Thursday, July 02, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

I can't remember (and I'm too lazy to search) if I've mentioned this before, but I try to practice at least one Random Act of Kindness every day. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. It could be something as simple as holding open a door for someone who has their arms full. Or saying "bless you" to someone who sneezes. Or admiring those FABulous shoes/blouse/skirt the lady in the lift is wearing and letting her know. So it's really not a big impost to do one act per day.

Something I've discovered is that, sometimes, an act you don't even think about is perceived as a huge kindness to someone else. Take this morning, for example.

Myself and other passengers were patiently waiting on the train platform when, three minutes before our train was due, we received the advice that the service was, once again, stuffed: "Please board the next train, change at Newport for a bus service to North Melbourne, then change for a city-bound train". Um, no thank you. So I looked around the group of people near me on the platform (most of whom I see nearly every working day) and said "I'm not gonna do that. My car is here, I'm driving to the CBD - does anyone want a lift?"


I know that, while I see these people most days, we're still strangers. But is that really an excuse to look at me the way a lot of them did? The looks on their faces were... well, I could perhaps understand if I was dressed like a derro, with a big lugey hanging out of my nose, and offered to murder their dog while I was at it. Which I wasn't, and didn't.

As it was, only one person accepted my offer, a lovely lady originally from Bulgaria. She had to get to work, and these transport issues would have made her REALLY late. So once she understood what I'd said, she came along for the ride. It was no big deal to me, I was driving to the city, I just took a little detour via Flinders St station. But this lady was so happy to be able to get to work on time. We had a great chat during the drive, and it certainly livened up my trip - much more fun than being by myself and listening to the radio.

Since I got to work today, I've mentioned the train problems and what I did to a few people, and discovered that a lot of people wouldn't have offered others a lift, or even thought to. Which of course they're absolutely entitled to do. Of course!

But am I really so strange?


Rosemary said...

hrm, sadly I probably would've been one of the people to look at you like you were an axe murderer. My mum pounded stranger-danger into me from a very young age, so much so that when I first worked in the Brisbane CBD I was looking over my shoulder all the time for potential muggers and rapists(!)

On the flip side I enjoy being able to perform a random act of kindness when the opportunity arises (although I don't go out of my way to do so every day). I think my favourite recent one was giving an old lady on her way into the train station my old green travelpass. It was thursday, the beginning of the easter long weekend, I was heading out of town, and the ticket was still valid until Monday. She looked absolutely stoked and I felt great for the rest of the weekend. :)

Stuart said...

Yes you're strange, but in an awesome way. Don't know why they looked at you the way you did, I'd like to think I'd have taken you up on your offer.

Anna said...

Rosemary - yeah, I like the feeling I get when I help someone. And I can understand why people might be a little nervous about accepting a lift from a stranger, but I was taking a risk too. Plus, most of them see me (and I them) nearly every morning.

Stuart - I'm not surprised if you would have.