Natalie Williams Day

Natalie Williams Day

Natalie Williams was running late for work and as she hurried down the high street, she noticed a mother and daughter walking past too, having some sort of argument. Natalie Williams didn’t like arguments. She wondered why people couldn’t be nice to each other all of the time. As they walked on, the mother dropped her glove, not noticing. Oh no! thought Natalie Williams. How terrible! She walked over to the glove, picked it up, and looked around for the mother and daughter. They’d stopped at the traffic lights and they seemed to be arguing quite badly now.

Not wanting to disturb their fight, Natalie Williams slipped the glove into the mother’s bag, which was ever so slightly open. As she slipped the glove in the bag, the mother turned to her.

What on earth do you think you’re doing? she asked.

I… said Natalie Williams. She felt a bit on the spot.

I, I, I said the mother, are you just going to say I, I, I, all day or are you going to tell me what you were doing going in my handbag?

The daughter joined in. Yeah, do you think it’s alright to go through people’s personal items?

No! replied Natalie Williams, I was just…

A bald man caught sight of what was happening. He looked furious!

What’s going on here? he asked. Am I right in thinking this young lady was snooping through your private property?

Yes, said the mother. That is exactly what she was doing.

At this point, the whole incident had drawn quite a crowd.

Well if you think it’s okay to go in people’s handbags, I suppose you think it’s okay that we all give you a good kick in the shins! said the daughter. The crowd started to jeer.

Kick her in the shins! said a vicar who had been walking by.

Natalie Williams was starting to feel a bit scared now. She didn’t want to be kicked in the shins. She didn’t want that at all!

Excuse me! she shouted. Will you please listen to me! The crowd stopped their booing, their hissing. A policeman put down the egg he was going to throw.

I was not snooping in this lady’s handbag. She dropped her glove, down the road, and I was returning it to her.

A likely story! said the daughter.

Hang on, said the mother. Just you all hang on a second.

The mother removed one glove from her pocket and another from her handbag.

They were both in my pocket! One of them must have fallen out! This lady is telling the truth!

The bald man wiped a tear from his eye.

That’s the nicest thing I've ever heard, he said.

The mother patted Natalie Williams on the back.

My Roy gave me these gloves, she sniffed. But he’s dead now.

The vicar felt a bit bad about telling the crowd to kick this kind lady, it was no kind of behavior for a man of the cloth. He thought about a few other things he felt a bit bad about, and he thought the thing he felt most bad about in all of the world was a nasty falling out he’d had with his sister, some four years ago.

I’ve got to make amends for that! he thought, hurrying home to ring her, to apologise, to ask if they could go for coffee, to ask if he could meet his nephew at last. His sister was surprised to hear from him.

I’m just happy you called, she said, forgiving him for everything.

They chatted away for hours, chatting about everything under the sun.

Finally, the vicar told his sister about the nice lady who returned a dropped glove to a stranger.

Can you believe that? he asked.

That really is a humdinger, his sister replied. What was the name of this angel?

The vicar thought awhile.

Natalie Williams I think was her name, he said.

The next day at work his sister told her colleagues she’d made up with her brother — at last! — and told them all about Natalie Williams and the kind deed she’d performed. It soon got round the office, everyone rushing home to tell their families about this Natalie Williams, this mysterious do-gooder, it became a local news story.

Soon the day was declared a national holiday, Natalie Williams Day, and everybody was given a whole week off work, a whole week they’d spend with their families, and if they didn’t have families, with loved ones or friends, and if they didn’t have loved ones or friends, with their cats or dogs, and if they didn’t have cats or dogs, they’d go to the abandoned animal shelter and adopt one, one with a raggy ear or ratty patches of dead skin. They’d hold them up to their faces, being licked all over, giggling like children, saying I don’t care if you have raggy ears or ratty patches of dead skin! I love you anyway!

They’d put an extra sprinkle of sugar on their cereal and if somebody suggested watching a gritty crime drama or a violent film, they’d say on Natalie Williams week? I don’t think so! It was quite the faux pas. Let’s watch something lovely, like Harry Potter or It’s A Wonderful Life. And they’d snuggle up under a giant duvet, watching a nice film, eating steaming bowls of macaroni and cheese. But mostly, they’d feel the love of their family and their friends and their cats and their dogs, love that could set the whole world on fire, and think about what it means to be Natalie Williams.