With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a difficult year for many of us.
So, here's a throwback to some of the kind, generous, and selfless things Malaysians did that made it a little better:
1. A group of dedicated teachers at a primary school in Penang helped Standard One students cope with first day jitters by welcoming them in fun costumes
At the start of the year, the devoted educators at SK Seri Relau in Bayan Lepas greeted new and returning students in vibrant outfits.
The school administration dubbed the special programme 'Animation Attack 2020'.
Headmistress Norsilawati Ishak told The Star that she thought it would be nice to entertain the pupils and make them feel at ease as they enter a new school.
She said, "This way, they know we are friendly and they have a good laugh too. It encourages the children to let their creative juices flow as they will feel comfortable expressing themselves."
2. A Malaysian Grab driver travelled over 200km from Melaka to Johor Bahru just to return a Singaporean customer his wallet that was accidentally left in the backseat of his car
The passenger, 31-year-old Carney Mak, took to Facebook to express his gratitude towards his kind Grab driver, Sateesh Karuppusam.
Not only did Sateesh deliver the wallet back to Mak in the exact state he left it, with all his cards and few hundred dollars intact, Sateesh told Mak that he continued to pick up other passengers that day.
"No one saw the wallet or took it," Mak told China Press, "I feel very lucky."
Although not confirmed, a netizen commented that Sateesh and his family were invited for a week-long stay in a hotel in Singapore, all paid for by Mak and his family.
3. A man from Shah Alam, Selangor took it upon himself to scrub down his neighbourhood playground to make sure the children who frequently played there would not get infected with COVID-19
In February, Mustaqim Kumar Abdullah Sooria shared photos of himself cleaning up his neighbourhood's playground on Facebook.
He wrote, "This morning, a lot of people laughed at me for washing the playground at U8 Bukit Jelutong."
However, he said the coronavirus had already infected thousands of people and taken hundreds of lives across the world.
"I volunteered to do this with the intention of helping the people of Bukit Jelutong in hopes that we will not overlook the coronavirus."
4. A landlord of a house in Ampang waived rental for his tenants during the Movement Control Order (MCO), which caught the whole family by pleasant surprise
Netizen Siti Shabariya Sahlan shared a screenshot of the WhatsApp conversation between her husband and her mother-in-law's landlord, Eng.
"Adik, you do not have to pay for the rental for April next month because all of us are struggling to make money due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Use the rental money to help your family instead. Send my regards to your father too. Salam," Eng texted.
Speaking to SAYS, Siti said her mother-in-law has been renting the house in Taman Mulia Jaya, Ampang for over 15 years and they were not facing any financial difficulty.
"Our landlord is just good-hearted," she related, "We are so lucky to have a landlord like Eng."
"In trying times like this, let us all be united to lighten the burden of our brothers and sisters regardless of religion or race because all of us have the same goal... and that is to live a peaceful life," she added.
5. Instead of ordering food for herself, a Malaysian woman decided to belanja her delivery rider to burgers on her birthday
Liyana Zamri ordered and paid for two beef burger sets on Grab to acknowledge food delivery riders' hard work while everyone stayed safe at home.
"Hi Grab driver, you don't need to send to this address. Yesterday was my birthday and it's my treat to a few of you who are working hard," she wrote on the order message.
"Give the other set to another rider okay? Be careful while riding the motorbike! Stay safe!"
Catching the kind act, the restaurant took a photo of the message and posted it on their Facebook page, thanking her for the gesture and said they will give her a treat in return.
6. The Petaling Jaya district police chief went to visit an elderly aunty who used to buy him pau when he was little and discovered she had been keeping newspaper cuttings of him since he became a policeman
PJ district police chief ACP Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal brought the aunty, who is fondly known as Ah Siong, a bag of pau and a box of face masks and they had a good chat.
Although they had not kept in touch, Ah Siong said she remembers Nik Ezanee and showed him her collection of newspaper clippings that feature him, even one about his appointment as the PJ police chief early this year.
"She still remembered me. She read about me in the Chinese newspaper and kept all the news related to me," Nik Ezanee told Malaysiakini, "That took me by surprise."
He added that elderly people held a special place in his heart and reminded the public of the importance of hygiene to protect this high-risk group during the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. An avid cyclist from Selangor was treated to lunch by a family after he embarrassingly mistook their private home as a roadside eatery in Terengganu
Mohd Karbi Mominin shared his hilarious predicament with fellow cycling enthusiasts in Facebook group My Kayuh and said he only realised his mistake after asking to pay for his meal.
"Bakponye nak bayar? Bukannya kedai," replied the mak cik in her Terengganu dialect, which translates to: "Why do you want to pay? This is not a shop."
Mohd Karbi said he was mortified: "It really is funny, but imagine how thick my face had to be to walk out of there."
However, he said he was definitely touched that the mak cik still served him food without question when he ordered it and was thankful for the hospitality shown by her family.
8. A father in Penang returned RM1,400 to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that gave him help seven years ago to put his daughter, who is now a medical doctor, through school
Sharing the story on Facebook, House of Hope said they were pleasantly surprised by the visit and the return of the financial aid.
"He thanked us for the help and announced with a glowing father's pride that his daughter is now a medical doctor in Kedah, and has taken over the responsibility of caring for them," said the NGO.
Speaking to SAYS, the founder and director of the home, Khoo Cheng See, said it was her first time seeing a former beneficiary coming back to return the favour.
"This is the first time the [beneficiary] actually came back to pay us. We never expected that," Khoo said, adding that the money will be channelled back to the foundation to help more families like his.
9. Although a small gesture, a granddaughter was very grateful to a kind stranger who sheltered her grandma from the hot sun while they waited outside to enter a bank
Privitha Maimaran posted a photo of the heartwarming moment on Facebook and it went viral.
"On behalf of my grandmother and family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Malay lady who was holding a file in her hand and protecting my grandmother from the hot sun while they were waiting outside the bank for a long time," Privitha wrote in the caption.
"The reason why I'm sharing this, during this period, still there are people outside there who never differentiate among racists and respect elders from different races," she said.
10. A university student managed to get to an important exam on time with a police officer's help after telling him the traffic jam would make him late
Twitter user @aimadazfar shared the wholesome story of how his cousin made it to his exam despite being held up in traffic caused by an accident on the highway.
They were inching forward in their car when the officer who was guiding the traffic heard their problem and offered the student a ride on his motorbike.
"Thank you very much to the police officer for sending my cousin despite having finished work for the day," he wrote in the tweet.
"Sorry I don't know the name of this abang polis. If you know, please tag him!"
11. A customer was surprised when a Grab rider went all the way to complete her delivery order despite having his phone stolen right outside her apartment
Facebook user Heidy Imt shared how a friend of his, Amanda Choi, encountered a dedicated deliveryman who sent the food to her doorstep before heading to a police station to lodge a report.
Heidy said any other individual would have tried their best to recover their phone first or rush to the police station - but not this rider, whose name is Muhamad Hilmi Othman.
Instead, it was learnt that Hilmi borrowed a phone from the security guards of the apartment and called the Grab helpline to ask for Choi's address to complete the delivery. Without a phone, he even had to mistakenly knock on several doors before he could find the right house.
A few days later, Heidy updated that the story went viral and a member of the public bought Hilmi a brand new Oppo F11 for his selfless act. Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) Deputy Minister Mas Ermieyati also treated Hilmi and his wife to lunch to celebrate the kind deed.
12. 13-year-old Malaysian celebrity chef Danish Harraz offered to pay for half of an employee's salary in hopes that his boss would keep the worker despite the struggling business
The boss, a cobbler from Melaka named Abdul Ghafur, shared on his personal Twitter account that he was sorry to let go of his employee, Mamat, but had to due to slow business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The very next day, the cobbler wrote that he was touched because young chef Danish Harraz had reached out to him and offered to pay a part of Mamat's salary so that they could both continue working together.
However, Abdul Ghafur said he had to decline the aid as he thought the money would be best used by Mamat first hand, and Danish agreed to directly donate to Mamat a sum of RM800.
"I hope this will lessen the burden for Abang Mamat's family a little," wrote the teenager.
13. A MR DIY employee was highly commended for his work ethic after going all out to help a customer get last-minute Deepavali decorations when the store had kept all the decor too early
The customer, Dannis Raj David, took to Facebook to share how he was initially disappointed when he found out the store had put away all the decorations and the staff did not want to assist him.
However, after hearing Dannis' problem, the store's cashier known as Saruni, immediately got up to help and even stood up to the store manager who did not allow him to bring the decorations back out at the start.
When his colleague still failed to retrieve the items from the storage, Saruni then took it upon himself to run to the back and grab the decorations for Dannis to browse through them.
Dannis wrote, "This guy [email protected] is from Tawau and his care for customers and commitment to his job is simply impressive! Any company that has such an employee can be sure that their customers are taken care of."
14. A dedicated teacher in Sibu, Sarawak took the initiative to visit her students, especially the ones with no Internet access, every week to mark their assignments and give them feedback from outside their homes during MCO
The educator of 12 years, Mujalifah Kassim who teaches Bahasa Malaysia in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sibu Jaya, wanted to make sure none of her students were left behind.
"[There] are a few students that don't have electronic devices or Internet access at home, especially those who live in the longhouses outside of the city," she told Harian Metro.
"I do not want them to feel cast aside just because of that. Hopefully, going to their houses will give them some motivation to study even though they have less facilities and convenience to follow online classes."
She added that she stayed outside to respect social distancing and the standard operating procedures set by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.
15. A Malaysian garbage collector working in Singapore found an iPad in the trash and successfully returned it to a delighted owner who said it went missing a year ago
The garbage collector, Muhammad Khidir Samsudin, took to Twitter to share how he found the iPad that seemed in good condition in a plastic bag along with a broken laptop.
In an interview with SAYS, Khidir said he decided to charge the device to see if it was still working and found there was no password set on it.
Finding the owner's Apple ID, he also found an email and decided to get a confirmation on whether the owner, known as Michelle Lim, lost the iPad or threw it away herself.
"When I got the message from her, I called her immediately. Her voice sounded excited but she also wanted to cry," Khidir said.
"When we met to pass the iPad, she looked so happy. I knew that the iPad must have been important and meaningful to her."
16. After an elderly foodpanda delivery rider went viral for working hard despite her age, celebrity Ustaz Ebit Lew decided to reach out to the lady to fix her car and offer her financial aid
The motivational speaker and preacher shared on his Facebook page that he found out her name is Christine Ti from Kuala Lumpur and she lost her job during the early days of the MCO.
"This aunty is so friendly, I couldn't help but feel close to her and I cried listening to all her life stories," he said.
Ti used to work as a writer for an English magazine, but after she was let go, she decided to work as a foodpanda delivery driver.
Amazed by Ti's strength and resilience, Lew offered Ti some spending money and also paid for the service of the 25-year-old car that she drives for work.
He said he wishes the best for Ti, who told him that she is happy and contented with her current job.
Feeling all warm and fuzzy inside? Well, remember to stay safe and stay kind!
Read more #feelgood stories here on SAYS: