Random Acts of Kindness
How being kind to strangers can make such a big difference.
I would like to share with you all a collection of moments in my life and the lives of my friends where we have either acted in kindness towards others or have been the recipient of kindness from others.
As Mary piled the shopping onto the conveyor belt she was inwardly cursing herself, feeling irritated by her own forgetfulness. She had come to the supermarket for her mid week top up of milk bread and eggs but left her debit card at home. She hadn’t realized this fact until she reached the cashiers desk.
All she had was a few coins of loose change in her jacket pocket. She eyed the groceries trying to guess at the cost of them and mentally trying to work out if she had enough. She quickly removed a couple of items recognizing they would push her over budget. Beep, …beep, the cashier had started to ring her groceries through the till and before she knew it she was being asked to pay… that’ll be £6.51 please. She counted out what she had and realized she was literally a penny short. She felt embarrassed and explained she was short on cash and as she asked the cashier to take back the eggs she heard a gentle voice behind her offering out a hand with a 1 pence coin.
The lady waiting in line behind her had noticed what was going on and very discreetly offered her the penny. Mary felt ridiculously grateful, embarrassed and awkward all at the same time. However she took the penny thanked the stranger for this act of kindness and left the store as quickly as she could vowing inwardly she would never put herself in that position again.
The following week as Mary lined up to pay for her weekly shop, debit card and cash ready she heard a familiar statement but this time from the man in front of her. “I’m sorry I’m short by 50p can you take the banana’s off?” Without hesitation Mary quickly stepped forwards and offered the man a 50 pence coin to help. He thanked her and smiled saying “there are still good people in the world” then walked off smiling. Mary felt good, she had helped someone in need just as someone else had helped her. The concept of karma entered her mind. What goes around comes around and in this case it was all good.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” (Amelia Earhart)
Adam a self employed I.T technician had been working from home since Covid-19 struck the world into lock-down and panic back in March 2020. He felt the sting of loneliness and isolation as he lived alone and with no friends or family living nearby, he had no company. Months passed by without him leaving the house, he ordered take- away meals delivered to the door, groceries were ordered online and delivered to the door. Adam fast became a social recluse. He was busy working most hours and felt awkward going for walks alone. He preferred face to face meetings with people and never quite took to online video calling despite his own career in technology.
Adam began to suffer with insomnia and low mood, but refused to see his GP believing it was a passing phase. After 3 months of not leaving the house he finally called his GP who prescribed him with anti-depressants which meant he had to venture out to the chemist. Wearing a face mask and gloves he set foot outdoors for what felt like the first time in ages. He anxiously walked the 10 minutes it took to reach the chemist and was handed his prescription and medication. As he started to walk home he noticed how fresh the air felt and enjoyed watching the cars and people going about their business. He slowed down his pace, and walked straight past his house and towards his local park.
He felt a little nervous being alone but wanted to extend his time out a bit longer. As he walked around the lake in the park a passer by said “Good morning” it startled him but he quickly responded “Morning”. He felt strangely uplifted, happy, somebody had noticed him, seen him, smiled at him and greeted him. Adam stayed at the park for another hour and took the opportunity to say “Morning” nod and smile at a few passers by. All of whom responded in kind. He felt alive again. Like he mattered. This feeling stayed with him and he began a new routine at least 3 times a week he would visit his local park and offer others a smile here, a greeting there and got talking to a few regular park visitors. He stopped feeling so invisible and insignificant and began to feel like someone again. All it took was some random acts of kindness from strangers. Never under estimate the power of a smile, it can make someone else’s day. Being kind costs nothing but brings so much warmth.
It was that time again.. my birthday and treat time. My niece has always made a special effort to pamper me every year on my birthday and 2018 was no different. I was invited to attend a beautiful 5 star hotel in London for a special all expenses paid weekend spa break with my nieces and sister in law. I felt very humbled as I realized how much effort, planning, expense and thought had gone into this birthday treat. I enjoyed the luxurious surroundings, good company and spa facilities. My niece had booked me a full body massage for the following morning so I decided to use the first night to relax in the pool and sauna room with our group. I wore the complimentary spa slippers and padded softly across the marble floor towards the swimming pool.
As I took my first steps down the stairs to get to the the pool area I noticed the steps were wet and slippery so I reached out to grab the banister however before my hand reached the side my right foot had slipped making me fall backwards. I felt the crushing twist and heard the click of my right ankle as I fell heavily back onto the concrete steps hitting my back hard as I landed and slid down the 5 remaining steps smashing the same right ankle into the wall at the bottom. Ouch… the pain, the throbbing, the shock and dizziness I felt all wrapped up in my emotional state. I felt in pain and wanted to cry, the leg felt numb and I lay feeling embarrassed and helpless on the floor in a silent haze of confusion. I remember saying a little prayer under my breath at the time asking God to help me.
As hotel staff came rushing to help me I was lifted onto a wheel chair. I was unable to bear any weight on my right foot it had swollen up like a balloon. After a trip to the hospital with my niece I was told I had severely sprained my ankle and was lucky not to have broken it. They put my foot into a special boot type cast to keep it steady, prescribed me painkillers and sent me back to the hotel in a taxi. I was still in shock from the fall but wanted to make sure this didn’t ruin the rest of the break for myself or my family. I was grateful for the sponge bath and shower I was supported to have by my sister in law. I was grateful for the first time to my body. Never before had I appreciated my limbs in this way. One ankle injury and I was unable to perform simple tasks alone like stand up or move around freely. I took for granted every part of my body until that day. I realized just how lucky I was to have a fully able body and how losing the use of one ankle left me feeling so vulnerable.
The following morning I went down to the spa area to have my massage, overnight the swelling and bruising had grown bigger and looked horrible. I ignored the pain, took a deep breath and used my crutches to get down to the massage room. Thank God for elevators! As I entered the treatment room the therapist started to warm some oils and asked how I had come by my injury noticing the leg cast. After sharing with her what had happened she showed so much care and compassion I began to cry. I had been holding back the tears since falling, she hugged me and I felt safe and cared for. I felt she allowed me to just exhale and be vulnerable. She then proceeded to tell me something that made us both cry together.
She shared that she was not meant to be on shift that morning and had been quite upset at being called in to work on a Sunday morning as she attends church religiously for Sunday service. However the hotel was short staffed and her colleague had called in sick. She said,
“Now I know why I am here this morning.. God sent me here to help you. He placed me where he needed me and today I wasn’t needed in church I was needed here.”
Her presence was so calming and she had such a kindly way about her. I had walked into that room feeling broken and low in spirit, but leaving the massage room I had energy, courage and felt in a strange way healed from inside. What she gave me was not just a massage treatment but an authentic loving human connection of care, empathy and love. She made me feel safe and looked after and my spirit was at ease again.
After returning home and recovering a few weeks later I tried to contact this therapist by calling the hotel. I intended to send her a thank you note and flowers but she had moved on. I never got to properly thank this mysterious, beautiful and loving stranger but I will always remember her kindness. It is acts of kindness like this by others- often strangers that restores my faith in humanity. Never does kindness touch a thing but leaves it a more beautiful thing than it was before. As Maya Angelou quotes:
“People may not remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.”
No matter what your belief system, whether its God, Karma, mother nature, universal laws or just the human spirit. Kindness transcends above all of this and encourages connection, love and empathy for the self and others. So next time you feel low, or need help remember to be kind to yourself, and then go out and be kind to others it will never let you down. A small gesture, a smile, a kind word of support. It all counts.
From my heart to yours, I wish you all a blessed life and hope that you all experience the beauty of kindness touch your lives.