This heart warming story was on the news so I thought I’d share it with you.
An elderly resident living in an apartment block recently had stomach surgery. Alone, hungry, in pain and unable to walk to the nearby market to get her meal, she turned to the only person within calling distance: the cleaner, Mr Kalam.
Mr Kalam, a foreign national, had worked as a cleaner in the neighbourhood for ten years and was a familiar face to many of the residents. While washing the common corridor outside of the lady’s unit, he heard her call out to him. She told him she had no food; could he buy some for her?
Mr Kalam did one better. He hurried to where he’d kept his belongings – a good ten minute walk away – and fetched his own homecooked lunch of curry and rice. Wanting to hurry back to the lady, he borrowed an e-scooter from another resident.
And was stopped by passing policemen.
Because cleaning crew are not allowed to use e-scooters, for their own and the residents’ safety, Mr Kalam had some explaining to do. Fortunately, the policemen were understanding and sent him on his way.
The elderly lady got her lunch and the police featured Mr Kalam on their Facebook page. Mr Kalam, whose supervisor credits him as one of the kindest men he’s ever met, received a letter of commendation from the Member of Parliament for that neighbourhood.
We moved into the neighbourhood about ten years ago.
For some reason, I never really got to know the neighbours. We would nod awkwardly when our paths crossed or we would politely return misdirected mail but that was it. Perhaps it was my work schedule. Perhaps it was theirs. Or, as The Munchkin suggested, perhaps it was my face, which looks even worse when I smile.
Anyway, sometime in 2016, The Munchkin and I went shopping in the neighbourhood mall. As we prepared to leave, we were confronted with relentless rain. At the edge of the covered walkway stood Mr K. He was clutching his phone and we heard him say, “I can’t come right now because it’s raining,” as we drew nearer.
I handed him my umbrella. “Take it.”
I’ve never seen greater flabbergasted relief. “I … yes … no … yes … yourself?”
The Munchkin brandished our second umbrella (nobody remembers why we had two), and I assured Mr K that we would be fine. He grabbed the umbrella like a life vest and shot off across the street. We continued home.
We had barely put away our shopping when the doorbell rang. There was Mr K, Junior K, and my umbrella. There were thanks and pleasantries all round and that was that.
But it wasn’t. Thereafter, Mr K and his family never failed to say hi or stop to chat. Then the other neighbours started saying hi. And now we pretty much know everybody, and it feels like we’re a community.