Kindness to stangers

When I first met my husband, the thing I loved (and still do) most about him was his generosity. He never passes a homeless person on the street without emptying his pocket of change. He never sees someone struggling with a large bag or a buggy without offering to help. I realised I wasn’t like that and that I could learn a thing or two about being kind.

London is a place that encourages the survival of the fittest. We’re always too in a hurry to somewhere to stop and notice the less fortunate than us, those who are struggling and those who just need a kind word. I always feel guilty about it and wished I was more attuned to my surroundings. But what I realised is that we may not always be ready to take our attention away from ourselves and from our destination but that, once in a while, due to a certain convergence of factors, we can be the right person in the right place.

Last night I watched a programme about the advances in colonisation of another planet with similar conditions as Earth (albeit possibly no atmosphere) and this morning I took in a deep breath and thanked whoever or whatever made my breathing possible. On my way to the train station, I listened to Bob Marley’s One Love and felt tears in my eyes. Yes, we are all one, why are we so busy to fight each other, I thought when I noticed a woman struggling to walk up the stairs and offered her my arm to lean on.

’How come you are so kind?’ she asked me and I remembered the lady that helped Alistair and I at JFK airport in New York when we had left our passports at the hotel whose answer to the same question was: ’Honey, once in while, somebody gotta say yes.’

So I said yes this morning and walked her to the bus stop. She worried about me being late for work but I had just missed my regular train and had plenty of time. When we parted ways she kissed my hand. I didn’t deserve it. But I acknowledged that today something or someone had conspired for me to be the right person at the right time. And when the time comes to step up to whatever challenges we are yet to face as humans on this wonderful, magical, irreplaceable planet, I can only hope it will conspire again.

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