Travel Treasures ~ Acts of Kindness #27

My recent travels opened my eyes to a great deal of beauty, both natural and manmade over centuries past.

But beauty was also right there in the acts of kindness, courtesy and graciousness I witnessed every day.

Such as the cheery “Good morning” and warm “Have a good day”.

Such as the door patiently held open and the simple “After you”.

Such as the orderly queuing and waiting for a turn in crowded loos, fitting rooms, and packed food courts.

Such as the lady who reached the front of a London store fitting room queue after 20 minutes, and told the sales clerk to let a pregnant young woman right at the back take her place, and that she was prepared to trade places.

Or the elderly man in Bath who was ushered into a coffee shop and given a cool drink to escape the 31-degree heat.

Or the endless rows of dog dishes of fresh water in Looe, regularly replenished by shopkeepers, so our canine friends would be happier trotting about in the heat.

Or the Cardiff Castle guides who stayed on to tell their stories past the closing hour.

Or the men and women who offered food and drink to the homeless and hapless in the sudden evening chill.

Or this little lad who toddled forward to drop some money. Then proceeded to join in the performance – his way. The singer was delightful and talented, and won more hearts by singing with him.

Thank you, Britain.

THANKS

Leading Man ~ Act of Kindness #26

I had dinner with The Clan last Saturday and, as we normally do when the bellies are filled and chatter increases, we moved to the outside tables of the dinner venue for tea, coffee or whatever the folks preferred.

An elderly blind man was making his way on the pavement, white cane tapping before him. There was enough space for him and other pedestrians to walk safely. But not enough, apparently, for this teenaged girl: she had those Princess Leia headphones clamped on her head, she was preoccupied with her phone, and she walked right into the elderly man, cane and all. Several diners rose, ready to help, but all was well, fortunately.

I have plenty to say about folks who are so plugged-in to a digital universe they’ve forgotten how to function in the one they’re in, but this post is about an act of kindness.

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photo: andrey_popov

“You know, your dad helped a blind man once,” said one of my uncles. “Years ago.”

Oh? I know my father never hesitates to help anyone in need. But this was news to me.

“He was supposed to meet us for a game of badminton but he never showed up. We were worried so we called your mum but she didn’t know where he was either.”

I looked at my father, who stared back. “What? I had no mobile. How to call?”

The story unfolded: my father came out of his office and found a blind man sitting at the bus-stop. When his bus came, he thought he should check if this was the bus the man might be waiting for. The man cited a bus number that did not make a stop where they were. Indeed, that bus came nowhere near where they were.

My father said he explained the situation to the man, and offered to take him to his destination. So they boarded the correct buses (a change was needed somewhere) that took them to the man’s home, forty minutes away.

The man was safely delivered to his frantic family, then my father came home. He missed his badminton game but claimed he had plenty of exercise anyway because he walked home, having used up his transport budget for the man’s fare. Yep, my father is one of those who only carries the amount he needs.

I have no recollection of this event happening back then, but I will remember it now.

THANKS

History Snaphot ~ Act of Kindness #25

I’m pretty sure folks know by now that leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un will be meeting on 12 June in Singapore. As I write this, it is in the early hours of 11 June. Both leaders have apparently arrived in the city state but have yet to meet.

But here they are on an artist’s easel!

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I chanced upon this talented gentleman in a mall, and he was kind enough to allow me to photograph him and his work. Thank you!

THANKS

Me Day ~ Act of Kindness #24

Today has been an awesome day.

You see, I didn’t have to be at work and I discovered – with the hugest amount of glee – that the household chores had been either taken care of or could wait. Which meant I had pretty much the day clear to do as I pleased.

So I declared it Be Kind To Self Day. Or at least till it is time to prep for dinner.

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First, I brewed a cup of coffee – not instant. And added milk and vanilla syrup, although why there’s even vanilla syrup in the house is a mystery since I never bought it. Whoever owns it will have to make do with a tablespoon less. Or two.

Then I logged on to Pinterest and viewed bullet journal spreads like there’ll be tomorrow. Tomorrow will come, I know, but I might not have this luxury of time and computer hogger-ship. And looking at beautiful images on a large screen beats the teeny phone one anyday.

Why bullet journals? Because starting such a journal is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I have a diary that keeps my appointments and to-dos in order but leaves little room for ideas, thoughts, reflections and random, hideous doodles. This week, I bought a Leuchtturm1917 and a bunch of fineliner pens and brush pens. Then found I had neither the guts nor ideas to start, despite having read blogs on bullet journaling.

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photo: rayedigitaldesigns

Pinterest is an awesome place for ideas and links to other equally awesome websites. But I have to admit, it can be thoroughly demoralising to realise the chasm that separates all that awesomeness from the reality of starting out. Anyway, I have four pages mapped out so that is a great achievement for me, for now.

And while on Pinterest, I had Lang Lang’s performance of Beethoven’s ‘Emporer’ Concerto playing on YouTube. This was followed by David Garrett’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Converto in D, then Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. As I type this, the Piano Guys are doing their unique interpretations on everything from Christina Perri to One Direction to Mozart. Music bliss. Sensory bliss.

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David Garrett: meromax

So now it is 4:30pm and time to let the real world back in. Folks will be coming home and dinner needs to be taken care of.

But it has been a therapeutic, soul-refreshing kind of day. I’m content.

THANKS

Staycation Surprise ~ Act of Kindness #23

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photo: congerdesign

My family decided to spend the weekend at a hotel recently. One member had completed college exams, another had passed a test, and the rest just wanted to relax and have some fun.

On Saturday evening, the adults left for dinner within the hotel while the younger members went off in search of their chosen meal (no hotel buffets, thank you very much, we want Mac’s and fried chicken – go figure).Β When we returned, there was a gorgeous chocolate birthday cake and a birthday card on the coffee table, with compliments from the hotel.

None of us had said anything about celebrating a birthday, and certainly none of us had requested or ordered a cake. Yet there it was, with enough for all of us.

Apparently, the guest relations officers had seen the birth date on the registration card and decided to make the day extra special.

While the cynical might pass the gesture off as standard hotel PR or hotel gimmick, I would prefer to see it as a lovely, kind gesture. The young birthday girl was certainly thrilled to bits.

So, thank you, Pan Pacific Hotel. It might have been just another day in the PR office for you, but it was a special day for us all.

THANKS

 

Clear Vision ~ Act of Kindness #22

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A teacher friend of mine recounted this:

Just before her exams, Joanne developed an eye infection that kept her from school for several days. Already nervous about having missed lessons so close to her impending exams, Joanne was understandably further upset when her vision remained blurry right up to the day of her first paper.

Her mother called the form teacher to explain Joanne’s situation. She would have preferred Joanne to skip the exams but Joanne refused. She wanted to try.

What the school did was this: every one of Joanne’s papers was reprinted in extra large font and every diagram was magnified. She was given extra time, and teachers were on hand to read aloud or record her responses if she needed them to.

Joanne sailed through her exams. And the school deserves an A.

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Joanne’s situation reminds me of a briefing session I attended. One of the participants was partially visually impaired and had requested a seat near the front so he could see the screen better. He was ushered to the first row of the auditorium.

After the opening remarks, and before the first item was presented, one of the organisers approached this gentleman with a folder containing every slide and the corresponding notes in large font.

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Thank you, organisers, and teachers at Joanne’s school. I am humbled by what you all did to make someone else’s experience a better one.

THANKS

Excuse Me! ~ Acts of Kindness #21

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I’ve been a bit remiss in the kindness department lately. I created this blog to acknowledge and thank the folks who have shown kindness, either to me or to someone else; then I got distracted with the sheer enjoyment of reading the wonderful and diverse blogs, and writing about all sorts of other things.

Fortunately, my attention hasn’t been completely skewed. Some writers have advocated carrying a notebook around to jot ideas and observations. Thank goodness I took this advice! I’ve been writing down acts of kindness I’ve observed and I’m happy to share three of them today. I’ve also developed a fascination for notebooks as a result, but that’s another story!

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I was having lunch with my BFF when we were startled by a man running past our table shouting, “Excuse me! Hello! Excuse me!”

In a foodcourt of casually dressed patrons, a man in suit and tie stands out. When that man runs and yells, everyone pays attention.

Turns out, he was running after an elderly man who had left his table but left his wallet behind.

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I was at the bus stop near my place of work, and people-watching while waiting for the bus.

At the traffic crossing, everybody was hurrying to beat the lights. Right there, in the middle of the crossing, a woman suddenly stopped. There were quite a few annoyed glares as she was effectively holding up pedestrian traffic, and getting herself bumped into.

She went back to an elderly lady going in the opposite direction, and who was carrying two shopping bags. She took the bags from her and walked with her to the safety of the other side.

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I had just entered my building when a middle-aged lady stopped me to ask if I’d seen a man in a black shirt go by. As it happened, he did indeed pass me moments ago.

“He dropped his keys!” she said, holding up the bunch and peering up and down the street. “Where’d he go?”

There was no one in black. The only possible place he could have disappeared into was the bank. Another man approached. “You looking for a guy looking for his keys? He’s in the bank.”

Off went the middle-aged lady to return said keys.

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DAILY PROMPT ~ SKEWED

THANKS

Eye Care ~ Act of Kindness #20

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photo by: hush naidoo

Exactly six months ago, I received a call no parent ever wants to get.

The Munchkin, on the other side of the world, had developed an eye infection that was diagnosed as conjunctivitis. The Doctor’s eye drops and anitibiotics did nothing to help. In the photo she sent, she looked like the ultimate loser in an MMA punchup.

She returned to the Clinic a day later, complaining of headache and sporting half a swollen face. The Nurse Practitioner initially refused to let her consult the Doctor because she “had not given the anitibiotics sufficient time to work.”

The Munchkin recalls sticking her face into the Nurse’s, and demanding to know under what circumstances then would she be entitled to a session with a doctor? When blood leaked from her eye? Apparently, the Nurse finally took a good look at her and panicked, sending her straight in to the Doctor ahead of everybody else in the waiting room.

The Munchkin was then taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where an eye surgeon and his team were already waiting when she arrived. She was allowed to make that dreaded call, then was whisked off to get the infected fluid in her sinus cavity drained. The “conjunctivitis” turned out to be infected fluid building up under the eyeball and in her upper eyelid. And yes, it was that bad.

I was on the next available flight. 22 hours later, I was at the hospital and meeting with her surgeon and nurses. It was well past visiting hours but the surgeon had arranged for me to visit, and to stay as long as I wanted. The nurses offered hot tea and dinner, if I didn’t mind leftover beef pie. And then someone found a small tub of ice-cream.

Which is the point of this post. I can’t remember the names of every nurse who cared for The Munchkin. But if any of them reads this, or if anyone reading this knows a nurse or the surgeon at the Sunderland Royal Hospital who cared for a young girl with a swollen face (admitted 27 October 2017), please tell them I remain deeply grateful and thankful for their professionalism and care. I could never thank them enough for the level of reassurance, kindness and comfort they provided.

Thank you, Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland Eye Infirmary.

 

THANKS