Monday, October 15, 2007

The kindness of strangers

There was a time when altruism was considered the obvious way to live.

Then along came the Thatcher 80s - and suddenly altruism was equated with stupidity.
Greed and ambition were to be celebrated and admired.
And we've never recovered.

But every so often something - or someone - comes along who reminds you that human beings still have the capacity for acting in a way that helps others, while bringing them no material gain - apart from the satisfaction of knowing you have been kind and made a fellow human being feel good.

So yesterday, my boys went to the park with 3 friends.
They were only going for an hour in the late afternoon, so I didn't bother giving them any money.

One of the friends bought 2 ice creams and apologised to the others for not having enough £££ to buy them each one.

'You 3 not having an ice cream?' the man asked.
'No - it's ok, thanks,' the boys replied.
'Why not?'
'We don't have the money - but that's fine. Thank you.'

You can guess, can't you?
Not only did he give them each an ice cream - he even gave them strawberry sauce!

Now that man's never going to be rich.
But he made their day.
And when they told me, it made mine too.
And now I've shared it with you.

We don't know his name, so he has no way of knowing how far his actions are being celebrated and lauded.
He won't even have the satisfaction of knowing how much they have been appreciated.

But he put a little bit of goodness into the world.
Can you put a value on that?

PS Still having some techy problems.
If anyone's trying to reach me by Googlemail - be warned. I can't get in.


Unknown said...

What a wonderful and heart-warming story, Debi. If only there was more of that sort of kindness and if only we played that sort of kindness forward more often.

Debi said...

If only, Ab Van. We could change the world!

Unknown said...

There are still good people in the world. YAY.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there's loads of good people in the word, trouble is it doesn't sell news.

I dropped my purse on the bus a few years ago and a lady of mature years came after me to return it. Obviously very relived I tried to buy her a coffee, she refused and told me to do the same for someone else, which I try to do.

But it does put your faith back into human nature.

Debi said...

'trouble is it doesn't sell news'.
Well put, Kath.

The thing is that in our everyday dealings with others, we all have the power to either make people feel better or worse. It's the spreading of ripples effect.

Marie said...

Wonderful story. What a nice man!

Anonymous said...


There are a few genuine people out there still, they just keep themselves well hidden most of the time!

I live out in the sticks in Scotland, one night my car broke down on an unlit road, miles away from anywhere and to top that, I couldn't get a signal on my mobile. Plus the sweet sound of two teenage girls in the back screeching about getting their trainers wrecked if they had to walk through the fields!

An angel came in the shape of a man who'd just collected a takeawy pizza. He let us share it with him as we huddled round the engine lit by his headlights. Then, even though I lived 30 miles away from that bleak spot, he towed me all the way and helped my husband push the heap onto the drive.

He said he wouldn't like to think of his wife and kids stranded on a lonely road like that, and wouldn't have been able to sleep if he'd driven passed us.

Debi said...

Hi and welcome, Carol G. That's another lovely story. And that's the thing about acts of kindness - they enrich our lives and we never forget them.

May the blessings of the universe rain down on the heads of those who put little bits of goodness back into the world!