Saturday, 13 June 2009

The experience of kindness that starts my search

Barry Wootten was a man I was proud to call my friend. I had known him for nearly 20 years. We met when he was Advertisement Director of the Leicester Mercury and I was the Telesales Manager in the classified ads department. He constantly challenged me and was like a father figure. He died peacefully in his sleep on the 3rd June 2009. His funeral was set for the 11th June.

On the way to his funeral I decided that my car was disrespectfully dirty so I pulled into one of those hand car wash places about a mile away from the crematorium. I pulled into the cleaning bay and switched off my engine. I moved to the finishing bay and switched off my engine. When they had finished I went to set off but the car would not start. I had 15 minutes to go before the funeral. I asked the guys whether they could jump start me. They obliged but the car did not start. The realisation dawned that I was going to miss the funeral. Even if I abandoned my car and set off on foot there was no way I would make it in the time that was left. I didn't expect any sympathy from the car washers especially since they had to push my extremely heavy car out of the way but then guy who appeared to be in charge asked me whether I had fully comprehensive insurance. I replied yes and he immediately put his car keys in my hand and told me to take his car. I was completely stunned that this guy who I had never met was prepared to lend me his car. I arrived just in time. 90 minutes later I returned and thanked him again. I still could not believe that he had just given me his car to use. I said that I would very much like to give him some petrol money and handed him a £10 note. He refused to take my money. We had spoken earlier and I knew that business was very slow for him but even so he refused my money. For him it was the right thing to do.

His act of kindness released an optimism in me and made me consider that in this world a kind act can be every bit as shocking as a cruel one, maybe even more so. A couple of days later, having told everyone this story I realised that I wanted to seek out other stories of acts kindness from you to share on these pages. I hope that with your help we can fill this space with kindness..........

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