Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
12:10 AM 13th November 2021

9 Out Of 10 Brits Have Performed An Unexpected ‘Good Deed’ For Someone

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash
Britain is a nation full of ‘do-gooders’ it seems, as a whopping 9 out of 10 (91%) UK adults have performed a good deed for a friend, family member or stranger with no expectation of thanks or reward in the past year, according to a new study.

With World Kindness Day on 13th November, UK train operator  Grand Central have been eager to discover more about just how many random acts of kindness are happening across the UK, and they surveyed 2,000 UK adults to find out more.

The poll highlighted that almost half of UK adults have done something unexpectedly kind for someone else in the past week (44%), with a further fifth (20%) having done so in the past fortnight.

Forty per cent of those surveyed have also been at the receiving end of a kind deed in the past week. In total, eight in ten (82%) Brits could recall at least one good deed being done for them in the past 12 months.

Just eight percent of Brits cannot remember the last time they did a good deed for someone and 16% can’t recall the last time someone did something unexpectedly kind for them.

Studies have shown that the simple act of doing something nice for another person has known health benefits due to an increase in oxytocin for both the giver and the receiver. Side effects include reduced anxiety levels, lower blood pressure, an improvement to overall heart health, increased self-esteem, and feelings of optimism².

For those in search of some ‘do-gooder’ inspiration, Grand Central also quizzed Brits about the random acts of kindness they value the most. Above all else, an unexpected compliment was found to be the favourite act of kindness across the nation (48%).

Other things favoured by the nation included being thanked for help given (30%), being let in front of someone in a queue for the bus (30%), having the door held open for them (27%), being treated to a hot drink or food item unexpectedly (27%), and seeing someone do something nice for others such as helping the homeless, donating to charity etc. (26%).

The UK’s Most Favoured Act of Kindness  % 
Being given an unexpected compliment  48% 
Being thanked for your help or support of another person  30% 
Someone letting you in front of them in line at the shops/on public transport  30% 
Having the door held open for you  27% 
Someone treating you to a hot drink/food item  27% 
Seeing someone do a charitable act for other (e.g., helping a homeless person)  26% 
Someone offering to help with your bag(s) or suitcase  25% 
Another driver letting you merge in front of them in busy traffic  25% 
Receiving an unexpected text asking you “How are you?” / “How was your day?”  24% 
Someone helping you when you're lost  24% 
Being sent a card or package from a friend or family member for no specific occasion or reason   23% 
Someone catching up with you to give you the item you've dropped/left behind   22% 
Being given a seat on a crowded bus or train  22% 
Being baked a surprise cake for your birthday  21% 
Someone paying your bill at a restaurant / bar  20% 
Being given flowers for no specific occasion or reason   20% 
Being made / brought dinner by a friend  20% 
Being given a pay and display ticket with time left on it by another driver  19% 
Being offered a lift by a friend / family member  19% 
Someone helping you up if you trip over  17% 


A fifth of those surveyed (21%) said that being offered a seat on a busy train or bus was the kind deed most likely to make them smile.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Recently, TV and Radio presenter Adrian Chiles shared his own heart-warming experience of a random act of kindness he received from a stranger whilst travelling by rail, and with more than 387million passengers reported to have travelled on the UK’s trains this year, the UK train operator is eager to find more examples of this from their passengers.

In a bid to showcase the country’s kindness, Grand Central Rail are asking the nation to nominate anyone who has done a good deed for them over the past year and are offering the chance to take home a prize of two first-class Grand Central Rail tickets* as well as a £100 Love2Shop voucher.

To be in with a chance of winning, entrants must share details about the person they’re nominating and the act of kindness that took place, with the option to submit an image to support their entry before midnight on the Friday 26th November 2021. 

Further details on how to enter, as well as full T&Cs can be found on the Grand Central website. Good luck to all those who enter.  

Emily Jordan, Marketing and Communication Executive for Grand Central Rail commented:  
“It really is wonderful to see that kindness is so widespread across the UK, even if many of us are unaware of the small acts of charity that are taking place around us every day.

“After such a turbulent couple of years, we really hope that through launching our competition, we help to showcase some of the wonderful ‘do-gooders’ out there and pay homage to these folks who simply want to do something kind for another human being. In turn, we hope this inspires others to look out for those who may need a little boost to brighten their day.

“With World Kindness Day fast approaching, we also hope to encourage everyone across the nation to do something nice for a friend, loved one, or stranger. It’s clear that something as small as giving up your seat to someone on a busy train can make a big difference to someone’s day.

“For those entering our competition, we want to wish you the best of luck and we’re looking forward to reading the stories you share with us.”