Helping Hands ~ Act of Kindness #8

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photo credit: bady qb

Yesterday, I took a crowded bus home. Three stops later, it stopped for a Young Lady with a backpack and a tote bag on her shoulders, a stroller in which was a sleeping little one, and she was verbally managing a three (maybe four) year old.

Her accoutrements couldn’t quite fit past the support pole at the boarding point, so she moved to the rear where there was supposed to be a retractable ramp. Naturally, this was the bus with a driver who couldn’t or wouldn’t get the ramp out.

Young Lady ordered the three year old to precede her up the bus. Middle-Aged Uncle vacated his seat for the child, who took one look at him and shrieked for reasons only he knew. The startled Young Lady, who was still on the pavement, panicked.

Unfortunately, the gap between the pavement and the edge of the step was too wide for her to safely tilt the stroller’s front wheels up and into the bus – if you’ve ever pushed a stroller, you’ll know what I mean. In any case, there was another step at that doorway to conquer before getting all the way in.

Three of us had moved forward at this point to help. The three year old shrieked louder, the little one was now awake and displeased, Young Woman was frazzled and the bus driver was glaring in the rear view mirror. (Seriously, you couldn’t do something more useful? Like lower the ramp?)

An Elderly Uncle appeared. He gestured for us to move back, told Young Lady to tend to the three year old and physically lugged the stroller up the bus. Middle Aged Uncle had taken Young Lady’s bags and placed them on the seat. While we were all relieved that the little group was now safely inside the bus, we were concerned that the driver would move off before Elderly Uncle alighted. Fortunately, the driver apparently had enough sense to wait. Also, an Auntie up front had started raising her voice at him. (Good!)

There was a chorus of thanks all round. Elderly Uncle waved at us all and went on his way. We moved on. Sadly, I can’t tell you what fate befell the driver because I alighted at the next stop.

Thank you all, especially Elderly Uncle, for extending helping hands where they were needed.

Cab Ride ~ Act of Kindness #4

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photo credit: peter kasprzyk

I took a cab today because, as usual, I was running late. Plus, it was raining.

The driver and I discussed the weather. How it was -67C somewhere in Russia, and how it was 43C somewhere in Australia. An earlier passenger, he said, had griped about how it once rained for seven straight days where he lived, while his sister’s hometown was in danger from drought.

Then he asked how late I was staying out and how I was getting home.

Can you blame me for blurting out, “Huh?”

He waggled one hand skywards. “This rain won’t stop anytime soon.”

“O-kaaay,” I said.

“I don’t know if you remember about the train disruptions this weekend? Nothing running eastbound from 10:30 tonight through to Sunday midnight.”

I had, indeed, forgotten about that.

“The buses will be packed – how you going to board? Better to leave earlier from wherever you are and get the train. You don’t want to be stuck in town without a ride. And remember about surge pricing in case you want to do Grab.”

Yes, I had a great evening. And, yes, I left in time to catch the last train safely home. Thanks to a kindly driver.

Short Story ~ Act of Kindness #2

My lack of height has often been a source of consternation, hilarity and, sometimes, plain old inconvenience. But it’s struck me how often I have received kindness from my fellow passengers while travelling in a plane.

You see, I can never, ever, reach the overhead storage compartment. You’ve seen corgis trying to hop onto the couch, right? That would be me.

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the view from my seat

It is not always possible to do without carry-on luggage because there are essentials for a long flight: reading glasses, reading material, munchies, hand lotion, medicines … I must strategise how to best cram what I need into the seat pocket before my carry-on bag has to be stowed.

I can’t very well keep dinging for a crew member for help. Or keep waking up the folks beside me to get my bag – have you tried doing that when you’re stuck at the window seat and the other two passengers are asleep?

Kindly crew members have often come to my rescue to stow my bag overhead as I reach my seat. But when we’ve landed after a 12-hour flight? The crew is understandably busy. That’s when the click-clacks of releasing seat belts trigger the big question: how do I retrieve my bag? I mean, the compartment handle is even higher up! And my bag has usually migrated to the rear of the compartment.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I want to thank every single kind passenger who has ever handed me my bag while getting his or hers. Or reached over from across the aisle to get my bag. Or simply asked if I needed a hand (yes, please!).

I refuse to assume someone will help me just because I’m vertically challenged. Why would I take things for granted? Because you’re getting your bag doesn’t mean you have to get mine for me. If I asked, you probably would have, whether or not you secretly resent being asked just because you were tall. Or taller.

The point is, strangers have voluntarily extended helping hands. I’d like to think this is because they were kind. This kindness, which some might consider as a bit of a mole hill because, hey, it’s just getting a bag, no biggie, matters to me.

And that is what I want to express my appreciation for.