Random Acts of Kindness Day: 5 feel-good Chicago stories to celebrate

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CHICAGO — Wednesday is Random Acts of Kindness Day, and there have been several heartwarming tales from this past calendar year.

From good Samaritans to folks simply looking to lend a helping hand,  including many right here in Chicago, here are five of the best random acts of kindness from the past 365 days.

Chicago McDonald’s employee helps disabled man eat his meal 

In September 2015, a photo went viral of a McDonald’s employee helping a disabled man eat his food. According to the woman who posted the photo to Facebook, the cashier, identified as Kenny Soriano-Garcia, assisted a man in a wheelchair after the man asked for help cutting his food. The image has been shared more than 400,000 times.

Soldier from Chicago goes viral for random act of kindness

Army Ranger Lt. Col. Robert Risdon, 45, from Chicago, was featured in a viral video on Facebook after he bought meals for two boys who came into a Taco Bell looking to sell baked goods for their church. In an interview with WGNTV.com, Risdon said the boys looked cold, tired and hungry. “When I saw those boys (walk in), it just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. The resulting video has garnered more than 1 million views on Facebook.

Chicago coach surprises basketball team with new shoes

Doug Morrow, a coach and teacher at McNair Academy, had the team all sit on the bleachers, like they were in trouble. Little did they know they were in for a great surprise. McNair proceeded to give them each a new pair of Nike basketball shoes and a practice jerseys, which he bought with money he raised by himself. The coach said the team deserved the gifts for their hard work. Many players, he said, had previously been playing with worn out or improper basketball shoes.

Chicago's Darling: Hawks goalie's act of kindness goes viral

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Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling received some praise a few weeks ago after a story of his generosity went viral. A hockey player in Phoenix recounted a story on social media that an Uber driver had told him: Darling met a man in Arizona who had fallen on tough times, presumably homeless. The Lemont native, riding in the same Uber as the Twitter user who retold the story, went with the man to a hotel and paid for him to stay there for a month until he got back on his feet. He also paid for the man's groceries. Darling later acknowledged the story, tweeting, "Just paying it forward Lucky to be in a position to help."

Chicago couple's act of kindness on the CTA's Blue Line goes viral

In November 2015, a photo of a couple went viral following their random act of kindness on a CTA train. Passenger Jack Stankovic said he was traveling on the Blue Line when he saw the couple slip a sleeping, disabled homeless man some money before stepping off the train. Touched by the kind act, Stankovic shared the photo on social media. In the first five days the picture was shared by more than 70,000 people. "Thank you for establishing my faith in humanity," Stankovic wrote. "Let's all share and thank this guy and girl."