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!

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3 thoughts on “a question a day in may | ten

  1. About a month ago I was at the supermarket and brought my weekly supply of veges, went to the country put my card in to pay and it declined, the card had expired the very day before. I tried to use my Amex but the didn’t take Amex. A very cute man behind me offered to pay. I was embarrassed and flustered that I declined his offer. Silly me! I asked the lady to put the groceries aside and went to my car to find some extra money. Came back and he offered several more times to pay. I thanked him a million times over and declined. I was so grateful to him.
    We have become sceptical of kindness.to the point we don’t trust it when someone is giving it to us and are afraid to give it for fear the receiver wool think we’re an idiot.

    Doing something nice for someone is invigorating, it changes the course of peoples day and can be as little as making them smile, paying for a strangers meal without them knowing.

    103.2 Hope FM has a challenge whcih is based on the pay it forward model. When you go through thr drive thru for say Macca’s you yourself and the car behind you. You can download little notes from their website which you can give to the cashier to give to the person you just paid for so they know what you’ve done.
    Blessings are what gives us hope, when sometimes we feel hopeless.

  2. Oh Gracie, he was trying to pick you up with his kindness! You missed out on either a great husband or becoming the next victim of a serial killer.

    Where have I been? I’ll never catch up on all the other questions.

    A very kind person at our church put on a sumptuous and lavish breakfast for all us mothers, and asked only for a small donation. He said that it is going to be an annual event, which is very exciting, but the best thing is that we all felt special and nicer towards everyone.

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