It’s been almost a year since I last wrote about an act of kindness in my neighbourhood.
I know there must have been loads of kind acts all over in the interim but, with the lockdowns and stay home orders, these acts remained unobserved.
Well, I was out today and this is what I saw:
An elderly lady was sitting on some steps outside a shopping centre entrance. She was sipping out of a water bottle, and there was a cane and two shopping bags beside her.
I was inside a shop and, as I watched, she tucked her bottle away and reached for her cane to stand. She appeared to have difficulty getting to her feet; she struggled to balance her weight on her cane while trying to pull herself up using the railing.
Even as I prepared to head out to offer to help, a man and woman stopped. There was a brief conversation then the man bent over at his waist to her height – he’d offered his back for her to push herself up. The woman picked up the cane and the bags. A second man stopped and supported the elderly lady as she rose.
It took several minutes before the elderly lady was on her feet. The two men helped her down the steps to the road level. The woman handed her her belongings and the four of them went their separate ways.
Me? I felt too much.
First of all, the elderly lady could have been my mother – the one I cannot be in the same room with. Despite my issues with her, I hope she gets help when she needs it.
Second, the elderly lady was alone. I don’t know her story but I can’t help wondering and worrying what might have happened if the three people hadn’t stopped to help her.
Third, it warmed my heart that total strangers helped someone in need, never mind the Covid restrictions.
Fourth, I regret not hurrying forth to help. Just as I regret so many things I could have done in my life that may, or may not, have mattered to someone else.
Realistically, the others would have reached her before I arrived. I tell myself my instinct was to help. That will have to be enough.
Thank you to the three heroes. You helped a stranger but you showed this stranger that there is still kindness out there.
At 8pm this evening, people came to their balconies, windows, driveways and front doors to cheer, clap, whistle, sing and bang on pots and pans to salute the medical personnel, cleaning crews, grocery store stockers, clear-headed decision makers and everyone fighting this unseen enemy. It was amazing.
Many of us are in lockdown and coping with our new normal. Many of us want to do something, anything, to make things better for our countrymen who are working while we’re safe at home.
My heart is heavy with sorrow for the victims, their families and the tireless fighters. My throat is thick each time the news reports an increased figure in the statistics.
So I am thankful for this moment of solidarity this evening.
It was just a small gesture that carried a huge message of support. It was something we could do.
So perhaps what happened fhis evening wasn’t exactly kindness. It is certainly not unique, having taken place all over the world. It is a small wave of gratitude and thanks, a mere drop in the sea of sacrifice, vigilance and commitment for the fierce frontliners in the Covid-19 fight.
I went to Starbucks in Monday, hell bent on getting a Grande Pure Matcha Latte With Oat Milk And No Sugar.
Why? Because it had been one of those days. Oh, you meant why that drink? Because I had a medical scare last June and have gone cold turkey on coffee since then. I’d been choosing Matchas because they were supposed to be the wonder drink and since oat milk was available, why not? For some reason, almond milk is not offered (scratches head).
But this post is not about my green tea fixation. It’s about this:
When I took out my card to pay, the barista said the customer before me had paid for my drink, so I was to enjoy my beverage and to have a great day.”
Wow. I’d heard of people doing this, and kudos to everyone who has. But I’ve never been a recipient and, sadly, it hit me that I’ve never done it for anyone before either.
So I went back to barista and told her I’d do the same for the next customer. Whoever you are, enjoy!
And whoever you are who paid for my drink, a huge thank you. I had a great drink, but your generosity reset the balance for the lousy day that drove me to Starbucks in the first place.
With the novel coronavirus rampaging away in ever expanding parts of the globe, it is hard to imagine folks bothering about anyone else.
We’ve read or heard stories about skirmishes over the last box of surgical masks, pet dogs and cats abandoned and forsaken, Asians insulted and spat on just because they were assumed to be virus carrying Chinese. Then there’s the manic buying of groceries and sanitizer that left supermarket shelves bare. And the snaking queues to buy masks.
It’s sad but not unexpected, I suppose, to behave as if there’s tomorrow so you can be a totally selfish being today; the daily increase of infection numbers and deaths do nothing to calm the anxieties and panic gripping so many countries.
I don’t know if the outbreak has peaked or if the worst is impending. But I know there is truth in the old saying that true character will be revealed in trying times.
Stories have emerged of quiet heroes who have donated masks and sanitisers to those who need them more. Youths who have set up collection points to collect these donations and deliver them.
Anonymous big-hearted people have tied bottles of sanitisers to lifts with messages of encouragement to share and take care of each other. Even more heart warming are the scribbles of thanks.
So, thank you, all of you, whoever you are. You could have hoarded your supplies but you chose to share them with your communities. Your kindness and generosity will be remembered.
Last November, I was in the Young Adult Fiction section of my local bookstore, wondering whether or not to purchase a set of Keeper of Lost Cities books by Shannon Messenger for the library.
You should get them all,” said this voice behind me.
The speaker was a teenaged boy. Bespectacled, way taller than I was, and holding a stack of books in his arms.
They’re really good,” he continued. “I’ve read the lot and I’m just bummed number eight’s still not out yet.”
He must have thought I was an idiot because I literally stared at him, mute, for several seconds before remembering my manners and thanking him for the recommendation. And that yes, I would buy the set.
His mother joined us as he was describing the stories in Book Three and promptly apologised for him annoying me.
I assured her he was doing nothing of the sort, and that I was learning a lot from him. We chatted a bit more about the other books he had with him, then parted ways.
I could not have imagined that my book buying jaunt would result in the privilege of meeting this young man and his mother, and learning so much about seeing books through the eyes of an actual teenaged reader of books, the group I’d feared misplaced in modern techo-civilisation. Indeed, he had been a joy to chat with. He was articulate, knowledgeable, well mannered, and a credit to his mother.
I highly doubt he or his mother will read this but if they do, thank you. The young man’s unexpected act of kindness in taking the time to share his enthusiasm for some books restored my faith in young readers and, more importantly, in the future.
I came across this article on my newsfeed today and thought I’d share it with everyone.
Mr Curtis Jenkins is a Texas schoolbus driver and had chatted with his young passengers about what they’d like for Christmas. Then he bought these gifts for each child, out of his own money.
I say thank you, Mr Jenkins.
You have given those children more than just Christmas gifts; you have shown them what it means to be kind, generous, and to open your heart to others. You gave them the gift of a precious memory I hope they will cherish.
My seat in the office is near a vacant desk. Nobody knows why there’s such a desk but it’s become the go-to place for homeless ownerless belongings; water bottles, pens, extra handouts … you know, the sort of stuff that appears after a meeting and nobody ever comes back to claim? It’s the height of irony, really, that this desk gives all manner of stuff a temporary home but itself is unused for its original purpose of being somebody’s desk.
In late September, somebody put a box of cookies on that desk. Accompanying it was a stack of small bowls and a note that said, ‘Help yourselves! Have a great day!’ The other riff-raff items had been placed in a box on the floor and this treat now had pride of place in the middle of the desk. You can imagine the delight and confusion. Nobody knew who had done this and, while I sat close to this desk, I never saw who the benefactor was either. There were many smiles that morning.
A week later, a box of tea bags appeared. Then a large bag of freshly roasted nuts. Then some fruit tarts. Then a tin of chocolates. While we eventually learnt who had brought some of these items, nobody ever found out who put the cookies there! Or if anyone did, they never told me.
So, to the person who started the little hospitality table – my thanks to you. Your act of generosity and kindness brought more than cookies – it paved the way to other contributions, and our colleagues have stopped to eat, to chat with each other, and to catch a breath. We have slowed down our manic dashing about to say ‘hi’ and to give ourselves a little treat. Thank you, also just as much, to everyone else who brought something to share.