Sunday, 12 July 2009

I am haunted by my actions

I collect and publish examples of kindness. I do not claim to be kind in return as it is not for me to judge. I do however believe that in order to be able to chronicle examples of kindness, I must at least be able to accept my own failings and strive to be a better person. On that note I am haunted by something that happened a couple of years back.

My family holiday in Phuket every February. We take time out of the working year to spend three weeks in what we think of as paradise. We stay at a top hotel where our every whim is taken care of. We spend our days lazily recharging by the pool and our evenings we wander around Patong, the main holiday town.

Phuket is a place of many contrasts. There are many wealthy visitors from Europe, America and Australia who bring welcome currency to this Thai island. The Thais, themselves make the most of the tourists in terms of trade. Like all countries there are a proportion who are forced to beg for a living.

One night we were walking along a main street in an area where there were no shops or hotels, when we came across a beggar. He was on his stomach dragging himself along by his arms. I could see that he had one leg missing at the knee and his thigh bone was clearly visible. He was an old man of at least sixty, which a weather beaten face which did not show any malice or ill towards the world. He was just asking for some money to carry on living I guess.

I looked at his leg and thought about getting him some antibiotics which are readily available over the counter. This would have at least helped him against infection. I would have cost me no more than a couple of pounds. I could have given him enough for a decent meal as well and have had change from four pounds. On this night the urge to carry on walking was greater than the urge to help this man. I ignored him and carried on walking. I looked out for him every night following that hoping to be able to right the wrong I had done.

To this day I still think back to that night and the things I should have done, with the utmost regret. I should have taken responsibility and done the right thing. It makes me think about all the times when we could chose to do a kind thing but end up doing nothing. In a quest to spread examples kindness in the world, perhaps it is those pivotal moments we must first address.

For me, I will carry on regretting my lack of action. I never did see that man again and can only hope that someone better than I gave him the help he needed. I am not worthy of judgement beyond that.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a child someone told me this:

    " I may pass this way but once, any good that I can do, any kindness I can show, let me do it now, for I may not pass this way again"