The Kindness Of Strangers – Wonderful People Exist!
A few weeks ago I saw a question on Twitter that I LOVED. The question was: “What’s the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?”, posed by the extremely funny and ridiculously cool Kerry Jean Lister. And, yep, I loved it. It just felt like the exact right thing for that moment. Lovely tales about lovely people and lovely acts of kindness. Such a soothing balm against the current events, where President Tango Tiny Hands was basically inducing WW3 on Twitter and yet another horrific terrorist attack took place in Barcelona. Reading stories about the kindness of strangers reminds you that some goodness exists, somewhere.
I’ve got three ridiculously lovely stories of my own about the kindness of strangers. Two of them happened fairly recently – in fact, one was only the other weekend. I also asked a bunch of other bloggers for their stories about the kindness of strangers, and there are some doozies. Read on if you fancy giving your brain a big warm hug, or dropping the cynicism for a few minutes to remember people are really capable of wonderful things.
THE BUS DRIVER
My first story about the kindness of strangers comes from 2005, when I was 20 and in my Going Out ALL THE TIME Drink ALL THE DRINKS stage. I’d been out with friends, but stupidly left the club alone to walk to the taxi rank. On the way I managed to attract some drunken miscreant who would NOT stop yelling at me, and decided to follow me. He kept getting closer, and I was terrified. Finally, I rounded a corner and saw a bus. It was stopped, with all its lights off, but the driver was sat in the cab, and he had seen me and my pursuer.
I ran to the doors. They opened, and the driver said “Get on, love, quick”. He shut and locked the doors behind me, and we stood and watched as the bloke who was following me stuck up his finger and sauntered off.
“You alright?” the driver asked, and I nodded. I thanked him for letting me on, and said I’d carry on to the taxi rank now. “No chance,” the driver said. “I’ve got a daughter about your age. There’s no bloody way I’d let her walk around with psychos like him out there. Where do you live?”
His shift was over, and he was about to head home. But that bus driver gave me a lift, in the bus, all the way to my front door. My house at the time was about 3 miles out of the city centre, but he took me the entire way and refused to take any money. He waited until I was in the house before driving off. What a saint. I dread to think what could’ve happened without him. Of course, I was a lot more careful after that.
THE INTERNET FRIEND
As you may know, I had a miscarriage in March this year. It hit me incredibly hard, and I struggled immensely with the grief for a very long time. Only a week or so after the miscarriage itself I received a message from a woman I know only online. We met through me being a huge fan of her blog, and have become good internet acquaintances on Instagram and Twitter. She’s a fantastic woman anyway, but I was blown away by her message that week.
You see, she’d been heavily pregnant when I had the miscarriage. And, in that week afterward, she gave birth to a gorgeous baby. It wasn’t her first, and I’d been eagerly awaiting seeing the new addition to her beautiful family. But she hadn’t announced the news anywhere publicly, and I therefore wasn’t aware she’d given birth, until her message.
Her message said that the baby had arrived, and she would likely start posting photos to Instagram soon, so she wanted to warn me. She wanted me to be aware, so that it wouldn’t catch me off guard and possibly add to my misery. She wanted to make sure I’d be ok.
The fact that someone would go out of their way to make sure a person that they had only ever known online would be OK before they announced their newborn baby… Wow. I was incredibly touched. I doubt I’ll ever forget that message. It was just such pure, unexpected kindness. From a person I speak to maybe once a month at most. The kindness of strangers, eh? I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to anybody before. What a wonderful woman.
THE TABLE SHARER
A couple of weekends ago, we headed out for a day out in the Peak District. We were meeting friends, but they were a little late. There was a beautiful pub nearby and it was warm weather, so we headed to the beer garden and found a table. The pub was busy, and after a while a couple asked if they could share our table. There was more than enough room, so we happily shifted up.
We chatted occasionally, and they enjoyed listening to TD’s endless prattle. They asked him questions, and he excitedly answered them and showed them his toys. Then, he spied an ice-cream van. Well, obviously you know what his next question was, right?
Unfortunately, my husband and I only had about 80p in change between us. We had to break the bad news to TD, who took it like a champ, thankfully. A few minutes later, the couple sharing our table got up to go, and as they did the man said “Here you go fella, get yourself an ice-cream. You deserve it.” He handed TD a £5 note.
Of course, we tried to give it back to him and of course he refused, and of course we then thanked him till he thought we were fairly weird and ran away. But, SO NICE. SO kind! And when TD got his ice-cream, he refused to give either of us a lick and said he’d only share it with That Nice Man. Good lad. Good man. Such kindness of strangers!
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS & ME
So, those stories. Such wonderful people, right? And it was clear from all three of them that none of them were doing these deeds selfishly. None of them were doing them for recognition, or to feel good about themselves. All three just wanted to help somebody, to put somebody else’s needs before their own. I would love to be like that. I often feel far too selfish, self-involved, lacking in empathy. Everyone can be guilty of focusing far too much on themselves instead of others, and whilst that isn’t exactly a crime it’s definitely good to open one’s eyes wider once in a while. I’m not saying I’ve never been the stranger in the kindness of strangers before – I have. But, inspired by my stories and the ones below, I’m going to try to make it a far more frequent thing.
There have been SO many times that I’ve seen strangers who could probably do with a quick hand, but haven’t given it for fear of seeming rude or over-friendly. But, I guess, if everyone did the same there wouldn’t be any of these stories, would there? There wouldn’t be any stories about the kindness of strangers, because we’d all be so busy minding our own business. So, yes. Time to stick my oar out a bit more!
Read on for more warming tales about the kindness of strangers that have definitely made me feel like I need to buck up my game!
THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL
A lady bought my Christmas food shop for me the day before Xmas eve. I’d unloaded it all onto the conveyor belt and then realised I forgot my purse! The lady in front heard me tell the cashier and took pity on me and my wailing 6 month old and paid for 90 of food… I obviously asked for her bank details to pay her back as soon as I got home but I had no proof as to who I was as no purse so for all she knew I never was going to pay! I did though and sent some extra for her too!
Lauren from Scrapbook Blog
THE TERRIBLE TWOS SAVIOUR
…Then the other IT happened. Someone got involved. A stranger. He was a broad, tall man in his older years with a shock of silvery hair and a beard to match. An imposing figure even to me and he came striding straight for us at speed before stopping abruptly as though he was about to walk over Moose. I had no idea what to say. He addressed me and said “hello, I hope this is ok” before crouching down to my 2 year old rageball and he said in a booming voice “Young man. I think we have had quite enough of this. Lets walk together with Mummy” and he took his hand.
THE (OTHER) BUS DRIVER!
A London bus driver once took his bus out of service and gave me a lift about 20 minutes out of his way to a train station so I could get the last train home (I’d gone to a party somewhere new and accidentally got on the wrong bus, not realising until it was in a very dodgy deserted area). I made the train, thanks to him.
Gill from A Baby On Board
THE HOSPITAL ANGEL
When I had to stay at Birmingham Childrens hospital when Neve was ill, Mike had to drop and run to get back for Erin. I didn’t know where I was going and with a poorly child was in a bit of a state. This lovely lady (whose daughter was in the hospital and had been for months) walked me to where I needed to be, and because she saw another Mum in need, she stayed with me for half an hour until I’d calmed down. I sadly never got her name but she was like my guardian angel!!!
Lucy from Real Mum Reviews
THE STATION STRANGER
When I was in my early 20s I used to volunteer at a summer camp for disabled teenage girls. One summer, after a week of very little sleep, I got stuck at King’s Cross. I’d travelled from Surrey with a massive backpack and sleeping bag, was tired, a little grubby, and very hot and bothered. I tried to buy a bottle of water and a chocolate bar, thinking a couple of quid should cover it…it didn’t! I asked the assistant to put the chocolate back. She gave me a disgusted glare… Then, a lovely man piped up “How much do you need?”. I told him I was 20p short and he held out a handful of change saying, “Take what you need!” I took 20p, thanked him profusely, and ended up catching my train with something to fill my belly and a drink.
It was the man’s absolute generosity in holding out a handful of change even after I’d said I only needed 20p which blew me away – I think had I asked for enough to buy a sandwich he’d have given me that too!
THE RAT RESCUER
We were in London the other week and my buggy ran over a live RAT. A business man saw I did not have the guts to walk past. He moved it out of my way like in the old movies where a guy would put a coat over a puddle for a lady!
Liska from New Mum Online
THE BUS STAR
We were on a coach back from skiing. I was sat on one seat with Rose and Justin. Lewis and Holly were at the back of the coach asleep. Rose threw up everywhere and I was trying to comfort her and clean it up while trying to signal Justin to help but he wouldn’t wake up! The man in front told me to “cuddle your little girl” and he cleaned up all her sick. I sat and cried because it’s an awful job but he just did it without batting an eye!
Amy from Amy Treasure
THE TAXI DRIVER
I was in London for an event a few months ago and I was heavily pregnant. I’d gone all the way down to the tube – at rush hour – and after missing a second train because people kept shoving in front of me, I gave up and went back to street level to hail a cab. The driver was lovely and when I arrived at my destination, he point blank refused to take a penny from me.
Kate from The Less Refined Mind
My friend and I were on holiday with her parents when we were 14 and her mum told us to not lose our towels when they dropped us off at the pool. Well, my friend did, and as her mum was really strict she panicked. We decided to quickly head to the nearest department store to buy a new one. They had a really similar one in stock but we were a couple of Euros short. A nun overheard us, gave us the money and we bought the towel without her mum ever noticing.
Carolin from Mummy Alarm
THE MYSTERIOUS BENEFACTOR
When my husband had his heart transplant at 34 he was so poorly afterwards that he had round the clock care. I was also expecting our second son who was due in the upcoming weeks. It was such a terrifying time for us all. Then one morning the most thoughtful man ever left a surprise envelope by the side of husbands bed with £100 inside. There was also a note that read ” I wish you all the very best with your recovery. Here is a little something to treat the children”.
Tears filled my eyes! Such a kind act that was so very much appreciated at such a tough time.
Jayne from Sticky Mud And Belly Laughs
Thank you to everyone above for their contributions! If you’ve got a story about the kindness of strangers, please do drop it in the comments below. I’ve enjoyed reading them all so much, and we could all do with a nice warm fuzzy feeling right now, right?