These days, it seems as if it's hard to scroll through newsfeeds or watch TV without feeling overwhelmed by a surplus of negative content. Of course, there are sad things happening around the world at any given moment, but because of its heightened coverage in the news and on social media, we often forget that good things are happening all around us too.
Here at The Daily Meal, we cover a lot of product launches, pop culture news, food poisoning outbreaks, recalls and so forth, but from time to time we have the opportunity to share stories about people doing well by others. Take for example Dalton Shaffer, an 18-year-old pizzeria manager, who drove an epic three and a half hours to deliver a dying man his favorite pizza at 2:30 in the morning. Then, he simply turned around and made the trek back home because he had to work the next morning.
People like this give us faith in humanity. They remind us that there's still love left in the world, whether the act of kindness was performed by an individual or big corporate company. After reading these anecdotes from the last couple years, we hope you can find it in your heart to pay it forward and do something nice for someone today, big or small. Without further ado, we give to you the most inspiring food-related stories.
Chef José Andrés Nominated for 2019 Nobel Peace Prize
After culinary do-gooder José Andrés was named "Humanitarian of the Year," the Spanish-American chef who helped feed Puerto Rico was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. To read the full story, click here.
Chick-fil-A Cashier Returns Forgotten $3 Change Weeks Later
The cashier at a Chick-fil-A in Texas saved $3 in change that a customer left behind. A month later, he was able to return it, and the recipient was elated. To read the full story, click here.
Selfless Stranger Saves Texas Mom From Kids Crying During Target Trip
A mom shopping at a Target in Texas was about to put all her groceries back on the shelf because her young children were throwing tantrums, but a kind stranger helped console them so she could finish up. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Rebecca Paterson / Jonathan Weiss / Dreamstime.com
Fast Food Employee Feeds Disabled Customer
An employee at Brazilian fast food restaurant Giraffas was videoed feeding a disabled customer who was unable use his arms to cut and lift a fork to his mouth. To read the full story, click here.
Hero Diner Stops Shooting After Gunman Kills 4 at Waffle House
After a gunman opened fire inside a Waffle House in Tennessee, 29-year-old James Shaw Jr. bravely charged the shooter and wrestled the gun away. To read the full story, click here.
Whole Foods Worker Lhakpa Sherpa Summits Mount Everest for a Record 9th Time
A Whole Foods employee from Hartford, Connecticut, climbed Mount Everest for a record-breaking ninth time just eight months after the birth of her first child - while she was two months pregnant with her second. To read the full story, click here.
Hartford Courant Photo by Michael Kodas
'Tony Was a Symphony': Chefs React to Anthony Bourdain's Death
Shortly after Anthony Bourdain tragically passed away on June 8, tributes to the dearly beloved chef, author and television personality poured in over social media. To read the full story, click here.
Craig Barritt / Stringer / Getty Images for The New Yorker
Viral Kit Kat Guy's Candy Bar Proposal Is the Sweetest Thing Ever
After a man went viral for biting his Kit Kat bar a super-weird way, he proposed to his girlfriend with a ring inside a 3D-printed version of the candy. To read the full story, click here.
Starbucks Opens First American Sign Language Store
Starbucks announced it would open its very first U.S. signing store in Washington, D.C. Staffers would include a mix of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing employees who are all proficient In American Sign Language. The store opened in October. To read the full story, click here.
First-Ever Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner Celebrates 100th Birthday With the Doughboy
The second-place winner of the first-ever Pillsbury Bake-Off celebrated her 100th birthday with none other than the Pillsbury Doughboy himself. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Pillsbury
Woman Pays for Down-and-Out Wawa Customer, Doesn't Realize It's Keith Urban
A New Jersey woman helped cover the cost of a man's gas at Wawa because he was a few dollars short, only to later realize it was country star Keith Urban. To read the full story, click here.
IHOP Waitress' Act of Kindness 'Thrills' Man With Down Syndrome
An IHOP waitress in Texas gifted a name tag to a superhero named Dwayne Roach, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome. It read "Captain America" - because that's how Roach liked to introduce himself. To read the full story, click here.
RiverNorthPhotography / Shutterstock
Denny's Mobile Relief Diner Feeds Hurricane Survivors in the Carolinas
In an effort to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence, Denny's sent a "Mobile Relief Diner" to North Carolina and South Carolina, where it was used to serve free hot meals to residents, first responders, volunteers and others. To read the full story, click here.
Matt Damon Helps Turn Beer Into Water for Charity
Matt Damon partnered with Stella Artois to raise money through his charity, Water.org., to provide clean water in the developing world. Each 12-pack purchased resulted in a donation sufficient to provide clean water for one person for an entire year. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Stella Artois
Starbucks Manager and State Troopers Team Up to Watch Baby So Mom Can Work
A barista in Winston-Salem, North Carolina called her manager in tears at 4:30 a.m. because she couldn't find anyone to watch her baby, so she brought the infant into work at Starbucks. Soon after their arrival, two regulars, who also happened to be state troopers, came in and briefly cared for the child so her mother could work. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Harper Spell
102-Year-Old Says Chocolate Is the Key to Longevity
Eunice Modlin, a 102-year-old woman from Boonville, Indiana, says the key to living a long life is eating two pieces of dark chocolate and taking a nap every day. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Tammy Modlin Gentry
'Candy Man' Gives Away 6,000 Hershey Bars in Decadelong Act of Kindness
Bob Williams, a 93-year-old man from Long Grove, Iowa, has been making strangers smile for the past 10 years by handing out Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars every week. Locals call him "The Candy Man." To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Hershey's
100-Year-Old Chick-fil-A Customer Gets Free Food for Life on His Birthday
A Chick-fil-A regular known as "Mr. Steve" was feeling very grateful when the chain gifted him free food for the rest of his life on his 100th birthday, which was celebrated at his local outpost in Oldsmar, Florida. To read the full story, click here.
John Legend and Misty Copeland Perform to Improve Access to Fresh Produce
Singer John Legend and ballet queen Misty Copeland came together to help give fresh produce to communities in need - and the age-old shopping cart dance was involved. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Naked Juice
Friends Launch GoFundMe for Dying 'Top Chef' Contestant
Friends of "Top Chef" contestant Fatima Ali started a GoFundMe after she was told she had just one year to live due to an aggressive type of cancer. The money would help her afford her dream of traveling and eating around the world. To read the full story, click here.
Salvation Army Promises to Fight Hunger by Opening Nonprofit Grocery Stores in Food Deserts
To help fight hunger in America, the Salvation Army vowed to open grocery stores in food deserts to bring nutritious, low-cost food to people who might otherwise have difficulty affording or accessing it. To read the full story, click here.
600 Volunteer Mentors Show Up for 'Breakfast With Dads Day' at Middle School
Although they only needed 50 stand-ins, Billy Earl Dade Middle School had 600 male volunteers show up for its "Breakfast With Dads Day" event to dine with students without father figures. To read the full story, click here.
Courtesy of Stephanie Drenka
Pizza Boy Drives 225 Miles to Deliver Cancer Patient's Favorite Pie
Dalton Shaffer, the 18-year-old manager of Steve's Pizza in Battle Creek, Michigan, drove an epic three and a half hours to deliver a pepperoni and mushroom pizza to a man with terminal cancer at 2:30 in the morning. To read the full story, click here.
Yelp / Alex M.
Cafeteria Worker Writes and Draws on Bananas to Inspire Elementary School Students
An elementary school cafeteria worker in Virginia Beach, Virginia, went viral for writing inspiring messages on students' bananas. Some of her messages included "You are loved," "Follow your dreams" and "It isn't where you come from, it's where you're going that counts." To read the full story, click here.
4nadia / istockphoto
John Legend Pays Off $5,000 in School Lunch Debt for 99 Seattle Schools
John Legend donated $5,000 to a GoFundMe page created to erase Seattle school district lunch debt after seeing the campaign on Twitter. To read the full story, click here.
Chick-fil-A Employee Heroically Saves Colleague From Choking
High-schooler Andrew Myrant was on his lunch break from his shift at Chick-fil-A when he noticed his colleague choking. He quickly responded and administered the Heimlich maneuver, saving his co-worker's life. To read the full story, click here.
Love Notes Lead to the Most Romantic Proposal at an Airport Starbucks
After years of leaving love notes for each other to find at Starbucks all over the world, Austin Mann proposed to Esther Havens at a Starbucks in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where they'd first met years before. To read the full story, click here.
Donnie Wahlberg Leaves $2,000 Tip at Waffle House
Donnie Wahlberg, who is a huge fan of Waffle House and has been visiting the chain on nearly every stop of his New Kids on the Block tour, left a $2,000 tip on an $82.60 bill for one very happy Waffle House server. To read the full story, click here.
Anonymous Woman Pays for Firefighters' $400 Denny's Bill
Twenty-five firefighters, who had just spent the day putting out a brush fire in La Loma Hills, California, were treated to dinner by a generous woman who anonymously paid their $400 Denny's bill. To read the full story, click here.
Retirees Knit Sweaters for Chickens to Help Them Produce More Eggs
A knitting club at a retirement home near Boston set out to keep chickens warm during the colder months with stylish and colorful sweaters. To read the full story, click here.
Little Girl Joins Police Officer Eating Alone at Panera
Steven Dearth, a Hingham, Massachusetts, police offer, made an unlikely friend in 4-year-old Lillian, who joined him while he was eating alone at Panera. To read the full story, click here.
Man Spends $1,300 Buying Ice Cream for Every Single Customer at a Texas Shop
A man stopped by a small ice cream shop in Fort Worth, Texas, just to validate a parking ticket, but ended up spending three hours and $1,300 buying frozen treats for customers. To read the full story, click here.
IHOP Waiter Offered a Job After Helping to Feed a Disabled Customer
After a photo of restaurant server Joe Thomas in Springfield, Illinois, went viral, he received job offers to become a nurse. To read the full story, click here.
Grocery Store Worker Takes a Lonely Widower Out to Dinner
Ellie Walker, a grocery store worker at Sainsbury's in Leeds, England, treated one of her favorite customers to dinner over the holidays. To read the full story, click here.
Departed Dad's Lost Recipe for Fried Meat Makes His Daughter a Multimillionaire
Hiroe Tanaka was struggling with her restaurant when she miraculously found her late father's handwritten recipe for his signature meat skewers. Using the recipe, Tanaka opened up a shop that went viral, eventually building an $82 million business. To read the full story, click here.
Customer Pays for a Popeyes Employee's Nursing School Education
A retired Kansas City police officer, Donald Carter, raised money for Popeyes employee Shajuana Mays to help her achieve her dream of attending nursing school. To read the full story, click here.
A Customer Gave a Waitress a $500 Tip to Help Fix Her Broken Hearing Aid
Keri Marie Carlson, a waitress at GW Carson's in Branford, Connecticut, was the recipient of a generous tip when a customer, who asked to remain anonymous, gave her money to repair her hearing aids. To read the full story, click here.
College Football Player Who Befriended a Lonely Schoolkid Drafted by the Giants
Travis Rudolph, at the time a wide receiver for the Florida State University football team, made headlines in 2016 when he visited a middle school in Tallahassee and befriended Bo Paske, a boy with autism who typically spent lunches alone in the cafeteria. But the story doesn't end there - a year later, Rudolph was selected in the NFL draft. To read the full story, click here.
12-Year-Old Entrepreneur With Down Syndrome Starts a Cupcake Shop
Wisconsin middle-schooler John Truel didn't let his young age or Down syndrome get in the way of becoming an entrepreneur, as he co-owns a cupcake shop in Marshfield along with his mother. To read the full story, click here.
Chick-fil-A Employees Learn Sign Language to Celebrate Co-Worker's Birthday
Chick-fil-A employees at the Cache Road location in Lawton, Oklahoma, learned sign language to help celebrate the birthday of their co-worker James, who is hearing impaired. To read the full story, click here.
Australian Grandmother Has the Time of Her Life Smashing Cake for Her 90th Birthday
A photographer captured her grandmother's 90th birthday with a photo shoot of her wearing a tiara and delightfully destroying her red velvet birthday cake. To read the full story, click here. We can only hope that there are just as many (if not more) reasons to feel inspired next year. To keep the positive energy flowing at full capacity, we could all benefit from these 15 nice things you need to say more often.