a question a day in may | ten

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day 10 question

What is the single greatest act of kindness that has been shown to you?

I find that people are kind all the time. They help you out; lend you money when you’ve forgotten your wallet, take you for a drink to listen to you complain about your job/relationship/inlaws/etc, help you move house, give you directions, help you up if you’ve stacked it in the street and chase after your dog if he’s gotten off the leash and is running towards traffic. But it’s the kindness of complete strangers that requires time out of their day with nothing in return that I think is pretty special.

One such act of kindness happened to me a few years ago when I caught the train to work only to find myself without an umbrella as the grey skies opened up and dumped an ocean over Sydney.

I had high heels on (meaning I couldn’t run), my laptop, gym bag and nice hair in preparation for a client meeting. I stood trying to wait it out until I couldn’t be any later and legged it down George St between buildings and overhead cover until I was in the open. Then a lovely older business man stopped and asked me where I was going and offered to take a couple of my bags and walk me to my office under his umbrella, which was about 3 city blocks past his office.

Our conversation included general pleasantries, puddle-avoidance directions and me exclaiming over and over again how grateful I was, but when we reached my office foyer he gave me back my bags, told me to have a lovely day and walked off in the direction we’d come from with saturated pant legs and left jacket sleeve.

I was a little flustered at the time but a few hours later I tried to recall where he said he worked so I could drop him a note and a bottle of wine but my memory was gone. Even to this day I look out for him (although I don’t catch the train anymore and I doubt he still has the same beige/blue briefcase).

It’s sad that often people walk around the city in a rush, avoiding eye contact and pleasantries, so it’s nice to recall that gesture and it’s inspired me to give others a hand when I can.

Pay it forward I say!