When random acts of kindness seem anything but random...
As November comes to a close, it feels like such a reflective month. Before we steel ourselves for the craziness of December, and the expectations of a New Year, November gives an opportunity for stillness. A chance to absorb the change in seasons, adjust to shorter days (in the Northern Hemisphere), perhaps shed some of the burdens of the year. It is also a month when we are prompted to remember, reflect and consider others. Whether it’s through localised initiatives such as anti-bullying week, nations reflecting on Remembrance Sunday or global movements like Movember, these are ways to put ourselves in another’s shoes, take a different perspective and step outside of our frenetic day to day, just for a moment.
This month I'd just like to share something very simple - something that happened in the Waterstones book shop I work in this weekend that really resonated with this theme of kindness, of thinking of others, and contributing to 'the good society'.
'A lady came into the shop to buy this beautiful card. Her bank card declined and so she said she’d come back later once she’d sorted it out. Another customer overheard this, and consequently paid for the card for the lady to have when she came back in. A very sweet random act of kindness.
Just before closing time the original lady came back in. The card was £2.25 and she explained that she’d only had £1.85 in her bank account which was why the card had declined. Over the course of the day she’d managed to get £5 transferred into her account so she could buy this card. I then told her another customer had paid for it on her behalf and asked us to keep it aside for her. Her eyes welled up with tears, she was just speechless. She honestly could not believe a stranger had done that for her. She just kept saying 'but why? why would someone do that for me?'.
She then told me that the card was for a dear friend who she was going to see today. Her friend was 71 years old, and was dying of cancer. The friend's husband had arranged a party for just her close companions to come and be together for the last time. They had stipulated no presents, just bring a nice card. This card carried great significance for the customer, and another kind stranger stepped in to make it so extra special.
I want to say thank you to the lovely stranger who paid for the card, your act of kindness meant more than you could possibly know'.
It's almost as if the stranger knew how significant this card might be. There could have been so many different outcomes, but the customer wanted to pass on the beauty of this particular card to her beloved friend, and at such a poignant time. We talk about random acts of kindness, but sometimes it doesn't seem so random... It was a joy to witness this exchange of humanity, care and kindness, and to be reminded how significant the smallest acts can be.