Following the bombings in Boston, people rallied in bunches, offering support and care. The Red Cross received so much help they had to turn people away. Stories of bravery and kindness flooded the news and social media. Such expression of character is not an isolated event. People similarly rallied after 9/11, after recent natural disasters, and after tragic mass shootings.
Said another way, people are touched by the suffering of others and then take action. This action involves the expression of their own character strengths (e.g., kindness, leadership, bravery) to bring benefit to others.
Research has documented how tragedy seems to elevate what is best in us.