Follow TV Tropes


Karmic Jackpot

Go To

"A generous person will prosper, and whoever blesses others will themselves be refreshed."

When Laser-Guided Karma becomes a good thing.

Because of a good deed this character does, a streak of spectacular good luck crops up and everything starts to go their way. It's often seen as consequence of giving a beggar some money, where it turns out that the beggar is someone important who decides to help them. The Aesop is then "What goes around comes around", i.e. good deeds (karma) leads to good fortune. See also The Golden Rule.


Done poorly, this can become a Deus ex Machina. This is the opposite of Karmic Death.

For selfless action aesops, see Think Nothing of It and Humble Hero.

See Character Witness when a good deed for another character early on is later repaid by that character when our hero is in a desperate situation himself. Compare Curse Is Foiled Again, Throw the Dog a Bone, Old Beggar Test, Androcles' Lion and Earn Your Happy Ending. Contrast No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Karma Houdini Warranty, and Video Game Cruelty Punishment.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo: This is the backstory of Giorno Giovanna, the Redeeming Replacement of his father Dio. He grew up in a dirty neighborhood with a neglectful mother and abusive stepfather and was a regular target of bullies, and was likely on his way to being as horrible as his father. This all changed when he misdirected several gunmen from a wounded man. That man turned out to be a gangster who was running his neighborhood. As thanks, the gangster slowly had Giorno's life improved from the shadows, giving Giorno a sense of justice.
  • Baccano!: People have spent centuries fighting and killing for the secrets to true immortality. Shortly after the formula is perfected, Isaac and Miria accidentally become immortal by sharing what they believe to be expensive wine with all of their friends.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Slave 23 provides a bit of blood so that his master can perform an alchemical experiment. This results in the creation of a homunculus. Out of gratitude, the flask-bound creature gives the slave a name (Van Hohenheim), enough alchemical knowledge to make him one of the most powerful men in the country, and when the homunculus tricks the king into sacrificing every living person in the country to create a Philosopher's stone, Hohenheim gets half the souls, making him not only the sole survivor (other than the homunculus itself) but also immortal.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Protagonist Izuku Midoriya spent his entire life up to middle school as the only Quirkless kid in his class, desperately wishing for a chance to become a hero like his idol, All Might. Despite his efforts at being good and working hard in hopes of getting into U.A., All Might initially tells him that it's it's impossible for someone without powers to become a hero, crushing the poor kid's dreams into fine powder. Then Izuku becomes the only one to rush in to help his bully, Katsuki Bakugo, who is being suffocated to death by a Blob Monster-like supervillain. This inspires All Might to rush back into the fray despite using up his Hour of Power and save them, later chasing Izuku down to tell him that he can be a hero and that he's worthy of becoming the successor to All Might's Quirk. And then Joint Training Arc reveals that Izuku is the first user to wield the six Quirks stored within One For All.
    • Rescue points in the UA Entrance Exams are deliberately designed with this in mind. A student passing the entrance exam is contingent on the amount of points they collect. They are told that they can collect points by destroying robots designed to act as villains (referred to as "villain points"), showing the would-be student's physical might as well as their ability to think on their feet. What they don't tell the examinees is that they are also given points for committing heroic acts, referred to as "rescue points". Izuku Midoriya is able to pass the entrance exam despite not getting one single villain point, by destroying the zero-pointer (a robot big enough to topple buildings despite not being worth any villain points) in an effort to save Ochaco when she's in danger from it.
  • In Sword Art Online, during the Alfheim arc, Kirito is trying to get to the top of the World Tree to rescue Asuna when he learns that the Salamanders, the strongest race, are planning on attacking a meeting of the Sylphs and the Cait Siths to stop their alliance from happening. While Leafa proposes that Kirito might be better off siding with the Salamanders, Kirito refuses to betray a friend for personal gain, and instead thwarts the Salamander attack. As a result, the Sylph-Cait Sith alliance serves as The Cavalry during Kirito's attack on the World Tree.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics used this trope every so often, with either Archie or Betty encountering a poor-looking man who they help out, while Reggie mocks them for it. Later, either the poor guy turns out to be a wealthy man who lends Archie a fabulous car for a week, or Reggie ends up stranded at a mall with no money to call for a tow truck after his car broke down.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye features this for Whirl. He, Swerve, and Nautica discover a Doorstop Baby protoform outside Swerve's bar. Which is a big problem because the entire population of the Lost Light needs to sleep in hibernation beds that night because they are about to fly through hostile territory and need to hide their life signs, and there's no extra beds available. After a failed attempt to teleport the protoform away from the ship, Whirl (a sociopathic nutcase) intends to throw it out an airlock. He can't bring himself to do it, and instead shares his hibernation bed with it...shutting down his own body because the bed can only conceal one set of life signs and sacrificing his own life to save the baby. In a twist he both survives and learns that wasn't a baby; it was a vicious swarm of scraplets disguising itself to be taken care of. Whirl has no problem with this, even declaring himself proud of the little monsters. Many issues later a massive swarm of scraplets is unleashed on the crew...only to form into a giant hand, gently caress Whirl, and help them against their enemies because the ones he saved are now part of the swarm and told the others about him.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Countless fairy tales. The Queen Bee and Diamonds and Toads are classic examples, but there are literally hundreds of others. The Start Talers are remarkable for featuring an almost literal jackpot (as in money falling from the sky).

    Fan Works 
  • In her effort to save Chloe from an incoming car, Marinette in Nymph and the Corrupted Miraculous becomes injured in a way that leaves her in a wheelchair. Mayor Bourgeois rewards Marinette for saving her daughter by paying for all the expenses to make their life easier (like making her house wheelchair accessible) and Chloe decides to be friends with her (possibly out of guilt), ending her bullying. While Chloe still acts like a brat to others, Marinette is able to tone it down.
  • Within the massive crossover fanfic, Steven Universe Blackthorned's Multiverse Madness Arc, Jase O'Conner, despite being only barely superhuman, helped save his fellow spies: Alex, Sam, and Clover. He even got a shot in at Elvin that helped the main heroes push Elvin's attack back to finish him off. What does he get as a reward? A roll in the hay with all three of them, and he originally had trouble talking to them before being quite shy.
  • In The Child of Azkaban, after Harry was discovered in Azkaban, Sirius was finally given a trial when they convince Fudge and Dumbledore how little sense it made for him to be the traitor. What follows is a trial where Sirius was finally able to explain himself calmly and rationally, Harry's aura preventing damage to his mind, making it clear that he himself was not a Death Eater and puts Bartemius Crouch's methods as an Auror under investigation. The real clincher was when Sirius made it known that he was fully willing to take veritaserum. He is found innocent of all charges, is reimbursed handsomely for his wrongful imprisonment, is allowed to take up full legal status as Harry's guardian and is promised to be let off with a warning for his unregistered state as an animagus as long he registers properly shortly after his time as St. Mungos's.
  • Total Drama
    • Courtney in Courtney's Crusade for Redemption. Courtney has managed to salvage her friendship with Gwen and get a decent, loving boyfriend, plus fixing her previously badly damaged reputation.
    • Cody in Total Drama: Cody's Redemption. He ended up a washed up loser with no friends, fans or self respect in his first life. When sent back to before the beginning of the series, his choice to not waste this second chance he's been given pays off in a big way. By learning from his past mistakes he ends up with many more friends, Chris adores him for the high ratings he brings by being far more interesting, and while he had no luck with women before save for with a crazy stalker the first time round, here he has unknowingly attracted the affections of both Bridgette and Lindsay, the latter of who flat out admits that she is in love with him.
  • In The Fifth Act, Cloud, freshly sent back in time, begins pursuing Sephiroth with an obsessive zeal. However, early on he meets Genesis Rhapsodos, and in a moment of pity, gives him one of his rare water vials to heal his degradation. A grateful Genesis, seeing as Cloud wants to confront Sephiroth, convinces the aloof General to visit Wutai so they can meet. Later on, being in perfect health allows him to bond more readily with Sephiroth and Angeal, strengthening their friendship and preventing Sephiroth's descent into madness. Finally, in the end it's Genesis who blows up a defenseless Jenova, breaking her hold on Cloud.
  • At the end of the Entrance Exams in How Eating a Strange Fruit Gave Me My Quirk, Hitoshi Shinso uses his quirk to peacefully defuse a potential fight even though he had nothing to gain by doing so, which gains the interest of Eraser Head. Although he did not receive enough points to receive a place in the Heroics Course, Eraser Head managed to convince Nezu to grant Shinso a chance to prove himself and earn a Reserved Spot, which would allow him to participate in specific Heroic Course activities. Eraser Head also personally takes Shinso under his wing to train and mentor him.
  • Five Years Later, a fanfiction story, has this for the Saiyans in story. In story the Saiyans, who originally were a failed and abandoned colony left on the brink of death before being brought to Planet Vegeta, did not kill the Truffles and worked with them to repay their kindness. The result was not only them evolving into an overall stronger species than in canon, but also being able to defeat Freeza, save their world, and become respected throughout the galaxy. Their shared planet also became the most popular vacation spot in their galaxy.

  • Dog Soldiers: Cooper defies a direct order to shoot one of Ryan's dogs in order to complete his Special Forces training, making it clear he can kill a dog if he needs to but absolutely will not without a good reason — as it turns out, him being failed by Ryan for this reason alone was a Lifesaving Misfortune. Not only that, but Cooper and the dog Sam are the two sole survivors at the end of the film.
  • Godzilla (2014): Albeit with both parties unaware of the fact. Right when Godzilla is being pinned down by the MUTOs, Brody sets fire to the nest and draws the female's attention, giving Big G an opening to stand up and regroup. His assistance is rewarded when, just as the female MUTO is about to kill him, Godzilla appears out of nowhere to bite on the MUTO's neck and let Brody get away.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Kevin thinks he's been terrible over Christmas and decides to stop the Duncan's Toy Store bank robbery both to do a good deed and protect the kids in the hospital. He even leaves a note to apologize to Mr. Duncan for breaking the window, so as to trip the burglary alarms. Mr. Duncan eyes the paper, noting that it's Plaza stationary, and he's grateful to Kevin for saving the donation money. So he sends enough presents to fill several bedrooms to the Plaza, to the suite where the family with the surname McCallister will be staying. Kevin wasn't expecting any presents, let alone one as a reward for doing good.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Mr. Ping gets fringe benefits of having adopted the panda who would become the Dragon Warrior, from his booming business to everyone singing his son's praises. It becomes clearer, however, that for him having Po in his life is all he wants. He then learns to manipulate chi to save Po and bring him back from the spirit realm.
  • The Lion King (1994): Timon and Pumbaa come to help in the climax, despite being outcasts that spend their time chasing buzzards. They say it's worth facing danger for Simba's sake. Simba smiles and, at the end, makes them part of the Pride.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Black Panther: M'Baku has a mutual one with T'Challa. After T'Challa spares him during their duel, M'Baku keeps him alive through near-death as a repayment for his kindness. Later, M'Baku pulls a Big Damn Heroes to help T'Challa in his hour of need and is rewarded by having his tribe gain the respect of the others and becoming one of the king's advisers. In Avengers: Endgame he is promoted to an Avenger in the final battle and leads his tribe into the fray with glee.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: MJ gets a happy ending after revealing to Peter that she knows he's Spider-Man, and learns that he returns her romantic feelings. She also reveals that Quentin is a fraud, and fights back when the man traps her and her friends. Cue her ending up with Peter, which is all she wanted.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the cinematic finale to the series of the same name, Miss Brooks finally gets rewarded for her series-long string of good deeds and selflessness, when Mr. Boynton proposes.
  • Melvin and Howard is based on the never-verified story (possibly inspired by the urban legends detailed below) that Howard Hughes promised part of his fortune to a guy who stopped to give him a ride in the middle of the desert.
  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America: Canada refuses to extradite runaway slaves into the Confederate States...and becomes a cultural haven for those creative minds who, oppressed by Confederate morality laws, emigrate to Canada, making it the dominant cultural center of the world and giving it enough money to arm itself against anything the now hostile CSA might throw at it.
  • In Self/Less, Mark Bitwell gets this at the very end of the movie. He donates his body for shedding so his daughter's hospital bills can be paid. Not only does he come back to life at the end, when Damien chooses to die instead, but Damien leaves Mark and his family enough money for them to live in the Caribbean.
  • Early in A Knight's Tale, William allows an injured opponent to finish a match at a draw, rather than having to stop partway through. In a later tournament, the same opponent is revealed to be Prince Edward, and William is the only one willing to compete against a member of the royal family. He then disappears from the plot until after William is arrested, when Edward emerges to reveal how much William's actions impressed him. He announces that William is actually descended from nobility, and grants him a real knighthood, just in time for Will to ride in the final tournament.
  • Rough Night: It appears as though aspiring political candidate Jess Thayer will face the end of her career and her future marriage when the stripper at her bachelorette party is killed by accident, but by the time the film is over, it is revealed that they actually killed a wanted drug dealer and diamond thief, as well as disarming and capturing his two colleagues. As a result, not only do all five women get cleared of a potential murder charge, but the night's events actually end up boosting Jess' campaign popularity and turns them into media sensations.
  • Billy Madison: After growing up a bit, Billy decides to call a former classmate and apologize to him for bullying him. The classmate ends up saving his life at the climax of the story, by shooting a crazed, gun-toting Eric.
  • Knives Out: Marta's years of working as Harlan's personal nurse, and in general being a genuinely good friend and confidant for him pays off in a huge way when he chooses to leave his entire fortune, house, and publishing company to her—and not giving his family a single cent. The killer's scheme also completely falls apart and leads to him getting himself arrested because he failed to account for her kindness and strong moral convictions; it never occurred to him that she'd always choose to help someone in need over leaving them stranded, even if it puts her in direct danger. Because of this, Blanc is able to clear her of all wrongdoing and arrest the real culprit.

  • There's an urban legend along these lines. A man goes to a funeral and sees that another funeral is going on in another room without a single mourner. Out of pity, he signs the guestbook as a well-wisher. The following week, the man is contacted by the dead man's lawyer, who tells him that his entire estate was to be divided amongst the people who attended the funeral, and he was the only one.
  • A rich man's awesome art collection is put up for auction when he dies. A poor man buys a picture of the rich man's son since no one else will. The poor man, since he "took the son" gets the whole lot — allegory for Christianity and all.
  • A folk tale tells of the incarnations of Love, Wealth, and Health visiting a family, in which they can only choose one of them. After some time the family chose Love, and then Love and the other two comes along, thanks to The Power of Love.
    "Where Love goes, Wealth and Health will follow."

  • Very common in 18th century novels. For instance, both those of Smollett and Fielding have their Main Characters undergoing one hardship after another but ending up rich and Happily Married and all of their enemies are badly off. The main difference is that since Smollett's Main Characters were more in the way of anti-heroes, they tend to gloat over their defeated opponents.
  • Goosebumps: In Say Cheese And Die — Screaming!, Julie's earlier realization of how dangerous the camera is mixed with her determination to get rid of the thing and to break its power as well as her trying to save David Blank from falling to his death manages to undo the magic of the camera and gets her labelled a hero by the kids and teachers in her school.
  • In the book Holes and its film adaptation, the hero, Stanley Yelnats, is the latest in the line of the Yelnats who suffer from a familial curse of bad luck that leads to being sent to a crooked prison camp for a mistaken indictment. However, when Stanley risks his life finding his friend, Zero—the descendent of the person who placed the curse—in the desert and brings him up a mountain, he inadvertently fulfills the conditions necessary to break the curse. As a result, several generations' of denied good luck come to him all at once and suddenly everything goes his way.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Beavers get this. They take in the siblings from the cold after finding them wandering around, feed them and educate them about Narnia. They also remain a Reasonable Authority Figure pair about the kids understandably wanting to save Tumnus from the witch and learning more about Aslan. Father Christmas when he comes mends the lodge and offers a new sewing machine for Mrs. Beaver for when they're gone, meaning they won't return to find their home ransacked from the wolves. Also, Aslan honors them as heroes for bringing the Pevensies to them.
  • In Robin Hobb's The Soldier Son trilogy, the widow Amzil feeds and shelters a homeless wanderer, despite barely having enough food for herself and her three children. Via a long, Hobbian route she eventually gets true love, wealth and a noble title.
  • In the Apprentice Adept book Split Infinity, Stile's first encounter with Neysa the unicorn culminates with Neysa running towards a cliff, with Stile hanging on for dear life on her back. He thinks she's trying to commit suicide rather than be broken, so he risks his neck to talk her down, gambling that she'd respond to his tone rather than his words. He didn't know that unicorns were sapient and she understood every word. He also didn't know that unicorns were Voluntary Shape Shifters and that she was planning to kill him by leaping off, then changing to her firefly form, leaving him to fall to his death. By speaking from the heart, he not only saved his own life, but gained his closest friend and ally on Phaze.
  • And Another Thing...: Constant Mown manages to talk Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz‎ out of destroying the planet of Nano and the last humans in the universe by playing to the letter of Vogon law (They were legally no longer "Earthlings", but "Nanites"or however they'd like to put it, so destroying them would result in an embarrassing amount of paperwork for Jeltz). Turns out he saved the entire ship as well, since if they hadn't retreated at that very moment the Not Quite Dead Thor would've destroyed the ship.
  • Interestingly, a novel within a novel in Slaughterhouse-Five said the story of Jesus delivered the wrong Aesop, in that it showed that the Romans made the mistake of picking on the wrong man, one who was the son of God, so the message came across as, "Make sure that whoever you pick on isn't important". Instead, it says that Jesus should have been a nobody, a bum, and when the Romans crucified him, God should have appeared and decided to adopt this worthless bum as his son.
  • Cradle Series: In Ghostwater, Lindon finds a broken construct in a pool of magical water. It is nothing but a random speaker that fell in the water and slowly gained intelligence over fifty years, but Lindon is still nice to it, patching it up as best as he can. Dross, as he becomes known, helps Lindon a bit, but there's not really much he can do that Lindon couldn't do on his own. Then Lindon accidentally finishes the Ghostwater AI project, turning Dross into a full Presence on par with what the gods use. Suddenly he has access to True Sight, Combat Precognition, and Photographic Memory, all because he was nice to a literal piece of trash.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Husbands of River Song", a young man on Darillium investigates the crashed spaceship, trying to rescue any survivors. The Doctor assures him there aren't any (and they wouldn't be worth saving anyway), but gives him the most valuable gemstone in the universe for his trouble. Even just the reward for returning it, rather than selling it, is a lot of money. The Doctor's only condition is that he use the money to build a restaurant on the spot — which will quickly earn even more money.
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "The Festival", Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton loan their money and exchange outfits with the hardworking cleaning woman and custodian so they'll have something nice to wear to the festival. This results in Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton winning the prize for best costume. True to form, they split the proceeds with the cleaning woman and custodian.
    • In the episode "Mr. Whipple", Miss Brooks organizes a food drive for Mr. Whipple, who she mistakenly believes is impoverished. This so affects the miserly millionaire, that he donates the money to build the new gymnasium Madison High School needs.
  • Supernatural: In "Alpha and Omega", Dean helping the two most powerful beings in all creation bury the hatchet and saving all creation finally results in Amara and God rewarding him by bringing his mother back to life.
  • On The Drew Carey Show, one episode has Drew conspiring with his villainous boss Mr. Wick to secure both of them promotions. By the end of the episode, Mr. Wick has been ousted for unrelated reasons, but Drew still gets the promotion. At this point Drew reveals the entire scheme to the higher-up out of guilt, but only succeeds in impressing the higher-up with forthright honesty because Drew made the confession when it was absolutely in his best interest to shut up.
  • A minor example in the CSI episode "Turn, Turn, Turn": Nick's small act, giving a vagrant money for coffee, not only turns the guy's life completely around (he cleans up, kicks intoxicants, and goes to college), it yields a witness in the case Nick's working, a year later.
  • Averted in the Blackadder take on A Christmas Carol. After being taken advantage of by everyone he knows because he's so charitable Queen Victoria is about to make him rich as a reward, but unfortunately he chose that day to do a Face–Heel Turn and he throws her out.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Arena", Captain Kirk is pitted against the Gorn captain in one on one combat by the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens called "Metrons". When Kirk wins, he refrains from killing the Gorn captain. Because of this, the Metrons release both ships when (according to an unaired line in the original script) they had planned to kill the victor (who was the greater threat).
  • Discussed in Deadliest Catch, season 3. After a pretty terrible king crab season so far, the Time Bandit pulls an unlucky fisherman from another boat out of the water. Afterwards, the Time Bandit has successive strings of pots so full of crab, they make their quota in a couple of days. It was a record setter.
  • Storage Wars' Barry Weiss, buys up a locker for $2.50 that no one else was interested in, as a courtesy to the seller. The locker turns out to be holding several glass fly catchers which amount to $2k.
  • Zig-Zagged in a Patter Song on The Benny Hill Show. Benny sings of a friend, who tells him a story of seducing an older woman. The friend gives her Benny's name instead of his own. Then the woman dies and leaves Benny 500,000 quid.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "But Can She Type?", the underappreciated and overworked secretary Karen Billings is accidentally transported to an Alternate Universe in which being a secretary is considered incredibly glamorous.

  • In the song "People are Crazy" by Billy Currington, the narrator spends an evening in a bar with another man (who provides the title opinion). Later the narrator learns that the man died and left his entire estate to him.
  • Garth Brooks' song "Big Money" tells of two relatives who got rich in dangerous professions, but died young. The last verse reveals this trope:
    Well, now, the moral of this story, boys,
    Is don't go gettin' yourself killed.
    Be kind to your rich relatives
    And they just might put you in their...will.
    And that pays big money...

    Religion & Mythology 
  • The story of Philemon and Baucis, here told by Bulfinch.
  • From Greek Mythology, we also have Prince Admetus, who benefited from this twice. When Apollo was forced to serve a mortal for a year as a punishment, he chose Admetus, who was such a Benevolent Boss that Apollo repaid him by arranging it so that when Death came for him, he wouldn't have to die if someone else was willing to take his place. Unfortunately, Death came sooner than expected, and the only person who would take Admetus's place was his fiance, Princess Alcestis. Admetus was deeply upset, and berated himself for letting her take his place with Death. He held a funeral for her...
    • ...and it was at this time that Heracles came calling, needing to rest during his travels as part of the Ten Labors. Although he was uncomfortable imposing on Admetus during a time of mourning, Admetus told him to Think Nothing of It and gave Heracles the best hospitality he could ask for and explained that the funeral was for a "foreign woman, not related to me by birth." When Heracles later found out the whole story, he was so overcome with gratitude that he went to Alcestis's tomb and fought Death for the right to bring her back to life. Naturally, he won and repaid Admetus's friendship by bringing back Alcestis alive and well.
  • This trope appears quite a bit in The Bible:
    • In the Book of Joshua, Rahab, a hooker, is met with two Israelite spies and saves their lives from the Canaanite guards. As a reward, she and her family are spared from the subsequent sack of Jericho. Then, she quits the prostitution business and starts a family of her own—a family that will eventually give rise to Jesus Himself!
    • King Solomon, at the start of his reign, was visited by God who offered a wish for any one thing. Solomon, intimidated by his complex job as ruler, asked for great wisdom to do it properly. God is so pleased at this modest wish that he threw in great wealth and peace in the bargain.
    • Job loses everything and then gets covered in sores, as a test to see if his faith in God depends on whether or not his life is going well. When he (more or less) praises God anyway, thereby passing the test, God gives him double everything he had before.
    • If we're talking about the Bible, you can go right to the top with Jesus Himself. He's made to suffer a Cruel and Unusual Death, He knows exactly what is in store for Him before it happens (in Gethsemane He prays specifically that He wanted nothing more than to have this burden removed), and yet goes through with it anyway. In exchange, He gets raised from the dead, becomes the Savior, and gets an entire religion named after Him. Not a bad jackpot at all.
    • Jesus also declared that whoever treats well those who have the least will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven, but those who ignore them or abuse them will not be welcomed.
  • One of the central tenets of Wicca is the threefold law, which basically states that whatever you do will eventually come back to you threefold, meaning that if you do good things, you will eventually run into this trope. Of course, if you do bad things, you're looking at a bout of Laser-Guided Karma.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout 2, one of the Chosen One's odd jobs is to collect a hefty gambling debt from a Woobie-type loser who plays the pity card to gradually shift as much of that debt to you as he can on the unlikely promise that he'll pay you back. Returning to the casino late in the game, he can be found sharp-dressed, flushed with cash, and willing to pay back 10 times the amount and throw in an appreciable supply of some valuable fusion cell as well.
    • In Broken Hills, not asking for a reward from Marcus and the mine foreman will net you mid tier guns worth about five times the initial cash reward, in addition to the karma bonus.
    • In Fallout 3, the Brotherhood of Steel chapter in the Washington D.C Wasteland deviates from the old Brotherhood's ways, choosing to help the people in the Wastes instead of focusing on retrieving lost technology and hoarding it. While the Brotherhood suffered a schism between its members because of this humanitarian stance, in the long run (with the help of the Lone Wanderer) the Brotherhood successfully gains Liberty Prime, access to tons of mostly-intact Enclave technology, and activates Project Purity, all of which makes them stronger than ever before. Meanwhile, the original Brotherhood with its elitist traditions is fighting a losing war with the NCR and is but a mere shadow of what they were.
      • Even without the intervention of the Lone Wanderer, the DC Brotherhood's benevolence towards the populace has earned them broad popular support and a steady stream of recruits, supplies, and information in the form of local volunteers. By comparison, the Mojave branch of the Brotherhood is forced to live in hiding within a secret bunker and lacks sufficient manpower to accomplish anything meaningful. All their neighbors refuse to aid them in any capacity because of the Mojave Brotherhood's prior attacks upon them in the name of "preserving pre-War technology", such as the Brotherhood's assault on the HELIOS One solar plant.
      • However, Fallout 4 reveals that Elder Lyons (the primary reason why the DC Brotherhood acted as they did) died very shortly after Fallout 3, leading to Arthur Maxson taking over as Elder and shifting the Brotherhood's focus back to taking tech and wiping out non-humans while also making the Brotherhood even more powerful to the point that they now possess a Cool Airship. Similarly, Owyn Lyons is now demonized as a wasteful idiot whose morality is seen as weakness by current members.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you can find a rat called Lumpy down by the docks anytime during chapter 1 (or later, if you lack the funds) who needs funds to start an operation to strike oil in Dry Dry Desert. He asks for 100 coins each time you talk to him. At this point in the game, it's difficult to have anywhere above 200 unless you've refused to buy anything, so dumping it into his funds is a huge risk. A few chapters later, he returns to the docks and gives you triple the coins you loaned him. If you lent him 300 coins, he Caps your wallet at 999 coins.
  • Similarly, if you donate the correct amount of money to rebuild Luin in Tales of Symphonia, their restored weapon shop later will carry some of the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • A minor example in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: If you give money to a beggar, you gain a buff called "The Gift of Charity", which boosts your barter skill for 12 in-game hours, saving you far more than that coin (or bottle of mead) that you just gave away. Then for extra Video Game Caring Potential, you gain the buff when you give your adopted kid(s) a present.
  • Chrono Trigger has this in the trial scene, and also its inversion - you can get random bystanders to testify against you if you've done something bad. It doesn't matter anyway, though, since if you get declared not guilty, you still get arrested for a minor crime, and the chancellor uses creative paperwork to get you scheduled for execution anyway. Getting cleared just gets you a bag from sympathizers with one to six ethers depending on how many jurors voted guilty. If you help a young girl find her cat, it helps you get more jurors on your side.
  • A weird villainous example happens in Mega Man Legends during the final act. The Bonne pirate family, which up to this point have been the game's primary antagonists, end up freeing Mega Man from Juno's trap, allowing him to save Kattelox Island from annihilation. This then enables the Bonnes to walk away with the gigantic Refractor being held within the ruins, allowing them to recoup the losses they've suffered at the hands of Mega Man and then some. Of course, this being the Bonnes, it comes full circle by the time the sequel takes place; it turns out Teisel blew almost the entire fortune on an ill-conceived department store venture (turned out stocking the store with only items he liked was a spectacularly bad idea, especially considering his horrendous taste), leaving them hardly any better off than they were when the first game started.
  • In Highway Blossoms, Amber finds a young woman named Marina broken down by the side of the road, trying to wave down someone to help her since her cell phone doesn't have power. Despite being a cynical loner who's annoyed by Marina's naivete, Amber agrees to help her, and ends up traveling with her after Marina's car gets stolen and dismantled in their absence. As a result of helping Marina, Amber hears about a treasure hunt, finds buried gold and ends up in a relationship with Marina.

    Web Comics 
  • Tales of the Questor: The title character has just finished being the quarry of a fae lord's hunt, which he took on to spare a human child from that impossible task. However upon winning, the fae lord is horrified that his quarry is a Rac Cona Daimh (an anthro-Raccoon man) and furthermore, is specifically favored by the mystic White Stag; two categories the Fae are strictly told not to hunt lest they be severely punished. As a result, the Questor gets not just one boon for completing the chase, but also two more from the Fae Lord who is forced to give them to the hero as punishment. But then again, that meant Quentyn could've saved himself a night's worth of being chased by murderous fae just by flipping his hood back — though he would have had to be aware of that particular fact, then taken advantage of it by stopping and letting the hunt catch up with him.
    • In addition, Quentin's boons for winning the hunt had the side effect of freeing two powerful Seelie (the mostly-beneficent faction of the Fae) ladies whom the fae lord had imprisoned, and they have promised him a suitable reward.
  • The Dark Warriors in 8-Bit Theater are some of the least unpleasant people in the comic. At the end of the series, they get the credit for saving the world from Chaos along with all of the fame and fortune that comes with that.
  • This is the flipside to Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell. Ella's parents did so many good deeds that she could kill several people and still come out neutral. So far, she's restricted herself to minor misdeeds, so she continues to have incredible luck.
  • The Order of the Stick: Belkar is clued in on an assassination attempt on Hinjo, and his Pragmatic Shoulder Devil convinces him to foil it by saying it would lead to unfettered killing in the future.note  In the process of doing so he lands in the center of a huge mob of hobogoblin soldiers. Being the Blood Knight that he is, he considers this the greatest thing ever.
    Belkar: I've never had karma work in my favor before!

    Web Original 
  • The child in this Not Always Right story is polite to the ice-cream store worker, despite his mother insisting that good manners are wasted on the minimum wage (to the worker's face!). The worker, in full view of the rude mother, makes the kid a giant sundae with all his favorite toppings, and refuses to charge him for it. He brings his friends the next day, and she treats them all again for half-price.
    • This story is a twofer of kindnesses. A drive-thru barista's register crashes, so to thank the customers in the drive-thru for waiting patiently, they pay for the coffee order out-of-pocket. In gratitude for that, the wife bakes cookies from scratch for the entire restaurant staff.
    • Spinoff site Not Always Working has a golden example as well: a financially-challenged patient always does their best to make the minimum monthly payments on an ER debt, so the billing department clerk decides to forgive the debt completely, as so few other people even acknowledge ER bills and this one has always paid on time, even with how little they can afford to pay.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Saint", Alan's positive attitude and generosity end up exactly reversing the misfortune Gumball visited upon him and then some: He overpays the homeless man for a discard popsicle, then trades it to Rosie for balloons that turn out to be his parents. Seconds later, the homeless man strikes it rich and pays back Alan one million fold. The money makes several girls suddenly find Alan attractive, which in turn makes Carmen want to get back together with Alan. He accepts and she gives him a bunch of meatballs to make up for the one Gumball stole. In the same episode, Darwin convinces Gumball to help a random choking man by asking what if he wins the lottery and would be able to indulge them in a ridiculously detailed fantasy about eating unobtainium while wearing white tiger pants and riding jetpacks around a house made of crystal. Gumball decides to try it and we Smash Cut to show that's exactly what happened.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "Jet", Sokka protects the old man that Jet and his friends have attacked. The old man vouches for him when he tries to warn the village about what Jet plans to do.
  • Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Bolin and Mako's family are a poor family living in the Lower Ring under the iron fist of a despot, but nonetheless clearly love each other and extend this kindness to long-lost relatives that have been living a far glamorous life then they have while being the last to know that the father of said relatives had been killed years ago with a wife they never met which left said long-lost relatives to be orphans and mob-affiliates for a while, they have to abandon the only home they know due to fire and their matriarch almost gets them killed out of stubbornness not only does said relatives save them at the last minute, but the Time Skip reveals they got a new home at the Sato Estate.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Maurice. Because he accepts his decommissioning and the loss of his memories, he is rewarded with his reputation and legacy being left intact, with all of his former teammates and fellow operatives sending him off with honor. He also is allowed to keep his memories and become part of a secret sect of teenagers who are still loyal to the KND and doing undercover work to help them from behind the scenes. Meaning that he is also able to keep his promise to track down the source of the chicken pox used by the teenagers and destroy it.
  • In The Raccoons, Cyril's evolution through the series from being an unrepentant Corrupt Corporate Executive to largely a nice guy seemed to have granted him a few karmic jackpots as a reward.
    • He gave up an opportunity to speak to a wealthy investor so he wouldn't miss his son's banquet speech, only to suddenly meet that investor, who was going to the same event, sitting on the train to the banquet with Cedric and so charmed with the young aardvark that he was eager to meet his father for a long, friendly conversation beyond anything Cyril dreamed.
    • Cyril was about to be taken by a swindle when he suddenly had a health emergency bad enough to get hospitalized and then gave up the chance to sign the deal to help a new friend get well, which means he avoided losing a fortune when the fraud was exposed.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Blood Feud", Homer becomes enraged when Bart's donation of blood to Mr. Burns fails to result in this trope and writes an angry letter. In a Spoof Aesop, Mr. Burns is initially furious and prepared to make the Simpsons suffer, but Smithers points out that Bart saved his life, and as a reward gets the family a massive Olmec monument, which is seen in their basement in later episodes.
  • Tangled: The Series: Eugene knows that he's earned it. After nearly dying to save the Lost Princess from Gothel and restoring her to the throne, he's been pardoned and is considered part of the royal family now. For him, though, the best part is having Rapunzel by his side.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" has a very well earned one. After helping their enemy Diamond Tiara learn the true meaning of her cutie mark and make a Heel–Face Turn, the Cutie Mark Crusaders decide they don't need their own cutie marks, and they should spend their time helping other people find their own callings or meaning to their cutie mark. At this, the CMC immediately get their own cutie marks.
  • Villainous example sort of is Stormer from Jem, who has always been in a better karmic situation than any other member of the cast. Her status as the Token Good Teammate of the Misfits often allowed her to escape whatever karmic justice the other Misfits endured. She was the only one to get a genuine love interest, and towards the end of the series, the Holograms began to see her as a friend. (All while staying in good standing - more or less - with her own band and without any of the angst the Holograms had to go through.)
  • Greg Universe from Steven Universe gave up a career as a rock star to be a father to his motherless son. He spent literally all the money he had on making sure that Steven was well-cared for, built a house for Steven and the Gems to use while living out of a van himself, and even paid for the damages Steven's alien guardians did to the local town, never wanting anything more than his son's happiness in return. His reward for this? He got a royalty check for a song of his that his sleazy ex-manager sold to a fast-food corporation without his permission. A check for TEN MILLION DOLLARS.
  • The Loud House: In "Shop Girl", Leni attempts to update her wardrobe at Reininger's two-day 25% blowout sale. However, she doesn't get anything the first day due to letting other customers walk all over her. Her siblings decide to teach her to be more aggressive so she can get what she wanted, and while it helps Leni finally succeed in getting the wardrobe items she wanted, she ultimately decides that she likes being nice to people more than being aggressive. As a result, she gives away all the clothing she wanted to customers who needed them more than she did, such as an elderly lady who was looking for a polka-dotted swimsuit to give her granddaughter for her birthday, a woman who was trying to find a sweater that was made with a fabric she wasn't allergic to, or giving up her place in the check-out line in order to help a man find the perfect tie for his 25th wedding anniversary. As a result, Leni gets a box of chocolates (from the grandmother), lunch for herself and her siblings (all bought for by the woman who got the allergen-friendly sweater), and a fro-yo gift card (from the guy Leni helped pick out a tie for and his wife). Furthermore, Leni's generosity catches the attention of the store's manager and she offers Leni a part-time job at Reininger's with a 50% employee discount bonus because Leni's actions have proved she's a kind spirit who knows how to help people with fashion.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy gives up the last bit of wish-granting lemonade to a young boy who needs a drink instead us using it to wish for money (usually against Da Rules) for tickets to Crash Nebula On Ice. Said boy turns out to be the son of Doug Dimmadome, who owns the stadium the show is at. It's subverted a bit in that he still can't give them tickets, but puts them to work selling drinks at the show so they can see it.

    Real Life 
  • This happened to the future US President, John Adams, when he was approached to represent the British soldiers indicted in the Boston Massacre in court. Adams agreed considering no one else in the city was willing to help the accused have a fair trial for murder, but was concerned he would be sinking his reputation and political prospects for elected office considering his complaints about British colonial policy. Regardless, Adams kept to his duty for the higher ideal of justice and was able to get most of his defendants acquitted or have charges reduced. As it turns out, Adams was later elected without a problem and found he had gained credibility as a fair minded public figure on the matter of British-Colonial relations. Furthermore, when the British cracked down on Boston with the Intolerable Acts, which included arbitrarily removing defendants from Boston courts, Adams' able defence of the hated British troops was cited as proof that fair trials were possible in Boston.
  • Sarah Darling was giving money to a homeless man named Billy Ray Harris, and accidentally dropped her engagement ring in with it. Upon discovering the ring, Harris reportedly took it to a pawn shop, but when the broker told him just how much it was worth (about $4000), he decided to try to return it to Darling instead. He eventually succeeded, just as poor as before ...until Darling and her husband, Bill Krejci, set up a Give Forward-campaign aiming to raise $1000 for him. They ended up raising nearly 200 times that much, and now Harris has a steady job with his own house and even his own car. He's even been reunited with his family, who, after nearly twenty years without contact, feared that he was dead.
  • A region that was definitely subject to this trope is the French state of French Guiana. When France fell to Nazi Germany in 1940, French Guiana—at that point, merely a colony—was far enough flung on the northern coast of South America that it could not be overtaken by the Axis Powers. So it had the gall to throw its support behind General Charles de Gaulle and the Free French pretty much from the start.note  French Guiana would repeatedly reap the rewards for their loyalty. They became a full-fledged department of France in 1946. When De Gaulle was President of France, he established France's primary spaceport on the coast of French Guiana in 1965. That base, the European Space Agency's Guiana Space Centre, is now the primary economic driver for French Guiana, which enjoys every bit of the status of any other department of metropolitan France, including the benefits of being a member of the European Union.


Video Example(s):


Dante's Inferno

The damned souls Dante has freed on his journey assist him in defeating Satan.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / KarmicJackpot

Media sources:

Main / KarmicJackpot