Celebs Share the Kindest Thing Anyone's Ever Done for Them
From the littlest things (a smile at the right moment) to the biggest (chartering a jet to be there at a tough time), celebrities share the most meaningful kind moment they've experienced, in hopes of inspiring others to share their own kindness with others. For more, pick up PEOPLE's Kindness Issue, on stands now
"I was going through a really, really difficult time, and I was on the phone with Tyler Perry. I was feeling bad. Next thing I know he flies from Atlanta to L.A., shows up at my house and puts his hands on my face. He said, I need to see your face in person to know you are okay. That was something I won't forget."
"I remember being broke, and I was trying to get enough change together to buy some cookies so that I could have some food. So I am in line at the store counting my change. This woman behind me was like, 'Go ahead, I got it.' That I will never forget."
“My parents instilled empathy in me, which is a hard thing to do. You can’t aspire to anything unless you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how they see the world.”
"When I was growing up, my best friend's parents filled in when I lost my mom and then my dad. I had a lot of rally around from the community. I'm always aware of it and grateful."
"One of the kindest things that anybody's ever done for me is asked me how I am and really wanted to know. Because I think when we ask people how they are, we're often not prepared to really be present for an honest answer."
Bryce Dallas Howard
"I had to do press six days after I had surgery for an injury. I could barely walk. I needed compression garments for stitches. I called Bloomingdale's, and I told the woman I couldn't get there. She said, 'I'm going to get you those Spanx.' She walked to my place on New York's Upper West Side and left a note: 'You feel like a caterpillar and you're going to be a butterfly.' This woman I didn't even know. When you're vulnerable and someone does something for you, it says everything."
“The kindest thing someone has ever done for me was believing in me. At the time there was no logical reason, no sure bet behind that belief, they just believed. That support gave me the courage to keep going. Looking back, that belief may be the only reason I’m doing what I’m doing today. Take that belief away, and it’s scary to think how differently things could have turned out. Moral of the story: Find someone to believe in today. It may just change the world.”
“I was on a plane recently with [my 3-year-old daughter] Birdie and [my new baby] Buddy, and this older man saw that I was struggling. He said, ‘Ma’am, can I please help you?’ I think he could tell I was about to bawl my eyes out.”
"I was the recipient of many acts of kindness during my illness — from people who had walked through cancer, who shared with me their really intimate experiences, to the nurses and caregivers and doctors who helped me get through that incredibly challenging time. I’m a big believer in generosity in moments of crisis.”
Giada de Laurentiis
“Anytime a fan posts a picture of a dish of mine that they wowed their family with, that feels so good. When I get feedback that what I’m doing is helping people, my soul just fills up.”
“Recently, I received two emails from two extraordinary people and they wrote to tell me just how much I meant and that really touched me. Those acts that we think we forget about like ‘Oh I should tell somebody that’ and we don’t – they remind you that there are people are out there listening. It’s very special.”
“The builder who’s been working on my house is very sweet. Recently, he said, ‘My wife's seen all your movies and wouldn't let me come in if I didn't give you a present. Do you like honey?’ Then he got out this huge tub of honey. He said it's from Ukraine, straight from his neighbor’s bees. It’s amazing honey.”
"We had to sell chocolate bars [as a fundraiser] when I was in grade school. Our neighbor Mrs. Bono wouldn't buy from any other kid, just me and my sister. She bought 20 chocolate bars that she didn't need."
“The kindest thing people have ever done for me is just show kindness, show empathy, to stand up to bullies, to comfort me after my grandmother died. I fundamentally believe this—and the research shows—kindness begets kindness. It's sounds circular, but there's something important there.”
Lauren Miller & Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen: "Lauren married me. It was a lovely thing."
Lauren Miller: "And I was going say that Seth uses his voice to bring light to [Alzheimer's,] a disease that has affected my family, which has of course become his family. But that we do this together, I think is the kindest thing anyone's ever done."
“When I first started modeling, I moved to Paris. My first year there was rough, and I remember right around my 18th birthday I was having a tough time. I was alone, going to castings and feeling bummed that for the first time I wouldn’t be spending the day celebrating with my friends and family. When I returned to the apartment at the end of the day, there were hundreds of birthday cards waiting for me. My mum had called almost everyone I knew in the world and asked them to send me a card. I sat on my little bed and read so many special birthday cards, and it absolutely made my day, week, month, birthday!”
"When I lost my mother, someone who was super-far away dropped everything they were doing and came to see me. A whole bunch of my friends that did that - once they heard the news, they were like, 'I'm on a plane first thing this morning.'
They didn't have to do that. But I appreciated that because I needed it, and I didn't know how bad I needed it until they got there."
"My mom lets me sleep in and gets up with my son when I just need that extra hour. My son tells me I look beautiful when I get dressed up. I think his dad [Justin Timberlake] prompts him to do that, but it doesn't matter. It's the greatest thing when your 4-year-old's like, 'Mom, you look so pretty.'"
“My grandmother made a blanket for me when I was born, and it has not aged well. I brought it to multiple tailors and was told it could not be repaired. I was out of town for a couple of weeks on tour, and Melyssa [my wife, pictured] somehow figured out how to reassemble it. It’s the only thing I have left of my grandma, who has long since passed, and she had somehow sewn it all back together.”
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
"The kindest thing is when my team forgives me every time I'm demonic because of the pressures of life."
“My mother moved out to Los Angeles when we had no money. It was a big transitional time for her just to kind of like trust me to see if I could make it happen. It was unbelievably selfless. Mothers are the MVPs of the world. I could never honor my mother enough or women in general. Honestly, thank God she did it. It changed my life.”
"When I was battling my cancer, the man that I was involved with at the time actually kind of put his own life on the back burner. He literally quit his job and moved in with me and took care of me. That was pretty incredible."
“The kindest thing someone has ever done for me is believe in me. When I made the transition to directing, I had so much support from people who truly believed in me, and that meant the world to me.”
"I can't help but think, my son. You know, my labor was very quick with him. That was pretty kind."
Renée Elise Goldsberry
"I was trying to get to an event for my movie, and my connecting flight from Dallas was canceled — I could not get out of there, and I couldn't get my suitcase. They put me up in a hotel around 1:00 a.m., and when I got there, I had the clothes I was wearing all day and nothing else — no toothbrush, no nothing, and I knew I was going to have to leave first thing in the morning to do press.
The woman at the front desk said I could use the hotel washing machine ... but when I hung up I realized, I don’t have any clothes to wear to go down and I think it is probably not a good idea to wear a towel to a basement of a hotel in a city that I don’t live in.
So I called her back and said, 'Thank you so much but I am not going to come down and get the detergent because I don’t have any clothes to wear.' She called me back two minutes later and she said, 'I will wash your clothes.' I started crying and she said, 'I am just going to be working the front desk all night long. I will wash your clothes. I will dry them. And I will have them waiting for you before your flight tomorrow.'
It was an act of kindness. And I woke up and opened my door and there was a little package with my clothes. Nicely folded. And when I walked out she said, 'I got you, girl.' I don’t even know her name!"
"I am holding hands with a very kind human being here [wife Trisha Yearwood]. There is a movie [About Time] where the guy ... has to make this toast at a wedding ... and finally he decides that the word is: Kind. You want to marry someone who is kind. And that is a beautiful thing."
"When I arrive at the airport and my husband picks me up from the airport instead of me having to [call] a car. Anyone else would be like, 'Oh yeah, I’ll see you at home!' He would actually take that time out of his day and come to the airport to pick me up. Who does that? No one does that."
"Maybe Tyler Perry singlehandedly reaching out and rejuvenating my career. It’s just incredible what he’s done for me, what he’s done for so many people.
People are doing kind things all the time. I am embarrassed by all of the kind things people do for me. I go into stores and people want me to go in line in front of them. People offer to pay for my goods. I mean, people are so kind and so nice and so supportive all the time."
"Any time anyone has taken a chance on me, I consider it an act of kindness because in this business, nobody ever has to do anything for you. So, in a weird way, any time anyone has pointed at me and said, ‘Yeah, sure. You can be part of our group or our club, or we’ll give you a job,’ it’s an act of kindness."
Candace Cameron Bure
"Smiles go a long way for me. I know that sounds really simple. But it can change a day when you walk by someone and they smile at you. Whether you're in a good mood or bad mood, when you interact with someone, a smile is so kind. Never underestimate the power of a smile."
Samuel L. Jackson
"When someone sees me and tells me they appreciate my work. Not just saying, 'I'm a fan, can we take a picture?'"
"My husband is also my manager. And that's hard to do sometimes. He just lifts me up."
“My kids let me make them pancakes and they said they were good and that was pretty kind because it was a lie.”
"When I couldn't afford acting classes, I had teachers who were like, 'Well, can you help out around the studio?' And back in the day I would mop floors for acting classes and clean toilets. My teachers have been amazing to me. I wouldn't be here without them."