12 Stories From “The Moth” That Will Have You Reaching for Tissues

Inspiring, heartbreaking, joyful: Trust us, you'll fall in love with each of these amazing true stories.

the-moth-collageGlenn Glasser for Reader's Digest

Everyone has a story, and those stories have always been the beating heart of Reader’s Digest and of real life. By turns wise, funny, and inspired, these 12 were told before exuberant audiences at events held by the Moth, the most celebrated live storytelling group in the country, and chosen by our editors. They show that for all our differences, together our experiences merge in the telling into the single narrative of America.

july-august-2016-best-stories-senior-home-ftRebecca Mock for Reader's Digest

How Do You Make a Room Full of 90-Year-Olds Feel 18? Ask Them To Dance
How a young man brought joy to a senior home by asking one simple question.

a-hero-in-disguiseiStock/Pgiam

A Lifeguard Saved Two Kids From Drowning. The Mother’s Response Will Sicken You.
Never judge a hero by his tattoos.

cancer-survivor-last-mealiStock/g-stockstudio

“I Was Grateful Just to Be Hungry”: One Man’s Stirring Tale of Overcoming Cancer
Getting his appetite back was a sure sign he was heading toward remission.

july-august-2016-best-stories-soldier-ftShannon Taggart for Reader's DigestThis Army Veteran Was at Rock Bottom. Then a Cop Pulled Him Over and Changed His Life.
Fred Johnson suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his deployment in Iraq. But it took a night in the local jail for him to start on the road to recovery.

july-august-2016-best-stories-grand-canyon-ftLevente Szabo for Reader's Digest

A Widow Went White Water Rafting With Her Husband’s Ashes. What Happened Next Was Devastatingly Beautiful.
How Neshama Franklin wound up paying tribute to her late husband—and healing herself in the process.

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He Was the Only Black Boy Scout to Get His Swimming Badge. The Camp’s Reaction Will Disgust You.
One Moth storyteller explains the courage it took to accomplish what no one thought he could.

sesame-street-almost-killed-my-son-ftiStock/Lokibaho

‘Sesame Street’ Nearly Killed Our Son With Autism
A parent recounts a harrowing tale about raising a child with an obsessive mind.

july-august-2016-best-stories-phonebooth-ftAmanda Friedman for Reader's Digest

The Best Love Letter I Ever Got Came From a Near-Deaf Crime Reporter
In this true tale from the Moth, America’s premier storytelling group, a woman recalls a humorous story from her early days as a journalist.

fifth-grade-heroSusan Chiang

That Time My Fifth Grade Classmate Stood Up to My Bullies and Became My Hero
I will always remember how it felt when she spoke up for me.

saying-goodbye-to-dadiStock/Barcin

My Father Was Dying in the Hospital. Then Another Patient Changed Everything.
When it came time to take my dad off of life support, I felt completely helpless. Then a perfect stranger made a heartbreaking situation slightly more bearable.

grandmother-accepts-sexualityiStock/fotografixx

I Was Afraid to Tell My Grandmother I Was Gay. Her Reaction Left Me Speechless.
For years, I lived in fear that my conservative grandmother would discover I was gay. Once she did, the reality warmed my heart.

how-convicts-saved-meiStock/sakhorn38

My Closest Friends in College Were Inmates at Washington State Penitentiary. Here’s What They Taught Me.
For two years, I volunteered counseling prisoners at the penitentiary near my college. Though I knew I was helping them, I never realized how much they helped me.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest