Have a happy weekend!
Have a happy weekend!
So here we are in September.
I want to salute the many unsung heros who have made such a difference to the lives of those around them with simple acts of kindness.
… to the bus driver who waited till the elderly man with a cane was seated before moving off; actually, she waited for all her passengers to be seated. I’ve encountered too many drivers who moved off before folks made it past the ticket machine;
… to the volunteer pianist at the hospital lobby who played for an extra 15 minutes just because people enjoyed the music;
… to my library colleague who brought extra rolls to share because it was raining, and she thought we would have something to eat if we didn’t want to walk out for lunch;
… to the lady in the lunch queue behind me who gave her order before I did, and who kept apologising afterward. Such graciousness is increasingly rare;
… to Eilene for sharing this story on my blog. I do apologise for not acknowledging this earlier. Kudos to everyone for restoring some faith in humanity and kindness.
I have a kindness story for you from my husband. He phoned in a pizza order (take and bake), but when he went to pick it up, realized he didn’t have his wallet. It would be almost an hour round trip to go home and get it, so he wanted to let the pizza people know he’d be a while. Then a woman in line said she’d pay for his pizza and did! He mailed her a $20 and a thank you card.
Please join Eilene at her impeccably written posts at https://myricopia.com/
… to the wonderful people who opened doors for someone else, pressed lift door-open buttons so everyone could enter, stood aside so someone could go first, picked up dropped items for someone else, returned a document forgotten on a photocopier …
… to everyone who said ‘thank you’ when something good was done for them.
Simple acts of kindness are simple gifts that truly matter.
As we head into a new school year, as the seasons change, and as life marches onwards, whether or not we chose the paths we’re on, here’s something that has brought me comfort:
I wish I knew who said it; whoever you are, thank you for your wisdom.
Have a wonderful September!
I opted to splurge and buy a first class seat for a train journey London to Durham. And received a first class lesson on acts of graciousness and kindness.
As the train moved off, there was a mild commotion behind me. A young mother had entered my carriage, pushing along a stroller with a wide-eyed baby, and balancing her backpack and diaperbag. No one really bothered as she muttered, “sorry, sorry” as she made her way forward. Coming in the opposite direction was the drinks cart.
Then the wheels of the stroller jammed themselves on the floor rivets of my seat (I don’t really know what else to call them!) and on the one across the aisle. Baby screeched and almost toppled out, if not for the timely grab by the lady seated opposite me.
The lady cuddled Baby, cooing a nursery rhyme, while gentlemen from surrounding seats rose to help. One took the backpack, one reached for the diaperbag, and two attempted to free the wedged stroller. Mum’s mobile and purse ended up with me.
It took a few moments to free the stroller, and to calm Mum and Baby. As her seat was actually in the next carriage, the lady continued to sing to the baby while walking off, accompanied by two men, one carrying the bags and the other carrying the stroller. Mum retrieved her phone and purse and followed, still apologising and thanking everybody. Meanwhile, the drinks cart had been reversed out of the carriage.
There was a round of applause when the three passengers returned, reporting that Mum and Baby were safely in their seats.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Like the young Kung Fu Panda, I was a bumbling rookie, trying to find my way in an organisation filled with folks who already knew what to do and how to do it. There was no use for a rookie. And then I met the unfortunate Shifu, who was assigned to be my mentor.
He must have had plenty to say, not that I heard any of it. He simply had me shadow him to every conference, meeting, discussion group … you name it, I attended it. Everything I wrote, he checked. Everything I had to present, he checked. Some might say he micromanaged or was bossy or had some sort of negative intention.
All I felt was grateful for a Department Head who bothered to explain things, from how to use the inhouse templates to how not to irritate the clerk so she wouldn’t put your folder at the bottom. He critiqued and found fault. He approved and gave credit. He squabbled over points and lost his temper. He went to bat for something I believed in. We figured out how to work together.
Seven years later, the unimaginable happened. I was promoted to – in a situation of epic tragi-comic proportions – a position that included being Shifu’s supervisor.
And this is where his true colours shone. We had a talk about how to manage this: he saw no reason for either of us to transfer, and assured me he had no issues with me bossing him. Well, I had plenty of issues with that! How was I supposed to tell Shifu what to do? What if I totally disagreed with a decision he’d made? How was I supposed to do his appraisal report, which was inevitable? This was horrible!
I did not train you to be me. I trained you and guided you so that you would be better than me one day. Now get out there, be professional, be objective, be you and do your job.
Today, Shifu is happily retired. We met for lunch two months ago, and will be meeting again soon.
DAILY PROMPT ~ MENTOR