handed me a large envelope. In it were 20 love letters she wrote me over the last 2 years. There was a post-it note on the envelope that said, “Letters I was too stubborn to send.” MMT
- Today, when I slipped on the wet tile floor a boy in a wheelchair caught me before I slammed my head on the ground. He said, “Believe it or not, that’s almost exactly how I injured my back 3 years ago.” MMT
- Today, someone else’s tragedy provided the miracle my family had prayed for. Thanks to this stranger, my dad will have a heart. It’s so odd to think that an accidental death just saved his life. MMT
- Today marks the ten year anniversary of the day when I slapped him and screamed at him remorselessly for not letting me in the bathroom after we ate breakfast. That moment also marks the positive turning point in my battle with Bulimia. I think he saved my life that day. MMT
- Today at 7AM I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went in to work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job. I start tomorrow. MMT
- Today, I was working in a coffee shop when 2 gay men walked in holding hands. As you might expect, heads started turning. Then a young girl at the table next to me asked her mom why 2 men were holding hands. Her mom replied, “Because they love each other.” MMT
- Today, after the funeral, I went back to my parent’s empty house – the house I grew up in. As I gazed around in awe of all the great memories we made in it, I noticed an old photo of my parent’s in their 20’s sitting on the coffee table. In my father’s handwriting, across the back was written, “In this moment, we were infinite.” MMT
- Today, as I walked away from the airport gate alone with my head held high and eyes beet red from crying, I knew at that moment what it meant to be a military wife. MMT
- Today, a lady walked up to me in the gym and asked me to give her some workout pointers. She said, “You look incredible! Watching you gradually tone-up and progress in here has become my primary inspiration to get in shape.” It made me smile because I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 15. MMT
- Today, my grandpa died. As I was crying and telling my grandma how sorry I was, she said, “Let’s stop being so sad and instead celebrate the 80 wonderful years he was alive… 60 of which he spent with me.” MMT
- Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.” MMT
- Today, my richest friend growing up filed for bankruptcy and one of my poorest friends growing up purchased his second vacation home. MMT
- Today, I pulled into a small gas station in the middle of the desert in New Mexico and realized I had left my wallet at my girlfriends house 5 hours away. I had no money and barely enough gas to make it another mile down the road. The only other person that stopped for gas was a burly looking trucker. I was a bit reluctant, but I asked him for some spare change for gas. Instead he filled my tank and said, “Someone did this for me a few years ago.” MMT
- Today, I was all dressed up and waiting on my blind date to arrive. He never showed up. It made me feel ugly. I thought he may have seen me from a distance and bailed. Then as I left the restaurant alone, I heard a little girl ask her mom if I was a princess. It made me smile and it MMT.
- Today, while I was driving my grandfather to his doctor’s appointment, I complained about hitting 2 red lights in a row. My grandfather chuckled and said, “You always complain about the red lights, but you never celebrate the green ones.” MMT
- Today in downtown San Diego, I watched a blue collar Mexican man get harassed for being Mexican. It was a blatant act of discrimination. And the man actually began crying. As he left the office building, he took off his jacket. His t-shirt underneath read, “I love the USA!” MMT
- Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together. The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been 6 feet tall. Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor. The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together. They danced the rest of the night. MMT
- Today, I was the maid of honor in her wedding. Four years ago she was declared cancer free. Eight years ago, during our senior year of college, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had eighteen months to live. MMT
- Today, I received a gigantic gift bag from one of my friends. She said she appreciated me being there for her, and that I am one of her best friends. She is mentally and physically handicapped, and I merely see her for half an hour once per week. MMT
- Today, my close friend died unexpectedly in a car accident. A cab driver saw me crying outside the hospital all alone at 3AM. He stopped, helped me into the cab, drove me to my house 30 miles away and refused to let me pay him. MMT
- Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy. MMT
- Today I met a 90 year old woman at Kinko’s who was getting her passport photo taken so she could go on a Safari in Africa next month for her 91st birthday. MMT
- Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” “Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said. MMT
- Today, I am thankful that my family has acquired enough wealth so that my parents can afford to live in their own house and send me and my siblings to college. But I miss the days when we were younger and were all crammed into a 2 bedroom apartment and forced to play board games and eat supper together. MMT
- Today, my father’s mistress saved my mother’s life when she ran into our fire-engulfed house and pulled my mother out to safety two minutes before the roof collapsed. MMT
- Today, at a funeral reception, everyone had something kind to say about the deceased. As they spoke through their tears, many of them admitted that they wish they had told John how wonderful he was before he died. MMT
- Today, after watching a violent horror movie, my little brother abruptly asked my grandfather how he wants to die. “Like the sunset,” my grandfather replied. MMT
- Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again. MMT
- Today, as they teased me and laughed hysterically, I just wished they could see the world through my eyes. MMT
- Today, as I read my brother’s suicide note, chills ran down my spine because I was horrified by the fact that I could relate to everything he wrote. MMT
- Today, my son and I were in a car accident. I came out of it with just a cut over my eye, but my son fell into a coma. The doctor said if he doesn’t wake up soon his chances of a full recovery greatly decreases. An hour ago he opened his eyes and said a word I thought I’d never hear again, “Mommy.” MMT
- Today, I interviewed a woman who is terminally ill. “So,” I tried to delicately ask, “What is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?” “Well,” she responded, “What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?” MMT
- Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.” MMT
- Today, I told my mom that I feel like I’m failing with my alcoholism counseling and that I want to quit. Then she said my 8 year old brother told her, “I really like the new Elliot so much better.” MMT
- Today, I met an amazing guy at a local diner during the breakfast rush. He was sincere and handsome. We agreed to meet back at the diner for lunch, but he never showed up. I found out this evening from a mutual friend that he was in a fatal car accident on his lunch break two blocks away from the diner. MMT
- Today, for two hours I stood next to a 50 something year old, burly biker looking guy at a Lady Gaga concert while he sincerely sang his heart out. MMT
- Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, “I hope you feel better soon.” MMT
- Today, I lost my mom to cancer. My whole life I wanted to build an empire of wealth. And now that I’m relatively wealthy, all I want is my mom back. MMT
- Today, after telling my grandmother that I didn’t want to risk making such a huge mistake, she looked at me and said, “Looking back on it all, there are so many mistakes I wish I had had the courage to make when I was your age.” MMT
- Today, while everyone else was complaining about the overbooked flight, I smiled and joked with the gate agent about my willingness to sit in the belly of the plane with the luggage. 15 minutes later, the gate agent found me sitting in the gate area and hand delivered a first class ticket to me. She winked and said, “Thanks for being so patient. As you know, the coach cabin is full.” MMT
- Today, the evening news report forgot to mention that I was driving home from work five miles an hour below the posted speed limit and that he was an intoxicated drug addict with suicidal tendencies who deliberately jumped out in front of my vehicle. MMT
- Today at 3PM my wife checked herself into an alcoholic rehab clinic all by herself after our son showed her bruise marks and belt lash welts on his backside that she couldn’t even recall giving him. I don’t even know how I feel right now, angry at her or proud. My head is spinning, and it all MMT.
- Today, I swore to her that if she followed through with it, I’d do the same. And she slowly pointed the gun away from her forehead and toward the floor. Then she handed it to me and cried in my arms for almost three hours. MMT
- Today, a 12 year old boy died in a house fire near my neighborhood. After he pulled his mom to safety, he ran back into the burning house for his 5-month-old baby sister. MMT
- Today, my electric wheelchair broke down as I was rushing across campus to take a midterm exam. Two female joggers noticed I was stuck and asked if I needed assistance. When I explained my dilemma, they both pushed me simultaneously all the way to my class and got me there just in time. MMT
- Today, I was in line at the store behind a man holding a dozen roses. When he got up to the cashier’s counter, he realized that the cashier looked sad. The man smiled and said, “I’m buying 11 of these roses for my wife.” And then he handed the cashier the 12th rose. She smiled from ear to ear. MMT
- Today, I asked my 6 year old son what he wants to be when he grows up. He said, “Mommy, all I want to be is happy.” MMT
- Today, as I watched my 75 year old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like. I hope I find it someday. MMT
- Today, we were supposed to meet in the park. But instead I met her in the hospital’s intensive care unit. And as I sat beside her bed and staring at her unconscious body hooked up to all the breathing equipment, I reached into my pocket, pulled out the diamond engagement ring, and cried. I’m still here waiting and hoping. MMT
- Today, when I told my 8 year old son that all of our dreams are within reach as long as we follow our heart and take action, he asked me if it was always my dream to be a waitress. MMT
- Today, after spending the last year working 60 hours a week in an attempt to give my family a more comfortable life, I forgot about my son’s 14th birthday. My son told me what the family really needs is more of me at home. MMT
- Today, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor and given 3 to 6 months to live 10 minutes before the hospital realized they mixed up my biopsy results with the patient in the next room. MMT
- Today, as my son cried in my arms, he said, “What nobody realizes is that it’s torture. Every day of my life I wish I wasn’t gay.” MMT
- Today, my blind friend explained to me in vivid detail how beautiful his new girlfriend is. MMT
- Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. My best friend lives 2000 miles away and called to comfort me. While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?” “I would surely smile,” I replied. And then he rang my doorbell. MMT
- Today, the main girl who bullied me in high school came into my office apologizing and pleading for a job. I’m still thinking about it. MMT
- Today, I was stopped at a traffic light when a mid-aged homeless woman asked me for change. I usually I don’t give out dollars to the homeless because I assume they are going to buy booze. But I saw her 45 minutes later at 7/11 buying bread and peanut butter. She was so happy to see me. MMT
- Today, my sister told me a student of hers turned eight years old on Friday. When I realized he was born on September 11, 2001, I said, “How horrible for his family.” My sister explained that his grandfather worked at the Pentagon and skipped work that day upon learning his daughter was in labor. MMT
- Today, I was driving to a job interview when I saw a businesswoman standing next to her BMW on the side of the road. She had a flat tire. I pulled over and helped her put on the spare. When I arrived to the interview, the woman who I helped ended up being the CEO of the company. I got the job. MMT
- Today at the Atlanta airport, as I walked off a plane dressed in my Army uniform, a little girl grabbed my hand and asked me if I would be going back overseas soon. I told her I would be in 6 weeks. She smiled and said, “Can you please tell my daddy that I love him. My mommy told me he’s never coming home from over there.” MMT
- Today, I waited on an elderly woman at the local restaurant where I work. She left me a $90 tip on a $10 tab with a handwritten note that said, “I’m 86 and I can’t take this money with me. So please spoil yourself with it.” MMT
- Today, I met an elderly man at a bar in Miami. When I asked him if he was vacationing, he handed me a photo from his wallet and said, “Today would be our 50th anniversary. And although she’s been gone 10 years now, this bar still reminds me of her smile – when we shared our first laugh here so many moons ago.” MMT
- Today, another cancer patient of mine cried and begged me to let her die. MMT
- Today, my father told me, “Just go for it and give it a try! You don’t have to be a professional to build a successful product. Amateurs started Google and Apple. Professionals built the Titanic.” MMT
- Today, as soon as my 5-year-old baby brother came into my room, I yelled at him to get out without even looking up at him. When he didn’t listen and I turned around to yell again, I noticed he had a bowl of cherries (my favorite) in his hands. He said, “Sorry, I just wanted to share these with you.” MMT
- Today, when I got home from dropping you off at the airport, I sat at our kitchen table and stared down at my wedding ring and then up at the photo of my dad hanging on our refrigerator, and then I cried. I just hope the war doesn’t take you away from me too. MMT
- Today, after spending the last 3 years viciously bickering with the college kid who lives next door, I found myself crying in his arms and thanking him repeatedly for saving my son’s life. MMT
- Today at the diner where I work, an elderly couple came in for the 4th time this week and requested my table. I asked them what kept them coming back. They told me that I reminded them of their granddaughter who passed away 6 years ago. Then they told me her name. She was my best friend at the time. MMT
- Today, my dad told me and my little sister that we might lose our house. I was sad, angry, worried and stressed. My 14 yr old sister asked me what’s wrong. When I told her, she said, “It’s just a house. I don’t care where we live, as long as we’re together.” MMT
- Today, I read countless articles about the slain soldiers at Fort Hood. And it occurred to me that if these soldiers had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq and died there, their deaths wouldn’t have made the front page of the newspaper. MMT
- Today, I was walking past a group of homeless men who live near my complex. A cab pulled up next to the men and the driver opened up the rear door and pulled out two huge grocery bags full of food. He set them down next to the group of men, got in his cab and drove off without saying a word. MMT
- Today, for the four hours he was breathing, his father and I loved him for a lifetime. MMT
- Today, as I watched my oldest daughter graduate at the top of her class from Harvard Medical School, my wife reminded me that we had her when we were only seventeen. MMT
- Today, I stopped to chat with the office janitor like I do every Monday morning on my way into work. And at the end of our conversation he grinned and said, “You know, you’re the only one who ever stops to talk to me around here, and you’re the President and CEO.” MMT
- Today, exactly twenty years ago to the hour, I risked my life to save a woman who was drowning in the rapids of the Colorado River. And that’s how I met my wife – the love of my life. MMT
- Today, I’m in Iraq on my third tour of duty fighting for a cause I no longer believe in. And I want to go home. But ever since I caught my wife having an affair 6 months ago, I’m not sure I know where home is anymore. MMT
- Today, as I stared down blankly at the $750,000 life insurance check, I couldn’t help but wish it had been me instead. MMT
- Today, my wife checked herself into an alcohol rehab clinic after she glanced up at me while she was eating her breakfast and asked how I got a black eye and fingernail scratches all over my face. MMT
- Today I found out that my high school friend I’d been meaning to get in touch with for the last year died last week. MMT
- Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70’s – what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.” MMT
- Today, after spending the last ten years serving liquor to alcoholics all day every day I looked in the mirror and felt disgusted. I’ve concluded that I am, in fact, a failure, even though all my friends call me a successful business owner. MMT
- Today, as my grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospice bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was. He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.” MMT
- Today, it’s just the six of us. One was raped when she was fourteen. Three come from abusive households. Two were orphans. Like me, one spent almost two straight years in a psychiatric facility as a kid. But I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for all the perfect friends in the universe. MMT
- Today, I was walking home from work in the pouring rain without an umbrella. I was walking just behind an elderly man who had an umbrella. As we both passed under the overhang to an apartment building, he stopped, turned around and handed me the umbrella. He said, “This is my stop and you look like you need an umbrella. Pass it along someday when the opportunity arises.” MMT
- Today, my friend told me she didn’t mind being legally blind, with only 12% of her vision. She said, “After it rains there’s usually a dew left on the grass. And because of the way my eyes refract the light, I see rainbows in the grass.” MMT
- Today, at a neighborhood BBQ my neighbor’s son – a 25 year old Marine – dropped to the floor and started crying when one of the other guests lit off a round of firecrackers. MMT
- Today, the teenager I scream at almost every day for driving too fast in the neighborhood because it worries me that he’s going to run over my kids, ran across the street from his driveway to ours and grabbed my son off of his tricycle in the middle of the street just before a swerving drunk driver ran over my son’s tricycle and kept going. MMT
- Today, I was in an accident that left me with a gash on my forehead. The doctors wrapped a bandage around my head and said I have to keep it on all week. I hate wearing it. Two minutes ago my little brother walked into my room wearing a bandage on his head. My mom said he insisted that he didn’t want me to feel alone. MMT
- Today, when I tapped the side of my wheelchair and told my husband, “You’re the only reason I want to be free from this contraption,” he kissed me on my forehead and said, “Honey, I don’t even see that thing.” MMT
- Today, I was jogging in Central Park when this lady started screaming for help. Her husband was having a heart attack. I ran over and checked his pulse. He didn’t have one. I gave him CPR and got his heart beating before the paramedics arrived. I’ve done some bad things in my life, but today I saved a life. MMT
- Today, I met a powerful businessman who is worth 100 million dollars. In conversation he told me he regretted never making it to his son’s hockey games or his daughter’s dance recitals. It made me smile because my dad is probably only worth as much as this man’s last paycheck, but he made it to everything. MMT
- Today, at the food court in the mall, a beautiful girl about my age came up to me and hugged me with tears in her eyes. Once she calmed down, I realized that I had pulled her out of a bathtub a month earlier, her wrists covered in slashes. I am an EMT, and her gesture of appreciation MMT.
- Today, my fiancé was in a head-on collision car accident. He is currently in a coma. And all I can think about is the argument we had this morning. I screamed at him for screaming at me. It was a petty argument. But if he could scream now, I wouldn’t say a word. I’d just listen to the sound of his voice. MMT
- Today, I have two twin boys in my kindergarten class. I have heard from other parents that they come from a very broken home in which their mother is in and out of rehab and their father is always away on business. But their 16 year old sister never fails to get them to school on time or pack them a healthy bagged lunch with a smiley face on it. MMT
- Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.” MMT
If you enjoyed these short stories from Makes Me Think, I highly recommend you also read PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives and Other People’s Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See.
Photo by: NASA
These stories are great. I love stuff life this! Reminds me of the storyteller, Kenny Young.
Beautiful stories! It’s worth reading every one of them.
Reminds me of Earnest Hemingway’s six word sad short story. “For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn”. Tears were shed.
After finishing these, part of me hates myself for not shedding a tear through this. The other part of me is thankful, because I now know that there is still so much unbelievable kindness and compassion in this hate-filled world. I was having a bad day, but this made it so much better.
I had tears running down my cheeks the entire time. Very inspiring and emotional stories. Makes me guilty looking back on those things I take for granted every day.
I sat here reading all of these and sobbing.
I finally got up and filled out the mothers day card I ment to mail off a year ago. I’m sending it tomorrow.
It really made me realize how much I take for granted.
Wow! Each story is beautiful and makes you think about your life; things & people you take for granted, moments you miss to cherish or notice. Awesome collection! Thank you very much for putting it together.
One day, I went to the bakers and there was a delicious looking cake with a strawberry on top. I badly wanted this cake, but it turns out that it was being saved for an elderly man called Frank who was sitting on a chair, because he was tired. He really wanted the cake. So did I, but I decided to let him have it instead. He was very grateful and as a gesture of his appreciation, he kindly paid for a big chocolate cake that we had bought, even after I refused to let him pay. I nearly had tears of joy in my eyes. The next Sunday, I went to the bakers again, and I found out that he had reserved one of those cakes with the strawberries on top and paid for it for me. Such kindness as this is rare to find nowadays. But it makes you think, that if you do something nice for someone else, then the favour will surely be returned to you, and in this case it was returned straight away.
Thanks for sharing these amazing, inspiring stories. It’s been a long day for me, but these absolutely make my day! Thanks again!
These stories are just so beautiful.
To think that this list of 101 moments don’t even begin to fill the cup of motivation/love/desire/goodness that’s going on every second of every day.
izzie b says
This was amazing! I sent it to everybody in my class!
This is very inspiring to change a bad attitude. These stories are awesome and made me cry all the way through.
I cried the whole time while reading this. Thank you!
Maria-Victoria Llamas says
I shared my teary, touching favorites with my ESL student who I’m sure will appreciate them, too.
Halfway through reading these, I received a text from my mother saying that my half brothers dad just passed away..
It made me cry . We should all read such touching words everyday. Life is to be enjoyed and to love all.
Today, I, a 20 year old was standing in the train for two hours and with two more hours to go till i would reach my destination, a 50 year old woman stood up and let me sit in her chair and i felt so small because i knew i wouldn’t have done the same if the roles had reversed.