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Because You Were Nice to Me
Wendy: But why you? Why are you willing to go up against Roark for someone you barely know?
Marv: She was nice to me.
Wendy: She was desperate. She needed protection and knew how to keep you around. It didn't work out. You don't owe her anything.
Marv: She was nice to me. She gave me something I didn't know existed. I wasn't never even able to buy a woman, the way I look.
Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.

A character, sometimes the Butt Monkey of a given work, is treated for the first time in their lives with genuine kindness and friendship. As is such, they will be exceptionally loyal to their benefactor, even if the benefactor themself admits that it was all a lie.

The nature of this character type is such that their loyalty to their benefactor will extend to generally absurd lengths. Not even the benefactor themself will be able to persuade them that they had cruel ulterior motives — this can be problematic if the Butt Monkey in question ends up turning Ax-Crazy. Can be part of a Heel-Face Turn. Though this trope is often portrayed sympathetically, it is also what often creates the Stalker with a Crush and the Yandere.

Will be immune to Twisting the Words. Often is also The Woobie. Related to It Meant Something to Me. See also Disproportionate Reward and the animal version, Androcles Lion. Contrast with its polar opposite, Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts:
    • Minami likes Akihisa because he asked her to be his friend when she couldn't make any because of the language barrier; of course, this being Aki, he asked her in French instead of German. Likewise, her little sister Hazuki likes him because he saved up 25,000 yen just to buy her a doll.
    • A large part of the reason Shouko loves Yuuji is because he was the first person to ever treat her like a normal person while everyone else was fearful of her status as a rich girl.
  • Nothing would've happened in Haou Airen, had Kurumi not decided to treat Hakuron's wounds.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Banagher's main motivation when it concerns Audrey is that she made him feel like he belonged for the first time.
    • This also seems to be the reason why Marida Cruz is loyal to Captain Zinnerman: he's the first person who's ever treated her like a person rather than a possession.
  • In Gantz, as The End of the World as We Know It approaches, Nishi goes on a rampage and kills his entire class after they pushed him out of a window. The only classmate he spares is the girl who gave him a love letter earlier in the day.
  • Code Geass has a big one late in the second season. Rollo continues to be loyal to Lelouch even after the latter has a nervous breakdown and tells Rollo in no uncertain terms that the affections he showed to Rollo were fake and all part of his machinations. Lelouch is naturally astonished when Rollo comes out of nowhere to save him from execution by the Black Knights. Lelouch, resigned to his death, begs Rollo to stop, insisting that Lelouch's life is not worth Rollo killing himself through overexerting his Geass. Rollo explains in spasms while freezing time that even if Lelouch's affections were fake, they were still meaningful to him- and that being with Lelouch was the only time in his whole life where he genuinely felt happy.
  • Kimi ni Todoke: Sawako towards Kazehaya simply because he's the first classmate to return her morning greeting.
  • This is the basis of the relationship between the two characters in Okane Ga Nai — the Uke feels like the Seme is being nicer to him than anyone ever has been. This, despite the repeated rape.
    • And likewise the driving motivation of Kanou's obsession with Ayase is because of one occasion where Ayase showed him kindness when he was feeling down.
  • Kaze no Stigma. Kazuma goes to extreme lengths to protect and help one of the women of the Kannagi household, even while she's desperately (and fruitlessly, considering their respective Power Levels), trying to kill him. Both she and others are downright shocked by this, since it's heavily out of character for the otherwise-cold Kazuma — heck, he even charged the family head an outrageous fee for rescuing his own kid brother. Ayano is halfway to eating her own liver out of jealousy, convinced that Kazuma must have fallen in love with the girl, but in the end, the truth is revealed... When Kazuma was a kid in the Kannagi household, he was constantly bullied by the other kids, since they're all Playing with Fire to a greater or lesser degree, while he was powerless. She was the only one who ever stood up for him, stopping the other kids from hurting him, more out of pity than anything else, but he still remembered it — and sought to repay her for it, no matter what.
  • Bleach: This is the reason why Nel follows Ichigo, protects him from Dordonii, shows concern over his injuries and, ultimately, transforms back into her super badass adult form to fight Nnoitra. It is also part of the simple yet complex reason Sado/Chad and Ichigo fight for each other.
  • Possibly the case with Creepy Child Gretel of Black Lagoon. Since, by the end of her arc, it seemed that the only other human beings she actually liked were her brother and Rock. This is because Rock, the only truly decent human being in the Crapsack World of Roanapur, listens with sadness and horror rather than disgust at the coldly delivered Breaking Speech of Gretel, a little girl so traumatized by rape and torture with her twin brother Hansel back in Romania that murder has become the sole source of joy for them. He holds her in a tight embrace and weeps, begging her to accept the possibility that there is hope, and still a possibility of a new and happy life for a little girl like her. This act of sincere kindness, so alien to Gretel, was enough to move even a mass murderer like her to blush like a real little girl for the briefest of moments... leading to one of the saddest moments of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good ever. Her version of thanks was to offer herself sexually to Rock, thinking that is the only way an adult will appreciate her in return. Before she left Rock she stated happily "I hope we can meet against someday mister! We can have a picnic!" Sadly, she was shot in the back of the head by a guy with a revolver immediately afterward, as karma catches up with her for having pissed off Balalaika for torturing two of her men to death alongside Hansel.
  • In Ranma ½, the "genius kunoichi" Konatsu becomes slavishly devoted to Ukyo because she treats him better than the abusive family that raised him.
    • And Tsubasa does this when Akane and Female Ranma express kindness to him.
    • This is the entire reason that Maomolin tries to "help" Ryoga win Akane's heart in the anime-only story "Ryoga's Proposal".
  • Girls Bravo: It's pretty obvious that Yukinari was going to fall for Miharu considering that she's the only girl who treats him with genuine kindness and doesn't bully him or beat him up. Needless to say, he doesn't really hold feelings of love for Kirie who has a crush on him but brutally beats him up constantly or for Lisa who's insane and constantly tries to abduct him.
    • Made ridiculously Anvilicious by the fact that Yukinari has an allergy to women: every woman in both worlds the show takes place in, except for Miharu, causes him to break out in hives.
    • Yukina The Big Bad falls for Yukinari for similar reasons. She is also in a similar situation: Yukinari is the only guy that does not trigger her allergy to men. By the end of the series she takes every opportunity to cling to him to make up for a lifetime of being starved of physical intimacy.
  • Elfen Lied: Lucy fell in love with Kouta because he was the first person to ever treat her kindly and not like a freak; she even explicitly states that the time they spent together are her only happy memories. Because of this, he's the only human she refuses to harm or try to harm.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Mayu ended up falling in love with Kaoru because he cheered her up when her own parents couldn't make it to her birthday party.
  • Bishop Mozgus's Quirky Miniboss Squad in Berserk is made of inbred freaks (and a Bishōnen who catches on fire if exposed to sunlight) who'd be stoned to death in minutes in a peasant village, who are undyingly loyal to him because he's the only one who ever treated them nice.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! it's shown that the main reason Tsuna likes Kyoko is because she was the only girl in 12 months who bothered talking to him.
  • Possibly the reason Yuki Nagato acts like Kyon befriended her in Haruhi Suzumiya; because he got a library card. (Ironic in that Kyon seems to have done this just to avoid an argument with Haruhi, giving him little clue as to Yuki's true feelings. Also, she's an Emotionless Girl.) As we found out in Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, she's only three years old, and basically spent the first three years of her life being bored out of her skull, so Kyon getting her a card was probably literally the nicest thing anyone had done for her up to that point. One of her few memories of earlier time when she rewrote the world was Kyon getting her a library card. It was partially false, but still enough to give her a crush on him. Given the nature of the series though, any number of other explanations could apply.
    • This may be the case for Haruhi, too. Her bizarre and antisocial behavior prevented her from talking to people much or making any real friends, until Kyon simply tried to have a conversation with her without treating her like a freak; Taniguchi and Asakura's comments imply that no one had ever done this before. She fixates on him pretty quickly, but the niceness part doesn't last long.
  • Diane of Nanatsu No Taizai fell in love with Meliodas because he treated her like a regular girl and not like a Giant.
  • Haku of Naruto was fiercely loyal to Zabuza because the older man said he had use of Haku's abilities.
    • Kimimaro was perhaps even more fanatic in his loyalty to Orochimaru, willing to sacrifice his soul and body as the man's next vessel or, failing that, dying to secure the one who would become his vessel. And all because Orochimaru was the first person to ever show him kindness.
    • The only reason Karin ever gave a dang about Sasuke is because he saved her from a bear (offscreen) during the Chunin Exams.
    • A variation also appears with Neji Hyuga, who during the Fourth Shinobi War sacrifices himself to protect Naruto and Hinata. When Naruto asks why, he claims it's because Naruto called him a genius when Naruto beat him in the chunin exams. Instead, it's actually because Naruto was too important to the world, and Hinata was too important to Neji personally, to lose.
  • In the Vampire Knight light novel Vampire Knight: Ice Blue no Tsumi, Fuuka grows to believe in Aidou because he was her only ally — having rescued her so several times and was the only person who was honest with her. So, naturally, this is why Fuuka asks Aidou to be the one who kills her before she turns into a Level E vampire, rather wanting to die by Aidou's hand than hunted down when she loses control.
  • In Volume 10 of Zero no Tsukaima, there is a particular exchange between a dragon and the protagonist of the epic tale "The Hero of Ivaldi", in which the protagonist is preparing to rescue a girl who had betrayed him from the dragon:
    Dragon: What a small being. Get lost. This is not a place you should come.
    Ivaldi: Return Roux!
    Dragon: That girl is your wife?
    Ivaldi: No.
    Dragon: What kind of relationship do you have with her?
    Ivaldi: Nothing. I had only stopped by at the village to have some bread.
    Dragon: You are throwing your life away just for that?
    Ivaldi: For that I have gambled my life!
    • Josette's unwavering loyalty to Julio contains elements of this trope as well.
  • In Durarara!!, this turns out to be the reason for why Tom is one of the only people that can keep Shizuo's temper in check: Tom was one of the first and only people outside of his immediate family to treat him like a normal person instead of a freak.
  • Piccolo said this to Gohan when he took the hit for him in early Dragon Ball Z.
    Piccolo:You were the first person to not be afraid of me.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this is part of the reason Homura wants to protect Madoka.
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors, one story centers around a girl named Maggie, who abuses her dog, Daisy. Count D takes the dog and lets Maggie pick a "little sister" (human girl) from his shop in exchange. Maggie chooses the girl who is the most scared and weak and names her Daisy as well, only for the girl to quickly become far more loved than Maggie is. At the end of the story, D tries to take Maggie to keep in his shop as a pet, however Daisy stops him. It's revealed that Daisy the dog and Daisy the girl were one and the same, and had loved Maggie after she found and adopted the puppy. After Maggie chose her again, in the pet shop, Daisy was determined to return the favor.
  • In Dorothy of Oz, Abee is so devoted to Mara because she was the only person to treat him like a human being and not beat the crap out of him for being unable to answer a question. He even states this in the second volume when they first meet.
  • In the film Spirited Away, No-Face follows Chihiro around and attempts to shower her with gifts, becoming practically obsessed with her, simply because she speaks kindly to him and leaves a door open so he can come out of the rain.
    • In that case, it's a direct example. Because of his lack of face (identity), No-Face takes on the personality of whoever he's around. Chihiro's kind nature literally inspires him to be kind and repay her favors.
  • A romantic example in Fruits Basket. The reason Rin struggles to find a cure to the Zodiac curse is because her boyfriend Haru was the first person to ever want her. As a result, she's determined to thank him by breaking the curse and giving him a chance to escape the confinement the Zodiac are all under.
  • Koharu No Hibi: The reason Koharu gears her deep affection towards Akira, and the reason he decides to reciprocate. ( Deconstructed)
  • Ennis of Baccano!, an Artificial Human whose creator treats her like garbage, tries to sacrifice her own life to protect the first people who were ever nice to her. A third party jumps in and saves her.
  • Hayate × Blade: This is why Isuzu Inugami became Momoka Kibi's swordfighting partner; all the other students avoided Isuzu because she looked like a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
  • Snake in Black Butler. He was close to the circus crew because they befriended them despite his appearance, to the point he would attempt to kill Ciel when all his friends disappeared, thinking that Ciel was the cause of their disappearance. He wasn't entirely wrong as Ciel's staff killed the circus crew for ambushing Ciel's mansion. He would eventually become loyal to Ciel after Ciel takes him in and like the circus crew, didn't care about his snake-like appearance.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny has a rather absolutist perception of trust — he either trusts someone entirely, or not at all. Thus, when Kotetsu takes one of Lunatic's flamebolts for him, his Ice King persona starts to melt — and it melts fast.
  • Mirai Nikki: Yuno's devotion to Yukiteru stems from him jokingly making a marriage proposal to her right after she killed her Abusive Parents, spurring her into devoting her future to him.
  • In One Piece, during the Baratie arc, Gin of Don Krieg's crew fights with Sanji, the only person who gave him food when he was starving and begging for food. When having the opportunity to finish off Sanji, he is unable to because Sanji offering him food was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him.
    • One of the main reasons why Robin turned herself in to The Government she had been running away from her entire life was to protect the Straw Hats (which would kickstart the Enies Lobby arc). Her time with them was happiest she had been in her entire life — and she outright admits she cares about them more than the entire world. Yet she still convinced herself that in spite of their kindness, they would still eventually abandon her simply for the fact that the entire world itself was her enemy. When they proved her wrong by declaring war on the entire world just for her sake, it was only then that Robin realized that, after twenty long years, she had finally found her place.
  • Fiore in the R movie tried to kill Usagi both because she was Sailor Moon and out of jealousy over Mamoru, whom he was in love with apparently because of how kind he was to him when they were kids. Turns out that both Usagi and Mamoru were kind to Fiore. Young Mamoru gave him his friendship and a red rose - and it was young Usagi who gave the rose to Mamoru in the first place..
    • A consistent running theme in Sailor Moon as a whole. Usagi cares. This is shown in two flashbacks concerning her and the Inner Senshi: as the All Loving Heroine, she approached each of the girls (who were lonely for different reasons in their lives) without any fear or second thhoughts, rescuing them from their withdrawn behavior patterns:
    Rei [to Fiore]: "You don't get it, do you?! If not for Usagi, we... WE WOULD'VE BEEN ALL ALONE!"
  • In No. 6 because Sion saved and took care of Nezumi when he was injured one night Nezumi became devoted to him.
    • Nezumi's devotion is actually even simpler than Shion taking care of him when injured. Nezumi is attached Shion because when he was cold, injured and lost all hope, Shion opened a window. According to Nezumi, at the time that simple action was like "a miracle" to him.
  • In Mamotte Shugogetten Kaori Aihara towards Tasuke after he saves her from tripping and offers his umbrella to her.
  • In Hekikai No Aion, Sheila One of the evil mermaids fell for Tatsuya because he was the only aside Ariel to show her kindness. Also, because she was afraid to lose him, she stopped thinking about avenging herself against Seine, the one who let her without voice and "killed" her.
    • Our protagonist Seine as well. She decided go with Shimon, a man she knew absolutely nothing about, just because he was nicer to her than her abusive foster father.
  • In Mayoi Neko Overrun, Chise, the local rich girl, tries really hard to make friends with Takumi and his group of friends. In a flashback, it turns out that the reason why was because she felt isolated since no one wanted to associate with her due to her status, and when she tripped and fell, Takumi was the only person who offered to help her back up. Eventually she does become a part of their group.
  • Horribly, Legato Bluesummers, People Puppets maestro of Trigun. Perfectly well aware that his master, Knives, despises him for being human, bit of a poster child for Mad Love after Knives breaks his back for trying to kill Vash, and his loyalty doesn't waver even though he's crippled for life. (Or, in the anime, when Knives sends him to force Vash to shoot him dead and suffer forever.) It's all because of this trope (and some Boomerang Bigot misanthropy).
    • In the manga we got his absurdly complicated backstory. Knives stepped in coincidentally while, as a kid, Legato was being raped to death in punishment for a plot to kill everyone he hated (which was a lot of people). His exact status at the time is not spelled out, but is generally understood as research specimen, sex slave, or some hellish combination of the two.note  Knives cut the building apart, killed everyone except Legato because Legato's psychic powers kicked in just in time to steer the feather-blades away from his body. Then he more or less swore his allegiance on the spot and gave Knives permission to kill him now if he wanted. And Knives asked him his name, which was the most anyone had ever treated him like a person because he didn't have one to give. And then Knives let him tag along after he killed everyone at the facility. And eventually gave him responsibilities and a budget and things.
  • In Pandora Hearts, Jack's obsession with Lacie stems from this.
  • In the manga version of Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, this is the reason why Sylvia is in love with Prince Levin. She explains to Fury that everyone treated her horribly just because she was a Dancer, and Levin was the first one to offer her kindness and partnership.
  • Kotoura-san: Let's say, young people with superpowers or having a member of her family having it especially needs this.
    • In episode 7, Yuriko reveals part of her past to Haruka. Shortly after her mother was Driven to Suicide due to accusations of faking her powers, some kids mock her. But then Dai'chi shows up, and tells her that he still believed her mother was a real psychic. She starts to cry after hearing it, and Haruka later turns on the waterworks as well.
    • This is also true for Haruka herself as well, and that's why she's close with Manabe—he's the first person of her age that understands her problems, i.e. enduring more than a decade of social stigma and emotional trauma for being a telepath.
  • In Bakemonogatari, one of the reasons why Hitagi Senjougahara asks Koyomi Araragi out. Koyomi was the only one who genuinely wanted to help her with her problem (though it doesn't help that Hitagi threatened everyone else who tried).
  • Why are the girls of Daily Life with Monster Girl and Deadline Summonner so loyal and affectionate to their "masters"? They were genuinely concerned for their well-being in a world where their kind is not looked too highly upon.
  • Hotohori's crush on Miaka in Fushigi Yuugi is a mix of this and Loving a Shadow. She is one of the few people (and the first in the series) to treat him as a normal human being rather than as an emperor, something he had hoped for even before meeting her.
  • Ymir cites this as the reason for her devotion to Krista in Attack on Titan, claiming that Krista could smile at her even while knowing what a horrible person she really is. This devotion leads her to make a Face-Heel Turn and side with the villains, since they need Krista alive and are the ones best suited to ensuring her survival in the long-run. That they will probably end up killing Ymir either way is fine with her, as long as Krista survives.
    • This is why the Female Titan/Annie decided to spare Armin during their ambush on the Survey Corps.
  • In Oumagadoki Doubutsuen, Hana ultimately decides to stay at the zoo because Shiina is the first person to ever tell her she's done a good job and that he needs her there.
  • In the first episode of Kill la Kill, the loner Ryuko Matoi isn't sure what to make of Mako Makanshoku calling herself her best friend despite not knowing each other for even a minute. Once Mako's family lets Ryuko live with them in the next episode, however, Ryuko stays by Mako's side to repay the favor.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Shiage Hamazura was forced to become a lackey to the esper team ITEM despite his hatred of espers. While most of ITEM treated him poorly, Rikou Takitsubo showed him compassion. This leads him to save her life and they eventually fall in love.
  • In Seirei no Moribito, Jin is shown to have a very deep loyalty to the young prince Chagum. A flashback shows that the reason is Chagum was kind to him after he had been badly beaten for an unexplained transgression.
  • In Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai, the reason New Transfer Student Chihiro still ends up talking to deliberate loner Yugami even after being advised by classmates to not associate with him is because he helped her find an open slot for her bike the morning she transferred into the school.note 
  • Attack on Titan: Annie is not a very approachable person, but Armin is the only person who makes an effort. Because of this, Armin is the only person she's actually relatively close to, and this is presumably why when she has him unhorsed and caught as the Female Titan, she lets him go rather than squishing him. This ends up biting Annie in the ass later: Armin uses this encounter as a clue to connect her to the Female Titan.

    Comic Books 
  • Quoted above: Marv's attitude toward Goldie in the first issue of Sin City. He's not an idiot — he realizes that Goldie almost certainly got close to him because she needed protection from whoever it was that killed her in the opening pages. But as he explains to Goldie's Angsty Surviving Twin Wendy, be that as it may — she's the only stranger that's ever shown Marv any genuine kindness, and it's also implied that she's the only woman who wasn't too terrified of his appearance to sleep with him. So he searches relentlessly to find her killer.
  • Subverted horribly in Miracleman. Upon his escape from the hospital, Kid Miracleman invokes this trope to the only nurse who was kind to him during his stay. Then returns and punches her head into pieces while she was smiling at being spared. Then it's Double Subverted: He did it more because he felt he needed to maintain his rep rather than real malice. He even apologised and didn't look happy to do it.
  • Tintin gets several allies this way: in Prisoners Of The Sun, for instance, he defends a boy from some bullies, and the boy later offers to guide him to a secret Inca temple, even though he could be killed for doing so.
  • In B.P.R.D.: 1947, agent Jacob Stegner gives a coin to a homeless beggar woman. The woman later appears to him to tell him that one of his missing comrades is still alive. Before she mysteriously disappears, she says, "I tell you this... because you were kind."
  • Huntress' devotion to the Black Canary in Birds of Prey definitely has shades of this, especially when you realize that Huntress had never had a friend before, in her entire life.
  • Invoked and subverted with Evil Ernie and Lady Death in Chaos Comics. Having been emotionally and physically abused by his parents, Ernie falls in love with and becomes fiercely loyal to Lady Death, allowing her to recruit him into her mission to wipe out humanity. However, while he's imprisoned in a mental hospital, there is a nurse who is kind to him and is the only person who wants to see him "cured" for non-selfish reasons and, when he "dies", she's the only one who mourns him. The first thing Ernie does once Lady Death turns him undead is rip her head off.
  • In New X-Men: Academy X, X-23 goes to considerable lengths to protect Dust from the Purifiers when they attack the academy, because Dust was one of the only people at the academy who was nice to her when she arrived. And on the other end, Dust was nice to Laura because she was a refreshing change from her old roommate Surge, who treated her like an alien.

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 89 of The Naru Hina Chronicles, Naruto reveals to Hinata the reasons behind his love/pathological obsession with ramen: he was beaten very badly once as a little child (before entering the Ninja Academy), and he was discovered by Ichiraku, who took him to his restaurant, fed him, and got him cleaned up. He was the first person who was ever nice to Naruto. It's one of the main reasons—alongside his Supreme Chef reputation—that he tries to convince Hinata to let him cater their upcoming wedding.
  • Rainbooms and Royalty: Fluttershy proves herself worthy of bearing the Element of Kindness by treating the gargoyles, who had sworn loyalty to Nightmare Moon a thousand years ago, with compassion rather than reviling them. So touched were they that they swore loyalty to her, rather than serve Nightmare Moon. This comes into play during the Final Battle, as they show up to help the Mane Six (and Zecora and Ditzy) against Nightmare Moon's Shadowbolt army.
    • Similarly, Rarity proved herself worthy of being the Element of Generosity when she gave the necklace she inherited from her grandmother to the Diamond Dogs as payment to let them pass. The Dogs are so stunned by such selflessness that they also show up during the Final Battle to help fight Nightmare Moon to repay the kindness.
  • This is the reason why Emiri joins the Anti-SOS Brigade in You Got HaruhiRolled!. They too know what it's like to be neglected.
  • Several Death Note Alternate Universe Fics feature this trope.
  • In Ace of Spades this is part of the reason why Harry Potter becomes obsessed with Jim Gordon-because he was nice to Harry when he visited Arkham.
  • Weightless: Seraph/Shepard was in love with Nihlus because he was the first person who showed her kindness.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic A Future Of Friendship A History Of Hate: Because Twilight saved Craggle from falling to his death, he protects her from a pack of shalehounds and lets her pass his bridge.
  • In If Thems The Rules, because Harry was nice to Tom (and is the first person to ever show him kindness), Harry becomes Tom's Morality Chain and Tom tries to reign in his sociopathic tendencies for Harry's sake. Tom's loyalty to Harry almost gets him put in Hufflepuff.
  • In the Blood++ fic Waking Dream, this is the entire reason Diva fell in love with Reeve Roswell: he was the first human who ever treated her with any genuine kindness.

    Film 
  • In Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, the title character lends his services as an assassin to Louie, a mobster who saved his life. Louie's loyalty to Ghost Dog is nowhere near as strong.
  • In The Avengers Tony Stark is the only one who initially accepts Bruce Banner without a trace of fear, even offering advice and a residence, and never treats him like a ticking time bomb. Hulk later saves Tony's life during the final battle.
  • In the film adaptation of James and the Giant Peach, James finds a spider in his room and helps it escape the house when his aunts try to kill it. Later on, Miss Spider in the peach convinces the others to let James stay and looks after him during the journey. She reveals that she was the spider in question and is thankful for James's help.
  • In Elizabeth, when Elizabeth is taken to the Tower of London one of her inquisitors gives her his cloak because it is cold. Elizabeth replies "I will not forget this kindness". Years later when the man is one of many who has plotted against her, she has an audience with him and says "all your many kindnesses are remembered".
  • In A Knight's Tale, William twice jousts against a Sir Thomas Colville. The first time Colville is injured on the second lance, and William agrees to have them both tilt and then not strike each other to maintain Colville's honor. The second time, William learns right before the bout that Colville is really Prince Edward incognito, and before the others can withdraw for him William tilts at him. Edward is impressed, and repays the kindness after William is revealed as a commoner by knighting him.

    Literature 
  • In the Sweet Valley High series, hospital volunteer Elizabeth Wakefield is kidnapped by a mentally disturbed orderly. When she asks why he did it, he explains that he loves her and invokes this trope as the reason. She once helped him with his tray and it was apparently the only time anyone showed him kindness.
  • When Raistlin is nice to a gully dwarf, she becomes quite loyal to him. (He did cast a Charm spell on her, but that's supposed to wear off ... eventually. Based on Intelligence, so in her case it lasted a long time.)
    • It's reciprocated, however, and Raistlin's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming is when he drops everything to try to protect her, even when his friends abandon the gully dwarves. It also leads to his Heel Realization in a sequel series, as his lust for power led to her death. He willingly condemns himself to an eternity of torment to avoid this.
  • Gollum/Sméagol is like this to Frodo in Lord of the Rings. Right until Sam accuses him of "sneaking".
  • Harry Potter
    • The house elves in take on this attitude to anyone who is nice to them — this starts with Dobby in Chamber of Secrets and Kreacher in Deathly Hallows. It's also implied that this trope is how Voldemort was able to garner support from non-human magical creatures like the giants — they were so used to being treated with rank condescension or outright persecution by the Ministry of Magic that Voldemort had little trouble convincing them he'd do a better job.
    • Also implied to be part of Snape's reason for turning to The Dark Side — Lucius Malfoy, one of the wizarding aristocracy, welcomes the no-name working-class half-blood as soon as he's sorted into Slytherin, and their friendship seems to have continued even when Snape became a Double Agent, and remained strong enough that Narcissa asked him to protect Draco from the consequences of a mission assigned by Voldemort primarily to get him killed. Ultimately this is what made him turn back as well. Lily Potter was his first friend, and given his troubled home life, the first person who cared about him.
    • Luna, and to a lesser extent Neville, have this sort of relationship to the Trio and Ginny. As a result, they were the only members of the D.A. to help defend the castle in Book Six. Luna is especially blunt about her general loneliness.
    "I miss the D.A. It was almost like having friends."
    ".... I am your friend, Luna."
    ".... Oh."
    • Also her Tear Jerker / Heartwarming Moment that is Luna's room in Deathly Hallows. Portraits linked with chains that said "Friends?"
    • This is definitely one of the series' recurring motifs. Imagine how different Harry would have turned out if Hagrid hadn't been the first person in his life to show him any kindness. It was Malfoy's contempt for Hagrid in Madame Malkins that really kicked off their animosity. The same goes for when he taunts Ron, Harry's first ever friend, on the train. If it weren't for Harry's loyalty, would he have accepted Malfoy's offer of friendship and been put in Slytherin instead? The entire series would veer off course....
  • This is the sum of Quasimodo's attitude toward Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame — when the Hunchback is put on the rack and pelted with fruits, she takes pity on him and brings him water. This is especially noteworthy as the reason he's being punished was for trying to kidnap her.
  • In the Daughters of the Moon books, the Atrox has several rules binding the behavior of those who have given themselves over to them - one rule is, no Atrox agent can ever harm someone who has done them a genuine kindness.
  • There's a Bruce Coville edited short-story about a tormented and ostracized elf child whose school assignment is to interview a troll. Trolls' favorite food is elf-children, but the troll doesn't eat the boy because he sees how lonely and kind the poor thing is. At the end of the story, the elf child gets revenge on his schoolmates and teachers by freeing the troll and letting him eat them all, but tells the one other elf child who was kind to him that he won't feed her to the troll because "You're the sweetest girl I know"...before eating her himself, thus subverting the trope.
  • Keladry of Mindelan, titular protagonist of Protector of the Small, has this happen frequently. There's a reason she's called that.
    • Her war-horse Peachblossom whose last owner was abusive agrees to work on his behavior when she promises not to yank of the reins or ever use spurs, but only for her: do not imply you are interested in stealing or buying him. Or in buying Kel.
    • Her lady's maid Lalasa admits in a stressful moment that she was so skittish at the beginning because she kept waiting for Kel to show she was like all the other nobles she'd met, realizing it wasn't going to happen lead to Taking A Level In Badass, teaching other servant class women the self defense tactics Kel had taught her and becoming one of Kel's staunchest supporters.
    • Tobe, the 10 year old indentured servant she rescued from an abusive situation rides into an enemy country in the middle of a war because she might need him and doesn't like to let her out of his sight for fear she might forget about him like a couple of other seemingly-nice people did.
  • In Uncle Tom's Cabin, a Kentuckian slave owner relates a story about a native African slave, brutalized by another owner, that had pledged undying loyalty to him when treated like a human being.
  • In Les Misérables, after being jailed for decades for stealing a loaf of bread, and forced to poverty and starvation due to the difficulty of criminals to find jobs, Jean Valjean comes upon the Bishop of Digne who shows him kindness and houses him. At first, it seems like a subversion, with Jean Valjean taking advantage of the Bishop and stealing his stuff. Then, when he's caught running from the Bishops home with silver silverware, the Bishop decides not to press charges and gives Valjean the stuff, plus a bit more, on the condition that it "buys his soul for God". Jean Valjean is converted from a bitter convict to The Paragon of integrity of virtue for the rest of his life through all the crap he's put through out of loyalty to the Bishop's one kind act.
  • Sgt. Bothari to Cordelia in Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold, though it is a little more complicated than that.
  • In Peter Moore's Caught In The Act Lydia is an outcast, no one will associate with her except for Ethan. Because of this, Lydia seems to fall in love with him and becomes devoted to him to a Yandere degree.
  • In the Warrior Cats graphic novel Shattered Peace, Minty stops her mate from killing Ravenpaw since Ravenpaw was nice to her kits.
  • A Defusing The Tykebomb moment in Galaxy of Fear works because of this - the Arrandas were kind to Eppon, laughing and playing with the normal-looking baby, and planning to adopt. When the Big Bad showed up it reverted to its programming and was loyal to him, but later Tash reminded it of their brief time together.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Zarracka spares Benji, helps his father fight off a monster, and later wants to adopt him because he said he wished she were his mother instead of Daniar. This is the first nice/loving anyone has said to her since her mother died.
  • There is an old fairy tale where a young man wants to woo a princess, but her father sets an impossible condition for him to do so; he must produce a man who can eat a mountain of bread. When the young man is wandering through a forest bemoaning this task, he meets an old man who says he is incredibly hungry; the young man tells him of the mountain of bread and the old man then offers to help, and eats the entire thing. The king then declares that the boy must produce a man that can drink an entire warehouse full of ale; he goes back to the forest and meets the man again, who this time claims to be incredibly thirsty and drinks all the ale. As a final task, the king demands that the boy produce a ship that can sail on both water and land, and when the distraught young man returns to the forest one final time, his mystical friend invokes this trope.
    Old man: I have eaten for you, and I have drunk for you, and I will also give you the ship; and all because you were kind to me at the first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Brienne of Tarth is in love with King Renly Baratheon because he's the only man who recognizes her worth as a human being and a warrior, and does not judge her based on her appearance or gender. He himself understands how painful it is to be frequently mocked for not adhering to rigid gender roles (his older brothers Robert and Stannis have bullied him for his lack of combat experience), so his empathy towards Brienne's situation allows him to be accepting of her masculinity.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Happens four times, all with Faith. First, it happens with her and the Mayor and then again with her and Angel. She was willing to die to save him, all because he helped her come back from being evil while everyone else hated her (mainly because he understood her, seeing as he was in the same situation about 100 years previously). In season 4 of Angel, this is the reason why she refused to even try to kill Angelus and in Angel and Faith she is still very loyal to him. Faith also does this with Gwendolyn Post. (Faith loves this trope.) Also, another reason why she helps Angel in Season 9, is because she really wants Giles back, since he was nice to her, too.
    • Also seen with Spike who likes Buffy's mother and sister for this reason, and shows his best side when Buffy treats him with respect; his demonic aspect comes out when she forgets this trope.
  • During an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm and brothers are babysat by a hot blonde baby sitter. It turns out she has a crush on Francis due to him once sort-of complementing her when she was younger (and fat). Francis, being away at military school, has no idea she's changed so much, and narrowly misses a chance to date a girl who would have been genuinely devoted to him. You want to punch him the whole time.
    Francis: Leave her alone guys, she's not that fat.
    *Girl falls in love*
  • A villainous example: In the 1998 miniseries Merlin, Morgan le Fay becomes an ally of Queen Mab because "the Old Ways have been good to me."
  • In the season 1 finale of Young Dracula, Ingrid saves the Branaughs from a pack of hungry vampires because Mrs. B gave her a present.
  • In Glee, the event that sparks Kurt's crush on Finn is when Finn once berated one of his friends for slamming Kurt into a locker. Even though Finn's seen taking part in this sort of bullying in the first episode, this one instance of kindness made Kurt like him. And once Finn joins the Glee club and they become friends, he starts to like Finn almost too much...
    • And later this happens again between Kurt and Blaine, and Blaine and Jeremiah.
  • In Being Human, the only reason Herrick has any compunctions about killing Nina is because she was the only one who was kind to him and protected him when he lost his memory. He still stabs her.
  • In one episode of Bones, a female suspect who had previously stalked the victim becomes smitten with Booth after he had briefly comforted her. She later tries to kill Brennan, who she saw as competition.
  • In Sherlock, much of the reason why Sherlock allows John into his life and befriends him comes from John praising his deductive skills as "incredible" and "fantastic" while everyone else just calls him "freak." As the show progresses, it's clear that they would both die for one another.
  • This has a lot to do with Merle's loyalty to the Governor in The Walking Dead.
  • In Person of Interest, Lionel Fusco manipulated crime scenes for Stills and Azarello because Stills was a friend to him when his wife left him and took custody of his kid.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Raj becomes infatuated with Bernadette because, since she is nice to him, he thinks maybe she liked him. He goes so far as to write silly, suggestive poems about her. After his "Did they/Didn't they night" with Penny, Leonard calls him out about it. When she finds out, she is not happy about it (but still nice to him.)
    Raj: You were always so nice to me, I thought, maybe you liked me.
    Bernadette: I'M NICE TO EVERYONE.
    Raj: Do you think I have a shot with Penny?
    Bernadette: OF COURSE, YOU DO; YOU'RE A CUTEY-PIE. ANY GIRL WOULD BE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.

    Stand Up Comedy 

     Tabletop Games  

  • During the war on Tolkein of Rifts, the forces of Tolkeen liberated the Daemonix, a race of sub-demons from enslavement in another dimensions, and then asked them to help them fight the Coalition. Because the Tolkien asked them. As far back as the despised Daemonix could remember, no one has ever asked them anything. No previous master has ever given them a choice or the freedom to say no. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the Daemonix fought side by side with Tolkeen.

    Theatre 
  • Turandot has Liu, who follows Calaf like a dog, looks after his elderly father, suffers torture, and kills herself so that he can marry the unattainable title character... because he smiled at her once.
  • Wicked: Not so much "because you were nice to me" as "because you were nice to my sister", but when Galinda tells Boq to ask out the Inspirationally Disabled Nessarose, Elphaba goes to Madame Morrible and insists on bringing Galinda into her magic class or else Elphaba's leaving. Rather than let her star pupil leave, Morrible reluctantly takes on Galinda as a student. Galinda's attitude towards Elphaba changes immediately upon learning this, so it could also count in the other direction, with Elphaba being nice to Galinda in spite of her flaws.

    Video Games 
  • DmC: Devil May Cry: Kat is loyal to Vergil to the point of near-worship because he once saved her from abuse and gave her a purpose. That is until the revelation that he was using her and wants to rule over the humans, at which point she chooses Dante, who has by then also earned her loyalty and regards her as an equal.
  • In the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim expansion Dawnguard you can have this sort of relationship with Serana. She (being a vampire) will walk into a vampire-hunter stronghold to give you useful information because you helped free her and escorted her home. This is also the reason she gives for trusting you to find her mother.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Leads to two Heel Face Turns in Fire Emblem 7. Jaffar encountered Nino while too wounded to move. Instead of killing him, as per Black Fang custom, she bandages him up. Later, he saves her from being sacrificed as a scapegoat, and, if the player is willing, kills her tormentor in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
    • Soren in Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance feels this toward Ike, as it was Greil and his family who took him in after a lifetime of hardship. In one support conversation, Soren describes this life to Ike, who is astonished, describing it as the most terrible thing he's ever heard and chastising Soren for his impression that Ike thought it was nonsense.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Maribelle reveals this as her reason for being completely devoted to Lissa; due to her being so difficult the other children instantly hated her and mocked her, leaving her without any friends until Lissa reached out to her.
      • Similarly, Panne joins Chrom's Shepherds in an attempt to repay the kindness given to her Chrom and Lissa's older sister, Queen/Exalt Emmeryn, despite how she's a member of the very persecuted Taguel race.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2's built in campaign Neeshka mentions this about the PC if Relationship Values are stable before fighting the final boss, allowing her to resist The Dragon's mind control. It's a big part of the reason why the "romance" path with her, even though mostly cut, comes off as better written than most of the ones seen in video games. Inversely, Neeshka won't even need to be mind controlled into betraying the PC if their relationship values are low enough.
  • Listening to Jack in Mass Effect 2, only one other person besides Paragon!Shepard has ever been nice to her, and he got killed saving her life, even after they'd both agreed not to do something like that. Afterwards, she found a message saying he wanted to settle down with her, the whole picket-fence fantasy. The whole thing fucked her head up even more - what she took from the whole experience was that there were good people in the galaxy... and they're all doomed to die because only assholes survive. Like she did.
    • Ironically, Miranda goes through the same thing. It's implied that part of the reason she turned from Cerberus (or at least started to see them for what they were) is because Paragon Shepard went out of his/her way to help her with no ulterior motives. It also explains why she joined Cerberus in the first place: In exchange for Miranda's services, Cerberus offered to hide and protect her twin sister from their abusive, controlling father, a deal they had faithfully followed through on until Miranda quit.
    • This is one of the reasons Tali'Zorah has such Undying Loyalty to Shepard. Quarians are normally treated with contempt and subject to a great deal of Fantastic Racism by the rest of the galaxy. But Shepard treats her like an equal.
  • Metal Gear's Big Boss uses this trope to play the benefactor role a LOT. This has essentially become his MO for converting enemies to his side and inspiring unwavering loyalty in his men, and he has become frighteningly efficient at this.
    • This trope, combined with Stockholm Syndrome, are the reasons why Otacon fell for Sniper Wolf.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian joins Mario's party simply because he was the first to be nice to her.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Sora's party were the first only people ever to be nice to Naminé, even despite everything she'd done to them, which is why she spends the next year straight working on their behalf.
  • This is part of the reason Princess Sapphire Rhodonite falls for Almaz in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice: Sapphire faced a lot of derision as a heartless sociopath because she didn't cry at the Queen's funeral. Almaz was the only one to realize she was mourning her mother's death and stand up for her.
  • In Fallout 3, Gob will give the player a discount if they treat him nicely since everyone else in the town (especially his boss Colin Moriarty) treat him like crap for being a ghoul.
    • This is also most likely the only reason that, when you're in Raven Rock and have the option to free a Deathclaw from its cage, that it doesn't attack you on sight. Granted the base was going to go up in flames soon and it either wanted out or wanted its revenge, but it could have attacked you at that moment but didn't.
  • In the Old World Blues DLC of Fallout: New Vegas, if you manage to befriend or help out four of the Think Tanks, they'll stand up to Dr. Klein when he tries to do away with you, meaning you won't have to kill them.
  • Several characters in Dark Souls have this. Lady of the Darkling is fervently loyal to Gwyndolin because he accepted her as a follower despite her hideous appearance, providing her purpose in life. Eingyi is similarly devoted to Quelaag's sister because she sucked the deadly Blightpuss from his body, saving his life but becoming deathly sick in the process. Also, it's possible for Maiden Rhea to become friendly towards the player should the player save her from the Tomb of the Giants after her escorts all either hollowed or abandoned her.
  • Basically the reason why Phoenix becomes a lawyer in Ace Attorney — he remembers this one incident when he was nine years old, where Edgeworth was in his class, and stood up for him in a class trial after Edgeworth's pocket money was stolen, and it was thought Phoenix had been the culprit. It later turned out that Larry had been the culprit all along, but the event is ultimately no less important to Phoenix for that.
    • Maya Fey first meets Phoenix when he defends her in court despite Maya A) being framed for the murder of Phoenix's beloved mentor, and, B) being caught at the scene of the crime, in circumstances so suspicious that no attorney would willingly take her case. Although Redd's blackmailing also influenced that. This act of kindness understandably seeds a pretty strong friendship, which Maya is later willing to get tasered and briefly jailed over.
  • In Hakuōki, Saito Hajime is wholly, almost obsessively loyal to the Shinsengumi in general and Hijikata in particular because Hijikata and Shinsengumi co-founder Kondou were the first people to understand and accept without question his left-handed swordfighting stance and refusal to stop wearing his swords on his right side (nearly a taboo in samurai culture) instead of accusing him of cheating.
  • At the conclusion of Sleeping Dogs's main story, Sun On Yee Dragon Head "Broken Nose" Jiang informs her advisor that the protagonist Wei Shen is to be spared despite having been an undercover cop who'd infiltrated his way to "Red Pole" — and thus one of her peers, since while he had abetted Sonny Wo's arrest he also had defended her and his own gang when rival triads attacked, and in decimating Henry "Big Smile" Lee's gang and killing him Wei had cleared the way for her own ascension.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden can be played as demonstrating genuine kindness toward everyone he/she meets, including the members of the party. Since many of the party members have a history of being friendless, the Warden's consideration toward them can inspire them to Undying Loyalty.
  • Ada Wong in the Resident Evil series is this way towards Leon ever since he took a bullet for her in Resident Evil 2. Ada will sometimes go out of her way to give Leon some support when she can, even if it's against her orders.
  • Star Trek Online: Gaius Selan, the security officer of the Romulan Republic flagship RRW Lleiset, is a liberated Borg who used to be in the Tal Shiar. He fights for the Republic because they rescued him from the Collective (where the Tal Shiar didn't even try), and because they treat him like a person.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: This trope is the reason Mog swore fealty to Lightning. Ever since Mog fell into Valhalla, he's been going with the "weak obey the strong" rule there but he's been rejected and abandoned multiple times by many powerful opponents, who didn't want such a weak creature. When he ran into Lightning, and lost his game, he expected to be abandoned again... but she told him to come with her. Lightning was the first person to accept him as he was and not just ditch him.

    Webcomics 

     Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes Chuck, a bus driver, becomes an obsessed stalker of a friend to an unwilling Jimmy after Jimmy called him "pal" and apologized for accidentally wrecking his bus. Chuck is shown to try to become a persistent friend to anyone who's even remotely nice to him.
  • Invader Zim: Although Zim was pretty mean to Keef for the most part, because he called them "friends" and pretended to enjoy his company (for appearances sake) Keef became obsessed with Zim even after Zim made it clear he wanted nothing to do with him.
  • Hey Arnold!: In "Helga On The Couch" it's shown that Helga fell for Arnold when she was in preschool because he was the only person in her life that noticed her and treated her kindly, by complimenting her and giving her his crackers at snack time.
  • The Simpsons did an episode where Homer and Marge entered a Wife Swap-style reality show. The Henpecked Husband ends up falling for Marge, while his frigid, controlling wife falls for Patty.
  • Foxglove the bat from the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Good Times, Bat Times" claims that she works for Winnifred because before she met the Rescue Rangers, Winnifred had been her only friend. Based on how we actually see Winnifred treat her, either Foxglove was lonely to a degree not accounted for by human language, or the writers couldn't come up with anything that would actually work.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender , Iroh is imprisoned by the Fire Nation. He's treated very poorly by the guards, except for a woman who brings his meals. When he planned to escape, he told her to take the rest of the day off because she always treated him kindly, and he didn't want her around for what was about to happen.
  • Family Guy: In one episode, Meg accepts a pity date from Brian, her family's talking dog, and becomes obsessed with him after he insults another girl in her defense and kisses her while drunk.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Keep Calm And Flutter On, Discord himself is redeemed (mostly) when he realizes that Fluttershy actually is trying to be his friend, that Friendship really is Magic, and that if he continues his chaotic rampage he'll lose the only friend he's ever had. Fluttershy purposely invoked this trope, and Discord was Genre Savvy...but it still worked.
    • And in Twilight's Kingdom, he is reformed once and for all after Twilight saves him from Tirek even though Discord had earlier done a Face-Heel Turn and helped Tirek drain all the pony's powers.
  • Because Max on Goof Troop showed compassion for his mistreated and miserable neighbor, PJ, and went out of his way to provide him with opportunities he'd never had and friendship, including coming up with two separate elaborate plans to maintain it, he ended up with one of the sweetest, most loyal friends he could ever ask for, who stuck with him through middle school, high school, and college.
  • In Garfield and Friends, in the U.S.Acres segments. This trope is the reason Lanolin's at times the nicest(or at least compared to how she treats the other characters, normally)to Orson. Then when Bo said that he and the others like her too, pleasantly surprised, Lanolin said she'll try to be more nicer to them then.
  • In Wander over Yonder episode "The Little Guy", Wander is kind and friendly to mistreated Watchdog Westley eventually inducing a Heel-Face Turn. It's implied Wander is intentionally invoking this trope, but also that he's not faking his friendship and kindness — he's just naturally kind and friendly to virtually everyone, even his enemies.

     Real life 
  • Stockholm Syndrome generally comes about due to the hostage taker being nice to the hostages. This often includes an extremely broad definition of 'nice', like 'hasn't hit me for a while'.
  • People who have had suicidal thoughts have reported that often someone smiling at them is enough to stop them from going through with killing themselves.
  • The nineteenth-century Zulu leader Shaka grew up in a village where he and his single mother both suffered continual bullying from the locals. As leader, Shaka returned to the village and had all the bullies put to death by impalement, as slowly and painfully as possible. Those who had not bullied them but just let it happen were put to death more quickly and less painfully. Only one man was spared because Shaka remembered him being nice to his mother.


Androcles LionGratitude TropesComplaining About Rescues They Don't Like
Because Destiny Says SoMotivation IndexCareer Building Blunder
All-Loving HeroA Polite IndexBeware the Nice Ones

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