7 Times Reddit Changed — Or Even Saved — People's Lives

"I am actually in tears."

Since I was a kid, I had this weird feeling that my brain was a little different.

Every now and then, when someone was talking to me or when I was at the doctor's office, I'd get a bizarre sensation through my head and my neck. It was a warm, tingly kind of feeling that seemed to be triggered by voices, certain situations where I was getting attention, or a specific kind of repetitive sound.

For years, I struggled to identify what it was. I Googled stuff constantly. I asked friends. And one day, while explaining it to a co-worker, I expressed it in a way that finally gave it some clarity: "it's like sounds that feel good," I said.

Instantly, it occurred to me this was something worth Googling. When I did, the first result that came in was a Reddit group called "sounds that feel good." I couldn't believe it; the mystery had been solved, and I had a condition known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

In the last 12 years, a surprising number of these stories have developed thanks to the content-sharing site Reddit. It's a place where lives are frequently changed because of the good will, curiosity, and common interests of strangers on the Internet. Below, we've pulled together some of the most amazing stories that have come from Reddit. 

1. When a terminally ill man was sent envelopes of kindness.

Scott Widak was 47 years old and terminally ill with liver disease when he came home to go into hospice. To try and cheer him up, his nephew Sean O'Connor posted on Reddit asking if anyone would send his uncle a letter or card.

"Hey Reddit - my 47 year old uncle, Scott Widak, has down syndrome and is terminally ill with liver disease," he wrote. "He is currently bedridden and living out his last days at home with my 85 year old grandmother. One of his favorite things to do is open mail…anyone feel like sending him a letter or card?"

Quickly, the post went viral on Reddit and got thousands of comments. O'Connor told people that his uncle liked opening envelopes and musicians like Johnny Cash, and quickly letters and Johnny Cash CDs poured in. Letters came in from United States, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and Mexico, according to Mashable.

Later, O'Connor expressed his family's gratitude and surprise at the kindness of strangers.

"The mail that's arrived has all been extremely positive and thoughtful," O'Connor told Mashable. "My family and I are amazed at how so many strangers could come together for a random act of kindness."

2. When an unemployed father found a job at the moment he desperately needed one.

Donald Grooms was a 44-year-old dad with a sick wife and a young daughter, and suddenly he was out of a job.

After applying to hundreds of places, he decided in a last-ditch effort to get some attention that he would hand out resumes at a baseball game. So he went to Busch Stadium where the Chicago Cubs were playing the St. Louis Cardinals and did his best to get some attention and meet some prospective employers. Some people gave him props, other people made fun of him, and a Reddit user took his picture.

The post that followed was upvoted 45,000 times and the media blitz and publicity that came from the viral Reddit post helped land Grooms a job with the company Randstad as a Recruiting Assistant. 

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3. When a man received help "visiting" his uncle's grave.

One Canadian Redditor took and a chance and posted in r/Ireland to ask if anyone that lived near a cemetery where his great uncle was buried could visit and have a beer there on St. Patrick's Day.

Of course, Andrew Bourke, who made the request, wasn't exactly expecting someone to go through the trouble of finding the grave. But he figured he might as well try.

As it turns out, according to Metro News, another Reddit user in Ireland thought it'd be worthwhile to make the trip. Not only did he go and find the grave, he took flowers and cleaned things up a bit.

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"Oh. My. God," Rourke wrote when he saw the photo above. "Thank you so much! I am actually in tears."

4. When the Reddit community donated to a shelter because of a homeless man's good deed.

Hollie Black didn't think she'd ever see her medical school work again when her car was broken into and her belongings were stolen, according to ABC News.

But a few weeks later, a homeless man called her when he found the school work in a dumpsterl. To remember the good deed, Hollie's husband, Luke, took a picture of the man with his wife when they met up and thanked him. 

"This homeless man found a bunch of my wife's stolen property strewn all over downtown Tulsa," he said in a Reddit post with the picture. "He took the time to gather it all up in the rain and call us for retrieval. I just want to recognize him as an awesome human being."

One Reddit user figured out the man was someone named Rayford West, and then went further and found the shelter where the homeless man frequented. Once Reddit discovered that, donations began pouring into the homeless shelter, per ABC News.

5. When a Kenyan orphanage was showered with donations.

In 2012, as reported by HuffPost, a 24-year-old named Omari Anthony Nyaega was attacked with a machete while trying to defend a group of 35 children in a Kenyan orphanage. 

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When former Penn State student Ben Hardwick, who had met Nyaega at the orphanage, heard his story, he posted it to Reddit.

Within hours, it was a top post. Hardwick had asked the Reddit community if they could raise $2,000 for a new fence and some cement to protect the orphanage. They ended up raising $80,000, per HuffPost.

6. When a boy with a rare disease got help for his treatment.

A 3-year-old boy diagnosed with an immune deficiency disorder was in need of a transplant, and Reddit improved his chances drastically.

In an act of desperation, Luca Gonzalez family posted to Reddit. "Hi Reddit, I'm Lucas! I'm 3 years old, have a 1 in 1 million disease, and need a bone marrow transplant!" the post read.

Quickly, the post went viral. One Reddit user went on a mission to make sure the Gonzalez family's story was true and confirmed its authenticity.  What he found — and what the family said in their post — laid out a daunting obstacle. They'd have to relocate from Florida to North Carolina so they could take him to a hospital and a doctor that could perform the procedure. The post said living expenses and medical bills would add up to $50,000.

In just a few hours, the family raised $31,000. Within the week, that number broke the $50,000 they needed. As a result, according to The Washington Post, Lucas's dad ended up getting a tattoo of the Reddit robot with a heart on its chest, and the family continuously thanks the Reddit community in annual updates on a Tumblr dedicated to his recovery.

7. When the Reddit community helped someone find their missing mother.

Three years ago, Redditor joshgoldberg89 posted in the New York City subreddit to say that his mother, May Goldberg, had gone missing.  

"Her name is May Goldberg. She is 59 years old, Chinese, 5'6" 115 lbs," he wrote. "She walks with a slight limp due to hip-replacement surgery she had several years ago. She has severe dementia."

Goldberg's post came after contacting the NYPD, but it may have proved to be the deciding factor in his mom's safe return home. 

Later that day, per HuffPost, another Reddit user posted on the same thread to say that she had actually spotted Mrs. Goldberg

"I was walking home from work around 9:30-10PM and I noticed May at East 47th and Lexington Avenue," Redditor geryorama wrote. 'As I saw Josh's post in the afternoon she looked very familiar. I quickly pulled out my phone and visited this page to ensure it is indeed her. When I realized it's her, I approached her, asked for her name, told her that her family is looking for her, and took her to Hyatt Hotel lobby to contact the police."

The next day, Josh went back onto Reddit to confirm the good news, according to HuffPost.

"MY MOM HAS BEEN FOUND!" he wrote. "She is safe, but she is being checked out at the hospital as a precaution. A million thanks to /u/geryorama for finding her on the street and alerting the authorities." 

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