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Inspirational Stories

Reader’s Digest has the stories to lift your spirits and fill you with hope in your darkest moments. We’ve promised to be a source of joy, and these stories deliver. From everyday heros to reunited long-lost siblings, we’ve got the stories to inspire you.

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An Old Friend Performs a Small Holiday Miracle—and Saves Christmas for a Single Mom

The year Santa’s suit went from signature red to true blue

Meet the Kind Strangers Who Became Real Christmas Elves to Kids in Need

When local kids needed more than toys, strangers started checking off Santa’s list


A Pair of Beagles Were Left to Wander in the Snow—Until a Kind Stranger Took Them In

The story of an expectant couple and a wise man (but not the ones you’re thinking of)


Meet the Couple Who Became Real-Life Versions of Santa After Receiving Mysterious Letters

A Christmas mystery turns an unassuming couple into Santa Claus


This 16-Year-Old Saved a Group of Teenage Girls After Their Car Plunged into a River

Sixteen-year-old Corion Evans made a daring rescue to save three teenage girls after their car sunk into the water

John Cena Breaks the Record for the Most Make-a-Wish Requests Granted

The wrestler and actor says he'll never stop fulfilling the wishes of critically-ill children who ask for a chance to...


Readers Share the Incredible True Stories of Their Hero Pets

We're pawsitive you'll love these stories of courageous animals

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This Pet Squirrel Nobly Protected His Home During a Robbery—and Even Helped Catch the Culprit

Joey the squirrel came out claws a blazing, protecting his beloved home from an intruder


From Rescued to Rescuer: Meet the Pup Who Helped Save a Trapped Neighbor

A dog takes off on his owner—but his escape act saves the day for a neighbor in need


Man’s Best Friend, Indeed: This Pit Bull Fought Off a Shark to Save His Owner

There's no way the shark would take a chunk out of his owner—not on Darby's watch


Meet the Duo Who Spend Their Free Time Cleaning Up the Graves of Fallen Soldiers

A college student and a retiree pair up for a good deed—and develop a friendship along the way

How One Man’s Dream—and a Community’s Determination—Brought the Kingsport Carousel to Life

They may not have been carpenters or mechanics by trade, but residents of Kingsport, Tennessee, had just the thing to...


Solve a Math Problem, Get Free Food: How the Lucky Candy Bodega Uses Math—and Kindness—to Help the C...

The Bronx bodega's challenge aims to help those in need—and keep those math skills sharp too


My Southern Accent, Lost and Found

For years, I denied this part of myself—until I realized what I was missing


This Man Jumped Off a Bridge to Save a Child After a Car Accident

A car crashes on a bridge and a child is catapulted into the water below. Who will save her?


These Teens Serve on the Front Lines of Their Local Fire Department

In an unexpected turn of events, these teenagers went from math class to answering ambulance calls.

These Volunteers Risked Their Lives to Save 2,000 Animals from War-Torn Ukraine

Amid constant danger, volunteers at a Ukraine pet shelter are making sure no animal is left behind.


These Fathers Formed “Dads on Duty” to Prevent Violence at a Local High School

When gang violence spiked, concerned dads at this Louisiana high school said “Not on our watch."


This Pediatric Social Worker Creates Dolls That Represent Every Kind of Child

Amy Jandrisevits believes that representation matters—and that all kids should have a doll that looks like them.


This Town’s Most Famous Resident Is a Pink Pig Named Ernestine

When Joanne Clayton spotted a stray animal near her home in Illinois, she had no idea how important it would...


This Cyclist Has Given More Than 450 Adaptive Bikes to Children in Need

The idea for the McLindon Family Foundation began with one thoughtful act of kindness.


This Father and Son Saved a Fisherman After He Fell Overboard

There was no one aboard the pleasure craft that almost T-boned them. So a father and son went fishing for...


These 8 Chance Encounters with Kind Strangers Will Warm Your Heart

Readers share their accounts of kind people who helped them when they needed it the most.


These Neighbors Rushed to Help a Man and His Son After They Fell Into a Well

A father's worst nightmare came true when his child fell down a well. After jumping in after his son, he...


This Man Uses His Own Money to Buy New Basketball Nets for Playgrounds

Anibal Amador knows that basketball is nothing without the net.

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When This Woman’s Cat Got Stuck in a Tree, Neighbors Stepped Up to Help

“I can’t believe how many people went out of their way to help me with this cat."


This Man Found His Purpose by Sitting on a Bench and Listening to Strangers

Each morning, Al Nixon sits on a bench, watches the sunrise, and connects with strangers from all walks of life.


Welcoming Ukrainian Refugees: 13 Stories That Will Renew Your Faith in Humanity

Instead of waiting to figure out the "right" way to help, these people are leaping into action to help Ukrainian...


Meet the Woman Who Turns Chip Bags Into Sleeping Bags for the Homeless

How one environmental justice advocate is helping the most vulnerable while also diverting trash from landfills


How These Readers Found a Silver Lining During the Pandemic

If you wish you’d had a fast-forward button to push in March 2020, you’re not alone. But some readers...


30 Stories About the Touching Kindness of Strangers That’ll Make You Tear Up

We asked readers for firsthand accounts of compassion. Here are 30 stories on kindness that touched your lives—and our hearts.