Small acts of kindness are important. They may well bring a moment of light into an otherwise dull day. We are all busy; we all have places to go, things to do and, sometimes, other people just seem to be in the way. But they are busy people too and, probably, just as much in a rush as you are. Two true personal examples: I do not want to say exactly where or who because, as they used to say in those old American crime films, it is to “protect the innocent”!
The first is some time ago, before we lived here, when I was shopping in Daventry. One of those electric wheelchairs was parked at the corner of a pedestrian area and a narrow walkway, effectively blocking the way. Walking closer I noticed that it wasn’t just parked but broken down. The battery had, somehow, been thrown out of its cradle and the small man riding it, clearly ‘differently abled’ as we are encouraged to say these days, was distressed and calling out. It wasn’t exactly speech. I guessed speech may have been a problem for him.
His noises and gesticulations were distressing to witness and many people avoided him and his difficult situation but I went over and said I would try and help. He continued to shout. I lifted the very heavy battery back into its cradle and made sure its safety strap was tightened in place and then reconnected the terminal that had come off. I tapped the man on the shoulder and said “try it”. He immediately reversed the whole weight of his wheelchair into my legs. I limped to the side and he went forward, turned and ran over my feet. No word of thanks, no gesture. He was on his way.
I was in pain and very unhappy. But polite social mores were most probably beyond this man and, as far as he was concerned, he had endured a very difficult and frightening time. I had helped.
The second incident is more recent. I was in a busy supermarket at the checkout – the next one to be served. In front was an elderly lady who, amongst other things, had a four pack of some drink or other out of which she had taken all but one of them. Coming to this item the person working on the till explained that these drinks were not supposed to be split. The old lady pleaded that she only wanted the one. After a few moments thought the person on the till said something like it was OK this time but she should not do it again, and let her have it for free (probably didn’t have a barcode for just one). Upon my turn I mentioned how touched I was by the till person’s kindness towards the old lady. The till person thanked me profusely and commented how nice it was that this had been noticed.
Small acts of kindness are important. From handing out food to a travelling refugee to retrieving a dropped glove and returning it. These seemingly little things are often remembered and can make a difficult or dreary or dull day that little bit more bearable. It takes no time at all to be kind and you will, yourself, feel the better for it. My legs and feet eventually recovered!