A recent experience prompted me to reflect on how easy it is to make someone’s day feel better (and your own) if only for moments, irrespective of what may be happening in that person’s or your own life.
A leg injury recently saw me trying to leave a petrol station/mini-store with a couple of bags of shopping whilst endeavouring to balance and walk with double-crutches back to my car. In hindsight, maybe not one of my better decisions but pride and fierce determination not to let the injury rule my life, I persevered. Several people walked past me, probably oblivious, or maybe choosing to ignore my predicament. A moment later and with head down watching bags and crutches to prevent me face-planting unceremoniously on the pavement, I saw a pair of legs walking briskly towards me and a voice said “Please let me help you”. I looked up to see a heavily pregnant woman with hands out-stretched offering to relieve me of my bags. In that moment, my thoughts went from grateful thanks to ‘don’t be silly, she’s heavily pregnant so it’s not right to say yes’. She pre-empted my grateful refusal with a knowing-look and stated she knew what it was like to struggle on double-crutches after multiple knee injuries: Furthermore, if I had any doubts about her carrying my shopping, she had just returned from a gentle gym session lifting far heavier weights so please would I accept her offer? I did.
She kindly asked about my injury and then knowingly looked at me and said she’d found it hard to accept help when needed as she was so used to being the one giving it. A random stranger offering her help had changed her perspective when he simply stated ‘please don’t deny me the opportunity to feel good about myself for a moment by sharing some kindness.’
I have accepted all offers of help since.
Several days later I’m still feeling good about this ‘random act of kindness’ and was prompted to share it because of a phone call received from our local health practice.
A family member had urgently needed evidence of childhood vaccinations for a new job abroad. On ringing our very busy (aren’t they all) health practice, he was told it may take a couple of days and there was a charge; he explained the urgency and the Practice Receptionist said she’d find a way to get it done by lunchtime and jokingly said she could thank him with an ice-lolly as it was such a hot day. He did just that – taking in a cool bag with 2 dozen ice lollies for all the staff. His contact was on her lunch-break when he called in so he explained and asked for his thanks to be passed on. On returning home and opening the document, there was a note that there would be no charge. She’s just called to express her amazed thanks and those of her colleagues. She re-stated that she really had been joking but his kindness has had a profound impact on the many staff who work there but are rarely acknowledged by patients – an impact far beyond the 10 minutes it takes to finish the lollies. In turn he thanked her for her unexpected kindness in sorting out the information without needing to charge.
Kindness is such an interesting behaviour; sadly people can be mistrustful or confused by kindness, maybe not understanding why they are worthy of it. Seeing people light up from such a simple gesture is something more people need to experience. Can you make today one of those days for someone?