Kindness is like a warm shawl on a cold day.
A number of years back I was journeying to an appointment at a hospital that was quite a distance from home. Armed with the numbers and locations of the various trains, buses and/or streetcars I was supposed to take, I started on my way. But soon realized my meticulous preparations hadn’t prepared me for the mishmash of streetcar lines, bus stops, flashing lights, whizzing cars and hurrying feet.
Exhausted by the long journey and completely out of my depth in this part of the city, I took refuge in a bus shelter to review my situation. A quick glance at my watch confirmed my worst fear. I did not want to be late and must quickly find my way out and to my destination.
Soon a woman sauntered in. She was dressed in a pink jogging suit, and looked to be about 50 or 60. Stamping out the cigarette she had been smoking, she looked me over before saying in a gruff voice - good morning. I responded. She smiled. I did the same. She asked if I was okay. That’s when I almost broke down. But controlled myself.
She seemed to know her way around these parts and when a streetcar screeched to a halt where we stood, she ushered me up the steps; after speaking to the driver, she took a seat opposite me. Two stops later on the way out she told me that my stop would be coming up shortly but not to worry, because she had told the driver to make sure I got off safely. When the driver announced my stop, he pointed out the hospital. As I was getting off, he told me where to take the streetcar for the return journey to the train station. And then, he said, good luck. Possibly because I was going to the hospital.
I wonder where these people are now; how have they fared during these exhausting and sometimes frightening times; are they safe? Are they well? I will never know. However, I will never forget them and their kindness.
An act of kindness has the power to change one’s life – of the giver and the receiver. It can turn a freezing day into firelit warmth; give sadness chance to hope again; connect people.
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