Has this happened to you? You are going about your day thinking about your business. Then you suddenly have an orgasm that swells your spirits, such as hugging a couple or a stranger lending a hand to another.
These days, the world can use a pick-up. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, we asked readers to share when they unexpectedly saw an act of love or kindness. More than 100 readers wrote stories of affection years ago or just recently. Here some are selected, edited and condensed for clarity.
I am walking around in my local park more often. My heart is moved by two friends who meet every morning. They are male and likely to be in their mid-80s. They arrive separately, each with a coffee and a Dunkin Donuts bag. They sit on side benches, six feet apart. One does not start his coffee until the other is there. They are not particularly talkative with others in the park – I have tried. Their focus is on each other.
– Grace E. Curley, Boston
My 90-pound Bernice mountain dog, Lily, has a neurological problem that knocks her down. This causes his great distress. My golden retriever, Katie, came to Lily this morning when she fell, and lied on her lips. He then took a nap and took a nap against his canine sister.
– Penny Nemzer, Greenwich, Conn.
After months of being at home, my 2-year-old son was not excited to be around strangers. That changed when he started day care. One of the first friends he made was Dennis, a construction worker who works near his school. Dennis often gives a high-five and a fist bump before listing all the new words his son has learned. He looks forward to this conversation every day, and Denise never disappoints: he is always there with a big, welcoming smile.
– Smita Jayaram, Jersey City, NJ
As soon as the morning bell rings, one of my grade 3 students will enter the school lobby holding his younger brother’s hand. My student will carefully help his brother remove his soil and unbutton his jacket. They will then split up for their own classrooms before she then tenderly kisses his head above his head. Such a loving and responsible gesture.
– Sheila Bean, Calgary, Alberta
Years ago while riding the bus, I saw a young man suddenly bump into a seat and slipped from his seat. The passengers fell silent. We were worried, erupted. The driver turned and pulled the radio to help. Then a woman sat on the floor near the young man. She started caressing her hands silently. We all got off the bus, but the woman and the boy stayed together. While he was waiting for his cramps to end, his song became a quiet song.
– Tracy Hudson, Garden Valley, California.
I have a balance problem after an operation on a cerebral aneurysm affected my ability to do certain things like bending or sideways. One day while walking through the city with a stick, I realized that my shovel was undone. I just kept going. Suddenly a young woman stopped. “Hey,” he said, “your noose is undone. Here, if you travel let me do it.” He tied the shovel, smiled and walked.
– Carroll Lang, Oxford, England
I was 6 years old and spending the night with my grandparents. ‘While I was sitting on the porch, a couple walked past. The man reached down and took one of my grandmother’s tulips out of the garden and gave it to her lady. I was angry and ran into the house, screaming that someone had “stolen” one of my grandmother’s flowers. He calmed me, held my hand and said, “That’s what flowers are.”
– Claire Poth, Buffalo
I was going to the post office. An elderly, masked couple walked slowly to the other side of the road. During an epidemic, people move fast, avoid contact and try to get their things quickly. The couple stopped for a moment. They kissed through their masks and constant walking. It has given me some hope that even in these times, love and human relationships prevail.
– Susie Reichenbach, Brussels
We were at Martha’s Vineyard beach. The sun was shining coral and hanging above the horizon. As it was about to set, there was a ruckus a few yards in front of us. A young man had just proposed to his partner, and everyone around them just turned to see him being the first step in their new life.
– Harriet Bernstein, West Tisbury, Mass.
When I was younger, my parents and I used to visit Seattle often to meet our friends. Once, while at the airport, I saw what I believed to be a husband and wife hug, kiss and say goodbye with tearful eyes. Which shocked me. My parents had just divorced and never had much affection. I think of that couple often.
– Margaret Anne Doran, Charlottesville, Va.
I was standing in a crowded metro train, facing a woman sitting. I was going through a terrible week. I was tired and overcome with emotion. Suddenly I started crying. It almost didn’t happen to me that anyone could see me. But the sitting woman did, and she handed me a tissue without saying anything other than to give me a rest, give me a relaxed, knowing look.
– Nicole Schaub, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
When I was in high school, my mother often traveled for work. She can stay away for weeks at a time. During one of his visits, I wandered into my parents’ room. My father was smelling one of his scarves. Blushing, they put her down and said, “I was missing your mother.”
– Sarah Hughes, Rockville, MD.
While I was driving, something went ahead and brought everyone to a standstill. There was a sense of uneasiness and despair. But when the cars in front of me moved into the next lane, I saw a woman in a car repeatedly stopping, getting out, grabbing brown bag lunches and seeing several homeless people on the side of the road Was distributing. He offered them conversation, care and warmth, and seemed not to care about the drivers following him.
– Sam Alouni, Denver
Many years ago, I was walking in the former village when a biker crashed into a car. The biker was hurt and bleeding and the car blew. Within seconds, dozens of New Yorkers swung into action. Several people ran down the street to note the license plate number of the car. A ring of people encircling the biker for first aid, ripping sweatshirts to stop the bleeding. Within two minutes, ambulances and police vehicles arrived at the scene. There was not a second of chaos. It was a beautiful ballet of ability and confidence. New Yorkers care for each other.
– Elizabeth Bruce, Coble Hill, Brooklyn
We are back in school, and we are in the choir. Following the directions, my students are singing outside, 10 feet apart, in the facade. It is January in New England, 34 degrees with a icy wind and storm.
I direct two high school senior boys, young men, members of the choir, forever since inseparable and never silent in rehearsal until Zoom silences them, gossiping and laughed and laughs themselves together “Bridge over troubled waters.” Danced between singing verses of “.
Nowhere in the world do they look like they are.
– Scott Halligan, Longmeadow, Mass.
When I went to the drugstore, a high school boy walked out with a bouquet of yellow daffodils. Someone shouted from the street: “Do you want to get lucky?” He replied: “No, I think I’m in love!” It probably happened 40 years ago, and I still think about it.
– Sali Wolf, Oak Park, Ill.