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Because You Were Nice to Me

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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.
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A character, sometimes the Butt-Monkey of a given work, is treated for the first time in their lives with genuine kindness and friendship. It may extend to the character's life being saved, and as such, they now may feel I Owe You My Life. As is such, they will be exceptionally loyal to their benefactor, even if the benefactor admits that it was all a lie.

If the benefactor is a villain, this character could either be their Morality Pet, or someone they cared about before the benefactor turned evil.

The nature of this character type is such that their loyalty to their benefactor will extend to generally absurd lengths. Not even the benefactor 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. Normally one of the defining aspects of the Harem Genre, as with so many girls all vying after one boy, usually the most amount of time the series can devote to explaining why they all like him is that he simply treats them as human beings. Though this trope is often portrayed sympathetically, it is also what often creates the Stalker with a Crush and the Yandere.

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A character who follows this may be one that Desperately Craves Affection as well.

Will be immune to Twisting the Words. Often is also The Woobie. Related to It Meant Something to Me. See also Disproportionate Reward. Compare Character Witness and its animal version, Androcles' Lion. Contrast with its polar opposite, Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, and with Ungrateful Bastard and The Farmer and the Viper. May lead to Defusing the Tyke Bomb.


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    Comic Books 
  • In 52, when Doc Magnus single-handedly takes down the Mad Scientist thinktank he lets T.O. Morrow escape. When Morrow asks why, Magnus says that it's because Morrow was one of the only people who actually took his theories seriously when he was first starting out.
  • Huntress' devotion to the Black Canary in Birds of Prey definitely has shades of this.
  • 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."
  • During the Gauntlet storyline in Spider-Man, the Juggernaut helped Spider-Man after the wall-crawler tried to help the villain when he was attacked by the latest Captain Universe.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Green / Savage Hulk usually has the mentality of a small child, so this means if someone's nice to him, or even just acts nice to him, they've got his undying friendship.
    Joe Fixit: It's like with ma — you were nice to Salad Brain once, and he'll never forget it.
  • In Secret Wars (2015), Miles Morales gives Molecule Man a hamburger. Even in context, it's pretty weird (as Miles had it in his pocket forgotten for three weeks), but it's also the first act of kindness that anybody has shown Molecule Man in eight years, as he's been tucked away to be used as a Living Battery. At the end of the storyline, Owen repays the debt by cosmically retconning Miles and his loved ones to the new Marvel Universe, and while he's at it, bringing Miles' mother Back from the Dead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Transformers (2019): After Arcee and Greenlight restore Gauge's lost memories, Gauge is left questioning whether she should aid them or continue following Heretech like she was taught. She ultimately decides to help Arcee and Greenlight because they asked for her help but never ordered her, and she respected that they were willing to let her make her own choices while Heretech ordered everyone to do what he said and took away their choices.
  • In Uncanny X-Men, former supervillain Rogue was made to feel distinctly unwelcome when she first joined the X-Men. In UXM #172 she accompanies her new teammates to Tokyo to attend Wolverine's wedding. On seeing her, Wolverine comments that if it were up to him, he'd cut out her heart, but his fiancee, the aristocratic Mariko Yashida, says that Rogue as a guest is entitled to all due courtesy and respect and welcomes her. Effectively Mariko was merely acting in accordance with the ethic and social rules of her class, but it still was the first time Rogue was unreservedly welcomed by anyone since she left the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and so in the following issue Rogue shows no hesitation to lay down her life to prevent her death ("Lady Mariko was kind t'me — she accepted me, right off — ah won't let her come to any harm!"). The fire from Viper's blaster actually hurts her badly, but Rogue accepts her likely death philosophically. However, Logan now feels indebted to her for saving the woman he loves and makes Rogue absorb his healing factor.
  • 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 didn't agree with her beliefs.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dick Tracy, this was the reason for the Mole's Heel–Face Turn. After he was thrown in jail, Tracy gave the Mole a Christmas present, a care package with some simple gifts. The Mole had lived such a lonely, miserable life that the simple gesture meant the world to him. He went straight and these days is a good friend of Tracy and his family.
  • In a 1925 Little Orphan Annie comic, Annie rescues a puppy being abused by a group of boys. She shelters the pup and gives him away to a good home. A few months later, when Annie is kidnapped, the fully grown dog, which she had named Sandy, ends up coming to her rescue. He has been her longstanding companion ever since.

    Film — Animation 
  • Iago in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar regrets helping Jafar after Aladdin sticks up for him and Aladdin and his friends treating Iago better than Jafar ever did. This causes his Heel–Face Turn and he ultimately helps them defeat Jafar.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) pretty much runs on this. Every new friend the protagonists make comes about because one of them was willing to befriend them:
    • Capper was planning to sell them before they escaped. Because Rarity had given him a selfless gift and expected nothing in return, he does his best to mislead Tempest as to where they're going.
    • Captain Celaeno and her pirates are persuaded to abandon the Storm King's forces after Rainbow Dash sings them a rousing song, encouraging them to live their lives to the full.
    • Princess Skystar joins them in the final battle against the Storm King's forces even after Twilight tried to rob her because Pinkie Pie sincerely entertained her with the "One Small Thing" number.
    • And of course Tempest Shadow reforms and pulls a Heel–Face Turn because Twilight chose to save her life.
  • A proxy example in Pocahontas. The titular heroine doesn't demonise John Smith and the settlers like the rest of her tribe because her first impression of him is putting his knife away when he sees Meeko — and playing with him, showing that he is a decent person. She then becomes dedicated to protecting him and advocating peace.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 2 Days in the Valley: Becky tries to talk Webb and Helga out of killing the homicide detectives searching her house, saying the two treated her nicely while questioning her.
  • The ABCs of Death: In the "R" segment, the patient lets the nurse live when he escapes from the facility because she was the only one of the staff who was kind to him.
  • In the classic Abbott and Costello film Africa Screams, after Costello rescues a gorilla from a trapper's pit, the gorilla follows him around, repeatedly saving him from other animals and cannibal natives and recovering a bag of diamonds Abbot had stolen from the natives. Later, after Costello makes it back to America (presumably with the Gorilla's help) he uses the diamonds to become head of the department store where he worked and appoints the Gorilla as his vice-president while Abbot (who used and abused Costello throughout the entire film before abandoning him after losing the diamonds) is reduced to working beneath them as an elevator operator.
  • Karathan in Aquaman (2018) is implied to have been friends with King Atlan because the former won the latter's friendship by talking with them rather than fight. Thousands of years later, Arthur does the same.
  • In Babe: Pig in the City, Babe gets chased by a vicious bull terrier until it ends up in a position where it's about to drown, and Babe goes back to rescue it. The Bull Terrier thanks Babe because he didn't believe anyone would've gone back to save him and offers him his collar as a sign of friendship.
  • 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".
  • Averted in Exam. White tells Blonde that helping him was a mistake when he has her at gunpoint, not showing any care about her help.
  • 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 from a gang beating when he was younger. As Ghost Dog considers himself a modern Samurai, he considers himself Louie's loyal retainer. Louie's loyalty to Ghost Dog is nowhere near as strong (he barely even remembers the incident back when he chased off some disrespectful punks who happened to be beating up some black kid).
  • In both the novel and film of Gone with the Wind, Belle helps out Ashley Wilkes because Ashley's wife, Melanie, was nice to her early on, accepting her wartime donation instead of treating her like dirt, as most of the rest of the town does.
  • 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' help.
  • Near the end of Joker (2019), Arthur spares Gary for being the only person who had been nothing but nice to him the entire movie, when everyone else has either done nothing but act like a jerk to him, or treat him nicely at first but then throw him under the bus when convenient.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian is forced to kill a Saracen knight in a fight over a horse, but he spares the life of the man's servant, sets him free once they reach Jerusalem, and even gives him the horse that had been the subject of the fight. Some time later, it's revealed that the "servant" is actually Saracen leader Saladin's right-hand man (presumably traveling incognito to avoid becoming a target), and he repays Balian's mercy several times over the course of the movie.
  • 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 both impressed by William's willingness to face him as a Worthy Opponent, as well as grateful for the earlier honorable draw; and repays the kindness after William is revealed as a commoner by knighting him. Moreover, he declares that William is descended from an Impoverished Patrician and warns anyone that to question him is treason.
  • The Last Jedi: Because she showed him sympathy in spite of his crimes in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren has developed feelings for Rey, to the point where he isn't annoyed that she uses his real name. However, he's still unwilling to reform, instead offering her to rule the galaxy at his side. Despite his warnings that he will have to kill her, he appears extremely reluctant to fulfill this promise.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Immortan treated Furiosa like his property. The rest of the Citadel probably had to be cowed into respecting her as she climbed the ranks, and they obviously dislike her. Max is the first guy who showed her proper respect and didn't try to kill her at the first sign of weakness. As a result, he and Furiosa become as close to a Battle Couple as possible without actually being a couple.
    • Nux's Mook–Face Turn comes when Capable, one of the Wives, shows him actual compassion for the first time since his induction into the War Boys death-cult.
  • In Man on Fire, Creasy is aloof and embittered until Lupita, the young girl he's assigned to protect, brings him out of his shell by being nice to him. This is why, when she's kidnapped, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    Rayburn: She showed him it was okay to live again.
  • Mark from Massacre at Central High won't call the police on David, even though he knows he's the killer, because David helped him out at his last school and he feels like he owes him one.
  • In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, this is implied to be Mewtwo's motivation to helping Detective Pikachu and Harry and later on, Tim as well. Despite being the cause that led to Mewtwo's capture, Harry and Pikachu risked their lives to rescue Mewtwo and did so, at the cost of Harry being critically injured.
  • A minor example occurs in The Princess Diaries. When Michael asks Mia, newly crowned as princess, why she picked him, she tells him, "Because you saw me when I was invisible," referring to the fact that Michael was one of the few people who cared about Mia from the start, even when most of her peers looked down on her, rather than just becoming interested after she was revealed to be a princess.
  • The Professional: Leon is the only person to treat Mathilda with kindness besides her deceased little brother. In fact, this is what led to him allowing her to live at his apartment after her family was killed by Stansfield and his crew.
  • At the end of Slaxx, this is why the ghost of Keerat lets Libby and Shruti live, and even saves Libby from Craig after he kills Shruti and tries to kill her. They were the only people who cared about Keerat's plight and how she died, and vowed to tell her story to the world.
  • Sleepaway Camp: This is the reason Angela spares Ricky, Ronnie, and Susie.
  • In Star Trek: Nemesis, young Shinzon was thrown into a Romulan slave mine on Remus, where one of the Reman laborers took pity on him and helped him survive. This would drive him to lead the fight to end Reman slavery.
  • In Tell No One, Bruno, a gangster, has a hemophiliac son he would do anything for. When Bruno first brought his son to the hospital, the doctors and then police thought he abused his son, but Alexandre, a doctor turned pediatrician, figured out the truth and convinced everyone of it. Therefore, when Alexandre is falsely accused of murder, Bruno gladly steps in to help.
  • Valentine: Kate was the only one of the girls in the opening scene who let Jeremy Melton down nicely (Shelley, Lily, and Paige harshly rejected him) and didn't corroborate Dorothy when she framed him for sexual assault. This is why Adam/Jeremy leaves her alive at the end of the film.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 13 Reasons Why, Hannah feels this way about Clay and Tyler feels this way about Alex. Justin also feels this way about Bryce as Bryce provides an escape from his terrible home life but this trope is deconstructed as Justin allows Bryce to rape his girlfriend because Bryce thinks: “What’s mine is yours (Justin)”

  • In Being Human (UK), the only reason Herrick has any compunctions about killing Nina is that she was the only one who was kind to him and protected him when he lost his memory. He still stabs her.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Raj becomes infatuated with Bernadette because, since she is nice to him, he thinks maybe she likes 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 CUTIE-PIE. ANY GIRL WOULD BE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.
    • Similarly, Howard's endless one-way flirtations with Penny stemmed from her being nice to him, which he took as a sign of attraction. After one too many crass come-ons, she delivers an epic The Reason You Suck speech that puts him in a Heroic BSoD. When they finally talk it out, he admits that justifiably not many women are nice to him, which is why he was so infatuated with her. She apologizes for her actions and their friendship looks repaired... until he again thinks it's a sign of attraction and tries to kiss her; she punches him square in the face.
  • In one episode of Bones, a female suspect who had previously stalked the victim-of-the-week becomes smitten with Booth after he briefly comforts her. She later tries to kill Brennan, whom she saw as competition. Bonus points for Sweets recognizing what was happening a moment too late to stop Booth.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Happens repeatedly with Faith. First, it happens with her and the Mayor; he gave her a place to stay and treated her like she was his own daughter, giving her a profound loyalty to him. Then it happens 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.
    • A particularly heartbreaking example: Lorne's speech about Fred in "A Hole in the World".
      Lorne: And here's one more thing. Winifred Burkle once told me, after a sinful amount of Chinese food and in lieu of absolutely nothing, "I think a lot of people would choose to be green, your shade, if they had the choice."
  • Doctor Who: In "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", Donna ends up trapped in a virtual reality. She finds herself assisted by the virtual avatar of Miss Evangelista, the Brainless Beauty who died in the previous episode and became a genius upon being uploaded. Evangelista wants to repay Donna for being kind to her when she was alive.
  • 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, not to mention his homosexuality), so his empathy towards Brienne's situation allows him to be accepting of her masculinity.
      Brienne: He didn't love me, he didn't want me. He danced with me because he didn't want to see me hurt. He saved me from being a joke.
    • Jon and Ygritte's relationship kicks off when he spares her life. Also because Ygritte, as a Wildling, treats being defeated and spared as interest in her.
    • Sandor Clegane turns up in Season 6, having been saved and brought back to health by Septon Ray and his people. Though Clegane is gruff and grouchy as ever, it's clear that he cares about them. He is truly horrified later when he finds them butchered by Lem Lemoncloak and the other rogue Brotherhood men. When Sandor retrieves his axe, it's clear that Lem and his buddies done fucked up.
    • Ask Tyrion to name his favorite family member, and he will without a moment’s hesitation say “Jaime”, his older brother. Several characters throughout the show comment that Jaime always looked out for Tyrion, sticking up for him and protecting him from other people, even fellow Lannisters. Cersei: You’ve ALWAYS pitied him. Our POOR little brother.”
  • 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.
  • The Jeffersons: When George was just starting his dry-cleaning business, one of his first customers was a rich woman who mistook his dry cleaners for another. She decided to take a chance on him anyway and recommended him to her friends after he did a good job. Years later, the roles are reversed: the woman's down on her luck after the death of her husband, while George is a successful businessman. When she comes in to pick up her cleaning, he tells her she can pay him whenever she's able, then tears up her invoice after she leaves. It's implied this isn't the first time he's done this for her, either.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Taiga Hanaya's answer to why he tolerated Nico Saiba despite her presence seriously grating on his nerves? She called him her doctor and that made him happy. He is so devoted to protecting her he would rather die than fail, has very little consideration for his own life anyway and Nico really cares about him even though it's a chore sometimes (probably more often than that).
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Lab Rat Stuckey is happy to kill his boss and Elliot to cover up his own crimes, but is genuinely upset when Olivia walks in on the scene because she was generally decent to him and he doesn't want to have to hurt her. Olivia is able to use this against him in order to save Elliot.
  • 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 complimenting 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 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.
    • Later in the series, Reese admits that he was once on the verge of committing suicide (Lethal Weapon style — he had a special bullet and everything) until the events of the pilot, when Carter showed him kindness and empathy.
  • Raising Hope: In one Christmas Special, Jimmy gets to see what his life would be like if he never had his baby Hope. After seeing how awful things are, Jimmy set things right by recreating the night where he conceived Hope. He ask his love interest Sabrina for help, who has now become a prostitute and extremely jaded in this timeline, and tells her he knows she's still a good person underneath her bitter exterior. She claims that was the nicest thing anyone has every told her and agrees to help him.
  • 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.
  • In Star Trek: Discovery episode "The Wolf Inside", Burnham treats Mirror!Saru kindly, presumably unlike her Evil Doppelgänger, even giving him a name instead of just calling him "Slave". So, when Tyler/Voq assaults her, Mirror!Saru saves her and informs security about it.
  • In the third season of Tyrant, Bassam wins over Ahmed by giving Nusrat a proper burial, which Leila had denied for political reasons.
  • In the third season finale of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, she bumped into a fellow student who had just dropped out of school, and was panicking about the decision. Even though she didn't know him, she gently talked him through his worries and gave him encouragement. At the end of the episode, after everything else had gone wrong for her, he gave her a call to tell her that his tech startup had been funded, and he wanted to hire her.
  • On The Watch (2021), Cheery is kind to a goblin named Spike who is part of the group working for Carcer and Wonse, that have been treated as a Fantastic Underclass. As a result, Spike flips to the Watch's side and later takes an arrow in the back for them.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • Georges Brassen's "Chanson pour l'Auvergnat" tells the story of a man who has been thoroughly hated and condemned by society but fondly recalls three persons: the titular "Auvergnat" (a person from the Auvergne region) who gave him firewood in winter, a hostess who fed him bread when he was starving, and a traveler who kindly smiled at him when he was about to be taken to jail. Each memory finishes with the narrator hoping that they will go to Heaven for their kindness.
  • The song People Are Crazy is about a guy (the singer) hanging out with a lonely old man, he didn't even know and having a general good time, before the mysterious old man left, never to see the singer again. Turns out the old man was a millionaire and left his fortune to the man he barely knew, that showed him a genuinely good time, before his death.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ken Shamrock promised to instruct the kickboxer Maurice Smith in grappling, which was fulfilled by proxy of his brother Frank, who he in turn instructed in striking and put together an "Alliance" for (with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka) in Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • Mountain Fiji was responsible for getting Little Egypt a job in GLOW. Even though it did not end well, Egypt being forced out with an ACL break, she still organized GLOW reunion shows for the purpose of helping Fiji pay for her own injuries and diabetes treatment.
  • The formation of Paul London's tag team with Brian Kendrick came about when the latter tried to save Paul from a Brock Lesnar mauling. Kendrick was, of course, no help at all, Lesnar still being in his "squash everything, lose nothing" phase, but Paul was forever grateful regardless.
  • The unlikely "friendship" between Tara and long-standing nemesis Mickie James came about in TNA when Tara wasn't actually for Madison Rayne running over James with Tara's motorcycle. Despite not being able to stop the heinous act, James not only beat Rayne for the Knockout's Title belt but wagered it on the grounds Tara would be free from contract Rayne was dangling over her head should Rayne lose her rematch. While Tara still fought James on the independent circuit, she was never quite as hostile to Mickie as before, taking Mickie's side against Amber Rodriguez and Melina and the MCW Ladies Night and joining her and Jazz for Chikara's King Of Trios.
  • Liv Morgan stopped Billie Kay from getting a dirty win over Aliyah simply because she was sick of being bullied by Billie and Peyton Royce. When the Iconic Duo double-teamed Liv, Aliyah made a Heel–Face Turn to help her and return the favour. They became fast friends and teamed together many times.
  • TARU became the lifelong manager of Crazy MAX, a bunch of punks he barely knew, because they spared him from a beatdown they gave to TARU's partner and opponents during a match.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Genius: The Transgression: Neid-type Geniuses tend to have... issues with the whole "They Called Me Mad!" thing, and are extremely resentful over being misunderstood, and even mocked, by their formerly fellow scientists, and by Muggles in general. Naturally, if they find someone who actually does believe them, or at the very least understand them, someone who manages to gain their trust, then that someone just found themselves a powerful ally.
  • During the Siege On Tolkeen in Rifts, the forces of Tolkeen liberated the Daemonix, a race of sub-demons, from enslavement in another dimension. They then asked the Daemonix to help them fight the Coalition. they instantly agreed, because Tolkeen asked them. As far back as the despised Daemonix could remember, no one has ever asked them anything. No previous master had 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. It then ends up becoming this in the opposite direction, where Elphaba's genuine kindness in response to Galinda's self-serving actions (she only did it to get Boq out of her hair) lead Galinda to befriend Elphaba for real.

    Urban Legends 
  • One dark version of the trope has a high school student stand up to some bullies on behalf of an outcast kid. The kid responds by telling them to not come to school on a particular day, the reveal being the kid was going to shoot it up that day.

    Video Games 
  • Case 02: Paranormal Evil: Marty bonds with Sally because she constantly brought lucky clovers to his comatose body, despite them being complete strangers to each other. Due to this, he's willing to fight a zombie and cultist army in order to prevent her from being used as Gla'aki's vessel.
  • In the M.M.O., City of Heroes we have a rarer villainous example of this as signature Mad Scientist Doctor Aeon is working for Big Bad, Lord Recluse, and turns down numerous attempts from several rival villains to bribe/poach him because back when he was a no-name mad theorist with next to no money or prestige to his name and everyone else called him “mad”, Lord Recluse believed in him and his experiments, gave him a paycheck, a company and his own city to rule. Dr. Aeon refuses to ever betray his beloved evil overlord.
  • 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.
  • In Chapter Two of Deltarune, we discover that even when she was a Barbaric Bully, Susie never went after Noelle. This is because Noelle offered her a pencil on the first day of school, and, considering her to be genuinely nice, she decided to spare her. Ironically, Noelle's crush on her stems from liking how wild and dangerous she is, and mistakenly thought that Susie was ignoring her because she didn't notice or care that she was alive.
  • 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.
  • 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. The loyalty lasts 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Fallout
    • 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.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has a super mutant called Mean-son-of-a bitch who used to be a slave who was brutally abused by the people watching him, until a man from Westside took pity on him and bought his freedom. Afterwards, Mean followed him back to Westside, where he repaid his debt by becoming the town's principal defender; apparently, once he even drove off the dreaded Fiends by himself.
    • 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.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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.
    • An interesting version of this occurs in the Final Fantasy XIV mission "Every Little Thing She Does is Magitek". After repairing a captured Garlean Empire Magitek Armor, Biggs, Wedge, and Cid realize that a repaired part still isn't working right and Wedge suggests being nice to it to show it appreciation. However, after you and Cid defend it from a group of Imperial Soldiers, it snaps to life and fixes the problem, accepting them. Cid, however, says that he hopes they don't have to do that with the Enterprise.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Leads to two Heel Face Turns in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. 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.
    • Soren in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn feels this toward Ike. When Soren had been abused, abandoned, and left for dead, Ike found him and gave him food and respect. Soren was so incredibly touched by this simple random act of kindness that he literally devoted the entire rest of his life to him, even after they were separated for years and Ike didn't remember meeting him. However, Ike does continue to show Soren kindness repeatedly throughout the games, which he appreciates. Their paired ending even describes Ike as the only person Soren ever trusted.
    • 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.
      • Henry's support with Ricken has a bittersweet double dose. Henry says Mustafa, the first noble Plegian commander the Avatar meets, treated him like family—and other Plegians (disparagingly) imply Henry felt genuine loyalty in return. He seems as cavalier about Mustafa's death as any other person he'd known before, but when Ricken asks what Henry would do if he were slain, Henry immediately swears he'd seek (literally) bloody vengeance. He's almost surprised to find that he truly considers the Shepherds his friends. Henry's emotions are always difficult to read, but he seems to have forgiven the Shepherds for Mustafa's death, knowing that true responsibility lay with Gangrel, whom they defeated.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, the Team Pet Lilith says that she follows the Avatar because he/she nursed her back to health when younger, thinking she was an injured bird.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses brings us Dedue, who is unfalteringly loyal to Dimitri because the latter was the only person who treated him with respect and dignity after the Tragedy of Duscur.
  • In Ghost 1.0, Jacker and Boogan are the first clients to treat Ghost like a person rather than an asset. They communicate with her throughout her mission, show concern for her wellbeing, and generally make her feel like part of their team. As such, when Ghost's boss Viktor kidnaps Jacker toward the end of the game, Ghost immediately enacts a plan to rescue him.
  • In Hakuouki, 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 sword-fighting stance and refusal to stop wearing his swords on his right side (nearly a taboo in samurai culture) instead of accusing him of cheating.
  • Downplayed in I Miss the Sunrise, where it only leads to one favor. If you attempt to rescue the Black One in Episode 3, he'll cite this as his motivation when he returns to help you later on.
  • 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.
  • 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. When being tried for treason, her people stick "vas Normandy" to her name, thinking that being associated with a human ship and captain will not do her any favors. If Shepard gets her cleared, Tali decides to keep the name, thinking that Shepard has been a greater friend to her than any quarian.
    • Shepard becomes the Hope Bringer for the geth if Legion is accepted into the team in 2. Shepard's handshake with Legion was considered so significant that it was preserved in the geth consensus, as it was the first time that an organic had ever treated a geth as an equal, giving hope for a peaceful resolution with organics.
    • If Shepard saves David Archer from Cerberus's clutches in the "Overlord" DLC questline, he'll repay the kidness during Cerberus's invasion of Grissom Academy by helping his fellow students place their trust in Shepard before leaving the security office's lock hacked so Shepard can take the weapons inside to rout Cerberus.
    • Subverted if Shepard sabotages the genophage cure when Wrex is leader of Clan Urdnot: Wrex claims he will honor their friendship by giving Shepard a quick death for his/her betrayal. Played completely straight, however, if Shepard successfully cures the genophage. Wrex, Eve and the entire Krogan population become incredibly loyal to Shepard, providing the largest assets after Shepard's own crew and the Alliance, with Wrex basically declaring that he and Shepard are Blood Brothers.
    • Long story short, a lot of the Undying Loyalty that Paragon Shepard inspires comes down to this trope. Being an All-Loving Hero for people and races that have never known kindness tends to have that effect.
  • 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 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.
    Neeshka: I... I can't do it. I won't do it! By the hells, I'm not going to turn on the one person who showed me kindness! And if it costs me my life, so be it.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Yusufa stands up for Primrose and distracts Helgenish for her, because Prim was the only dancer there who was kind to her. This ends up being what gets her killed.
    • This is also why Therion continues to assist House Ravus, even after the band on his arm is unlocked.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian joins Mario's party simply because he was the first to be nice to her.
  • In Persona 5, this is mutually done for both Joker and Ryuji. Ryuji had become a pariah at Shujin Academy due to Kamoshida's treatment towards him and his old track team hating him but he becomes fast friends with Joker after their trip to the Metaverse and Joker is the first person in a long time to treat Ryuji kindly. For Joker, Ryuji was the first one to befriend him despite the wrongful accusations and rumors that Joker has a criminal record. This is actually how Joker interacts with all the Confidantes- they're almost all social outcasts for one reason or another, whether it's Ann, who's looks make most people in the school think she's a slut, Tae Takemi, who's a disgraced doctor with a checkered past, Shinya Oda, who's a video game ace who has no friends due to his mom's obsessive behavior, or Munehisa Iwai, who's a former member of the yakuza. Joker listens to all of them and treats them with respect, and in return they all develop serious loyalty to him.
  • Puyo Puyo: Due to the setting's rules on spacetime travel, Ecolo was never able to forge a genuine connection with anyone before the events of Puyo Puyo 7, as everyone he met would immediately forget about him at his next dimension jump. Because of this, Ringo's Ripple Effect-Proof Memory and her surprisingly jovial treatment of him have caused him to develop a downright unhealthy, but genuinely affectionate attachment to her.
  • The Resident Evil series has a few:
    • Ada Wong 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.
    • If Leon rescues a dog whose leg is caught in a bear trap in Resident Evil 4, the dog will later come back to assist him against a Boss Battle.
  • 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.
  • Stellaris:
    • Coming to the aid of another Empire in war will boost your relations considerably, which can lead to trade and research agreements and possibly even an alliance. Even Fanatical Purifiers have the potential to be befriended this way if you save them from their own annihilation.
    • An enslaved synthetic population has a chance of causing a Robot War in the form of an endgame crisis. If you were kind to your own synths and gave them equal rights by signing the AI Accord, not only will they refuse to rebel, they will fight all the harder to protect their creators.
    • If you save a pre-spaceflight civilization from an asteroid there is a chance that they will return the favor much later in the game. Destroying an asteroid approaching one of your own colonies in their own less advanced space ship.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Sheltered Aristocrat Luke fon Fabre, who has Undying Loyalty towards his mentor and Parental Substitute straight up because of this trope. Unfortunately said mentor is the Big Bad and invoked this to use and then discard Luke. He also is like that to anyone nice to him; as Tsundere as he is before his development, he's there for Guy and Ion just because they are nice to him. Even after, if anyone does anything that he considers "nice" to him, he develops Undying Loyalty to them.
  • Until Dawn: There's no indication that the wolf Mike meets in the sanitorium is abused by the Stranger, but if you don't kick it, or give it a bone to chew on if you did, it'll immediately warm up to Mike's affection and repay his kindness later by guiding him through the sanitorium on his second visit, growling and barking if any wendigos are nearby.
  • In The Walking Dead, pretty much the only brave thing ever done by Ben is if he volunteers to come with Lee in Season 5 to rescue Clementine. He outright says the only reason he does is because Clementine was the only one in the group who was nice to him and who was his only true friend, and that she'd have done the same for him.
  • In Warframe the Tenno were the only ones to express empathy and compassion towards the titular warframes, who were driven mad with rage and anguish from having been turned into human weapons by the Orokin, allowing them to finally feel at peace. The warframes repaid this kindness with their Undying Loyalty.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Basically the reason why Phoenix becomes a lawyer — 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.
  • Crimson Gray: The reason for Lizzie's attachment to John is because he stood up for her when a couple of classmates were badmouthing her.
  • In side story Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF, Junko accuses Mukuro this is the reason why she is so intent on saving Makoto. During the two years spent at Hope's Peak, Makoto was the first person to smile at her despite her title as the Ultimate Soldier. In fact, Mukuro is always looking at Makoto in some form in the class photos. According to Word of God, if she is looking straight at the camera, it means Makoto is the photographer.
  • Aoba's other-self, Desire or Sly Blue from DRAMAtical Murder is this towards Mizuki. Because Mizuki is the only one who has seen both personalities of Aoba, yet did not change his attitude towards either.
  • Lamento - beyond the void:
    • Asato is loyal and devoted to Konoe stems from the fact that Konoe is the first to treat him with any kindness, in contrast with the other Kirannote  cats.
    • The reason behind Leaks eventual attachment to Shui is because of the latter's unconditional and selfless kindness towards him, even if he isn't receptive or appreciative of it at first. In the past, he was a magician who lived in solitude and didn't like the other cats only because they all immediately hate him for no good reason, although he never did anything to harm them. Only Shui who didn't treat him like the other cats.
  • Minotaur Hotel:
    • In the main route, Asterion will become close friends with you for this very reason, as you're the first master to ever treat him like a friend.
    • Regardless of what actions you make, Storm will always become close with P for the sheer fact that he gave him a charm that makes him appear human. If P. is particularly kind to Storm they have a more obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Kouhei Kitani from sweet pool is this towards Okinaga's family. It began with Kunihito saving Kitani's life when he found Kitani trying to kill himself. Kunihito picked up him up and began strangling him to force his survival instinct to kick in, then invited him into the yakuza to at least throw his life away productively.
  • Togainu no Chi has Nano attached to Akira is because he's the only one who showed any kindness towards him in the past where he was used for experiments.
  • In VA-11 HALL-A, Sei works as a Valkyrie (first responder and paramedic, essentially) for the White Knights, Glitch City's corrupt authorities. About halfway through the story, a massive data breach exposes the true depths of their corruption, not only forcing them to disband but also inciting the city to lynch them en masse - but no one goes after Sei. She guesses that this is because everyone who recognized her did so through her having saved their life (or someone close to them) at some point, and pretended not to notice her to save hers in return.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Eunice the elephant goes with Asia after she helped free him from captivity.
  • Red vs. Blue: This treatment by the Reds and Blues blows Washington out of the water, and helps bring out his good side again. Fitting, because the total lack of this trope got him to go evil in the first place.
  • RWBY:
    • How the relationship between Jaune and Pyrrha starts. Unaware of Pyrrha's formidable reputation, Jaune innocently treats her just like he would any other person. Suffering from a bad case of Lonely at the Top, Pyrrha is immediately charmed by his unassuming nature and goes out of her way to keep an eye on him during the team's upcoming combat trials. Their friendship gave Pyrrha the chance to make even more friends, but it's with Jaune that she likes to pass her time with more. They become best friends and partners in no time and Pyrrha finds herself in love with him.
    • Villainous example: the only reason Emerald sides with the villains is because Cinder took her in off the streets to be her "apprentice", which earned her Emerald's Undying Loyalty. The tragic part is this is almost certainly one-sided; Cinder only wanted her for her Semblance. Once she finally accepts that Cinder holds no real affection for her, and learns the full extent of Salem's plans, she's persuaded to make a Heel–Face Turn.
    • The Maidens of the Seasons usually pass on their powers to whomever they're thinking of when they die (provided that the person in question is female and under 30), so a simple act of kindness in their final moments can be enough for someone to inherit the role, which is exactly how Penny ends up becoming the new Winter Maiden after Fria dies.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Twig:
    • The friendship and genuine emotion offered by the Lambsbridge Gang is enough to overcome Laser Guided Tyke Bomb Mary's villainous loyalties and convince her to become the Sixth Ranger for their team, as all the affection she's ever received has been rote and her creator has never treated her as more than a tool.
    • Subsequently, this is inverted with Sylvester's tendency to attack, humiliate, belittle, and otherwise drive away anyone outside the Lambsbridge Gang who shows signs of being nice to him or being sympathetic to his situation. He explains this is a basic Pavlovian response; the doctors who raised him were always kind and soothing right before they injected his brain with neurotoxins to force it to rapidly generate new connections, an incredibly painful process.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks when Alvin was left behind by the others because he didn't do his chores, Alvin did them for once, only for a Contrived Coincidence to occur when an alien being chased by an agent and a scientist begged Alvin to hide him. Despite Alvin's attempts to dissuade the hunters, they ransacked the house in search of the alien before offering to Alvin they'd fix it up and by the one next door for him (which had a cool dirt bike Alvin wanted) in exchange for him telling them where the alien was. Despite this, Alvin continued to feign ignorance, resulting in the agent and scientist leaving the house in its messed-up state with one minute before the others came home. Fortunately for Alvin, before departing, the grateful alien zapped the house with a ray that restored the house to the way it was before he arrived.
  • 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.
  • Castlevania: When Dracula finds out his wife, Lisa, was arrested on trumped-up charges of witchcraft and is already dead, he warns her elderly neighbor to take her family and run before he unleashes hell on Wallachia. He doesn't tell her this because she was nice to Dracula himself, but because she was the only person to pay respect to Lisa's memory.
    • One of Dracula's human servants, Isaac, serves him because of this trope; Isaac was a former slave who was abused and treated like a waste of oxygen by everyone, and Dracula was the first person to show him any sort of respect and kindness.
  • 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, it's implied that Foxglove was lonely to a degree not accounted for by human language.
    • It is also possible Winnifred was a nicer person once and grew more and more bitter as her pursuit of magic failed.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Launchpad helps the Rescue Rangers in getting their Ranger Plane to initially fly. They return by the end of the episode and save Launchpad from Steelbeak.
  • Family Guy: Deconstructed with Meg. Since everyone treats her like complete garbage all of the time she will fall in love with any guy that shows her any amount of kindness, sometimes to an obsessive degree.
  • In Futurama, Kif to Leela in "Brannigan, Begin Again".
  • 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 nicer to them then.
  • Xanatos' Heel–Face Turn in Gargoyles is because of this. At times when the normally always in control Xanatos is in serious trouble, it was his main enemy Goliath and his companions who helped him. The first time when his fiance and future wife, Fox, is turned into a Werewolf after a gift Xanatos gave her causes a cursed effect. And later when the two are married and have a son, only for it to be revealed that he is a special baby and an Elemental God named Oberon wants that baby for himself. While Goliath makes clear both times they helped was mainly to save New York City, Xanatos is still grateful and comes to his aid when he is needed the most at the end of Season 2, making it clear to Eliza Maza afterwards that his beef with Goliath is over.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee showed Molly is the only human who treated the grumpy ghost Scratch with respect and kindness. In episode 1, she show him the dollhouse to lived with him on her grandmother's advice. For a reason, he starts to like her in turn even she's annoying cheerful.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Dr. Bliss: So nobody's ever noticed you.
    Helga: ...there was someone...
  • In Hoops, Matty has adamantly refused to join the basketball team. Ben spends most of "The Pilot" trying to convince him to do so, even going so far as to hire a hooker to try to get him laid. The plan doesn't work out and both Hopkins and the hooker get arrested before the hooker even makes it through Matty's door. At the end of the episode, however, when Ben is about to throw in the towel, he finds that Matty has joined the team. Matty says that he did so because what Ben did is the first time anyone has ever done anything like this for 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 appearance's sake) Keef became obsessed with Zim even after Zim made it clear he wanted nothing to do with him.
  • 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.
  • Kaeloo:
    • It's heavily implied that the main reason Stumpy loves Ursula more than anyone else is that she accepts him despite all his flaws, while his other friends constantly make fun of and bully him.
    • It's also suggested that one of the main reasons Mr. Cat is relatively nicer to Kaeloo than anyone else and spares her from some of the more vicious things he does is that she shows him a lot of kindness.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Keep Calm And Flutter On", Discord 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 knew she was doing it... but it still worked.
    • And in "Twilight's Kingdom", he is reformed once and for all (though still remaining untamed) after Twilight saves him from Tirek even though Discord had earlier done a Face–Heel Turn and helped Tirek drain all the ponies' powers.
    • In "School Raze", the racist Chancellor Neighsay is truly touched when the non-pony students he'd locked up freed him in an Enemy Mine scenario, and his gratitude helps him turn over a new leaf.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Jet, Sean, Sydney, and Mindy (Jet and Mindy especially) showing kindness towards Mitchell despite his imperfections is what gets him to open up to them and become a trustworthy ally of the team.
  • In the Christmas Special Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Kris is able to win over stern schoolteacher Jessica and the demonic Winter Warlock simply by giving them gifts. (It's obvious nobody had ever been nice to either of them before.) It almost works on Burgomeister Meisterberger himself, the gift causing him to be happy for a few brief minutes, but he quickly composes himself and resumes his previous ways.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Adora begins to rethink the Horde's teachings when she's captured by two members of the Rebellion, and they not only choose to take her back to Bright Moon nonviolently, but make conversation with her and, in Bow's case, are downright friendly. She's genuinely taken aback when she sees that the "savage" rebels she's been raised to hate and fear are are actually good people.
    • Catra's love for Adora stems from the fact that Adora's the only person that ever gave a damn about her. When Adora defects to the Rebellion, Catra... fails to get over this. Unfortunately, as Catra's Sanity Slippage ensues, she averts the trope more and more, treating both Adora and Scorpia extremely badly.
    • Hordak warms up to Entrapta because she's friendly and cheerful, and isn't afraid of him. When he confesses to her that he's a defective clone and has spent his whole life trying to prove he has worth in spite of that, she says she sort of knows how he feels — she's pretty weird, too, and is sometimes isolated because of it. She then surprises him by saying she's genuinely okay with that, because "defections" and uniqueness aren't just okay, but something to be cherished. Hordak is genuinely touched, and assures Entrapta that, in his opinion, anyone who dismisses her for her weirdness is an idiot, anyway.
  • 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.
    • While more a Puppy Love example, there's the infamous crush Ralph Wiggum developed on Lisa when she was the only one to give him a Valentine.
    • In one episode, Bart wins a $500 cash settlement from Krusty after a jagged metal O in his box of Krusty-O's gave him appendicitis. He spends the money to buy an album made by Lisa's jazz mentor "Bleeding Gums" Murphy (who died earlier that episode); she asks why, and he says it's because she was the only person who believed him when he said he was sick.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Zeb showing compassion to his archenemy Agent Kallus when they were stranded on an icy, inhospitable moon together winds up triggering a Heel–Face Turn for Kallus. Since no one would at first believe he's changed, he'd use this trope as an excuse.
  • Static Shock: Deconstruction. Eddie Felson met Daisy Watkins at science summer camp. He developed a crush on her because she was the only person at the camp that was kind to him. However, his crush on her becomes an unhealthy obsession, with him stalking her and stealing luxury items to give to her. What made it worse was it was implied from Daisy's reaction to seeing him again and from the way she talked about him is that she did not like him even as a friend and whatever kindness she ever showed him was out of pity.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Lapis Lazuli has this attitude towards Steven. He befriended her while she was still trapped in a mirror for thousands of years before Steven who set her free. Afterwards, she actually tried to kill him after she stole the Earth's ocean to try to get back to Homeworld, but their friendship was confirmed when he healed her cracked gem. Ever since then, she's made several efforts to protect him or at least warn him of danger, and eventually, she held Jasper in a fusion at the bottom of the ocean to prevent her from harming Steven. While she's still shown to be hostile, or at least ambivalent towards the other Crystal Gems, it's very clear that she wants to do whatever she can for Steven, the only being in thousands of years who was nice to her and treated her kindly. It ultimately results in her deciding to officially join the Crystal Gems when the Diamonds invade Earth in "Reunited".
    • Peridot also begins to develop these feelings due to Steven showing her compassion and trust and the rest of the Gems showing her varying degrees of compassion. It ultimately results in her turning on Yellow Diamond and becoming a Crystal Gem to help protect Earth.
    • The Pebbles who live in the walls of the Diamond Palace. They appear to be made entirely by accident, and their purpose seems to be "stay out of sight and perform various chores". Pink Diamond actively sought them out and thanked them for their work, which led many of them being her playmates. They befriend Steven for similar reasons.
  • A platonic and villainous example occurs midway through the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Karai has become the Dragon Ascendant and part of the package includes the service of the Foot Mystics. The Mystics grow to really hate Karai because she treats them like crap, and while they refer to the previous Shredder as an "Utrom abomination", they appreciated that he had a lot of respect for them.
  • The Owl House: This is heavily implied to be the reason why Amity develops a crush on Luz. In a world like The Boiling Isles, which runs on Social Darwinism and Everything Is Trying to Kill You, along with Amity having Abusive Parents and Big Sibling Bullies, she is drawn to Luz's constant kindness, even in moments where she doesn't need to be.
  • In the 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.
  • Subverted twice in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", First, Patrick made friends with Squidward after performing CPR to get the fork out of his throat just until he fell asleep while Squidward was playing his clarinet in which he tries dragging him out of his house, throwing out his back on the process. This causes SpongeBob to ram his head on Squidward's back, putting him back to normal. The two are friends until SpongeBob breaks his double bass which prompts Squidward to literally kick him out of his house. Of course, this didn't stop SpongeBob and Patrick from fighting over Squidward.

    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'.
  • The 19th 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 - with one particularly awful woman getting shut in a hut with starving dogs before the hut was put to the torch. Those who had not actively bullied them, but had allowed it to happen, were put to death more quickly and less painfully. Only one man was spared because Shaka remembered him being nice to his mother.
  • John Tharpe owned a slave plantation in Jamaica. He was noted in both Europe and the island itself for his respectful and dignified treatment of the slaves he owned. When a slave rebellion broke out, many plantations were looted and burned, but his was completely untouched.
  • Similarly, when the Haitian Revolution occurred, the rebels tended to spare the overseers that had treated them well, while giving the cruel ones their just desserts.
  • Judy Garland mentored newcomer Gene Kelly on the set of For Me and My Gal, his first movie; Kelly would later claim she taught him basically everything he knew about show business. Years later, when Garland came out of rehab and not many people would work with her, Gene requested her for Summer Stock.
  • Criminals like kidnappers or planned shooters are inspired to turn their lives around on occasion because their victim or would-be victim treated them with respect.
  • The Roman Emperor Caligula exploited this trope; he would set some of his slaves free and give them important positions within his Empire. The reason he trusted them with these positions was that they owed him everything they had, even their own freedom.
  • The Ottoman Sultans used a similar strategy, ordering European boys kidnapped and raised to become his chief administrators and generals. This ensured total loyalty since they were wholly dependent on his patronage for their positions, and prevented aristocratic rivals from building up their own power bases.
  • During World War II, an Allied spy named Virginia Hall was arrested by Spanish police for being in the country with improper documentation (she'd crossed the Pyrenees in a hurry to escape infamous SS officer Klaus Barbie). While in jail, she nursed a young prostitute named Elena back to health. When Elena was released, she told the American consulate about Hall's predicament, and they got her out of jail.
  • This is unfortunately a common form of manipulation that cults, hate groups and sometimes even militant organizations use as a recruitment tactic. The prey on lonely wayward youths by showing them that “they care” and then warp them until their beliefs are their own.

 
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"Hello, Commander Shepard."

As thanks for saving him from the clutches of Cerberus, David Archer convinces his classmates to listen to Shepard before leaving behind a gift for the woman who saved his life.

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Main / BecauseYouWereNiceToMe

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