Can you do me a kindness?

As I ate my breakfast I looked out the window and watched the rain fall slowly. I got in my car to drive to the office, and drove past a mother and her son walking to school in the rain. Almost every morning I see them walking together to school, but this time I turned the car around knowing it would make me late. I pulled up in front of them and told them that I see them every morning, and that I wanted to give them a ride to school so they didn’t have to walk in the rain. They accepted my offer, jumped in the car and when we got to the boy’s school they were very thankful. Helping somone was more important to me than getting to the office on time.

I truly believe that it’s moments like this that shape people. I like to hope that the boy thought about the act of kindness he experienced from a stranger, and that one day in the future it inspires him to help someone too. Perhaps for the mother she’d had a difficult morning topped off by having to walk in the rain, and the act of kindness she experienced turned her day around and perhaps allowed her to focus on the things that matter more to her. For a long time professional athletes have taught us that finishing first is all that matters, and that if you are to win that it must come at the cost of being a good sportsperson first. Society has reflected that demeanour which explains a lot of the bad things in this world, when so easily they could have instead been something great! I was talking to my mother the other day and I said that in the last six months or so, I’ve noticed a big upswing in the humility of professional athletes and celebrities. A great example of this is how beautifully Serena Williams spoke about her opponent, after losing to her in the Australian Open this year.

What’s really important to me is understanding how we can all be more positive, and more open to the idea of being less selfish and more selfless. It has to start with ourselves and our approach to people and situations. Being less shutoff and more open, less skeptical and more trusting. I believe the one thing that has to trump everything else, is to believe in your heart that we all want to do something great for another person. When someone drops their change it’s an opportunity to do someone a kindness, and help them to pick it up. If someone is being bullied or harassed, it’s a chance for you to defend or protect them. Those cold wet mornings when you’re driving and see someone struggling in the rain, it’s your personal “bat signal” to stop and offer them a ride. The next generation will continue and improve on our legacy of kindness, so speak to your kids, nephews and nieces. Let their bedtime stories of positivity and kindness be from your own experiences, rather than fables.

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