Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which ripped so much apart, people have come together. For every story of devastation we've seen in the month since Sandy hit, there have been dozens of untold stories of good Samaritans, quietly helping get things back to normal in whatever way they can.
Many offered their services in traditional ways -- donating money to relief efforts or helping to rebuild homes on the weekend. Others, though, found unorthodox but equally beneficial ways to help.
Here are just a few of those stories:
Going on with the show
The day after Sandy hit, New York actor Jacob Brent thought about what he and his fellow performers could do for the city. Broadway shows had been canceled, but Brent, who played Mr. Mistoffelees in "Cats," had the idea to do a little singing and dancing anyway. So he got a message out to the theater community via Twitter:
"There is a lot of devastation in our beloved city and for some reason we here in Midtown have been spared," it read. "I just walked over to Times Square and people are looking for something to do. I think we should all get together and sing some songs for these people. ...It's not much but its a little something we can do for the city."
Dozens of Broadway performers, along with residents and tourists, gathered at the heart of Times Square for the event. The impromptu concert included classic show tunes such as "There's No Business Like Show Business," "My Favorite Things" and "New York, New York," and collected donations for the Red Cross.
Among the attendees was theater critic and student Sarah Taylor Ellis, who called it "a total delight" and shared several photos on CNN iReport.
"Everyone was so glad to get out of their apartments and gather for a communal activity," she said. "The tourists and residents alike were enjoying the unexpected musical entertainment, especially since Broadway shows have been canceled the past three days."
Afterward, Brent shared his feelings about the performance on Twitter: "We lifted our voices and lifted the spirit of New York," he wrote. "I am overwhelmed."
Salvaging a lifetime of memories
Photographer Limor Garfinkle walked through the hard-hit coastal Staten Island neighborhood of South Beach the weekend after Sandy made landfall, wondering how she could help.
Everywhere she looked, she saw photo albums in the debris. She knew she couldn't replace the moments on film now sitting in piles of garbage, corroded with seawater. But perhaps she could help them make new memories. She gave her card to several families and offered them free photo sessions when they were ready.
Then she found Victoria Beckman, a Russian immigrant laying out family photographs and documents in the cold air along the two stone railings leading from her front door to the sidewalk. Inside, she had thousands more damaged photos to go through.
Her home had flooded with 6 feet of water.
It was the perfect opportunity to help. Beckman and Garfinkle, who is from Israel, spoke easily in Hebrew.
"She told me they were all ruined, they were all gone, and I said to her, 'Let me try to save them,' " Garfinkle recalled. "It's almost a guilt you feel -- I have a warm home and somebody else doesn't, and you just have to help. I knew it wasn't going to be easy ... And it wasn't."
Garfinkle, a family photographer and an art director for a Midtown advertising agency, took garbage bags stuffed with a lifetime of memories, including pictures from her childhood, professional photos a relative had taken and expensive albums from her son's wedding in Israel last year.
She researched photo restoration techniques on the Internet and spent weeks rinsing the muck-covered images and album pages under cold water and laying them to dry on paper towels.
Beckman, who is living without heat in her gutted home, asked Garfinkle to keep the photos until she has a spot to put them.
"These are pictures from all my life, my children, and I am very appreciative of her help," Beckman said.
And Garfinkle's offer of free photo sessions to families affected by Sandy still stands. She can be reached through her website, 4mothersphoto.com.
Putting life's problems in perspective
For weeks, advertising photographer Carlos Chiossone sought out personal stories among the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy.