Thursday, 20 August 2009

A Boston bus drivers kindness

To juxtapose Heirloom's bus driver example, a few weeks ago I took the bus to work and promptly went to eat. About ten minutes into my meal, a coworker called me to tell me something urgent demanded my attention. I figured she was just teasing me for eating while on the job, so I ignored her. Five minutes later she came to me and told me she was serious. So I went downstairs to find the bus driver, who had found my wallet on the back seat of the bus and came to deliver it personally. He ended up being at least 15 minutes late, and probably penalized for it. I was very, very grateful


Monday, 10 August 2009

A kind and unexpected gift from California

My wife returned from the BlogHer conference in Chicago bearing many gifts for the family. I, being partial to nuts, was the recipient of an array of exotic nut based snack foods. Amongst these was a Pearson's Salted Nut Roll. I examined this for a while wondering why a savoury snack was packaged like a confectionery bar. It was only when curiosity gave way to temptation that I finally sunk my teeth into it. I was first met with the saltiness of the peanuts but then my taste buds were assaulted by the sweetness of a nougat like centre. My brain was telling me that this was a weird and horrible combination, yet my mouth was strangely enjoying the challenges of the contrasting tastes. I finished it and thought that was it.

A few hours later the withdrawal symptoms started. This was a real problem as it is not a taste experience that can easily be replicated in the UK. Google did not provide any easy answers so I turned to Twitter. To my surprise one of my very kind Twitter friends @sprmama messaged me that a box of Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls were on its way to me from Sunny California. I had just tweeted that I wanted to know if anywhere in the UK sold these but my very kind friend took it upon herself to send me a box.

I was completely taken aback and still am today when they arrived at some expense to my friend who I had only exchanged occasional tweets with. As with all examples of kindness, I am humbled and thankful. In a way this not only shows the kindness of a person, but also one way that a social network can make our world a little smaller and a whole lot more welcoming.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Of bottles, snow a struggle to survive and a woman's generosity

last winter, on a very cold night an elderly lady was walking slowly in a snow storm picking up bottles and cans. Over here, most bottles are recyclable for a refund so often people who are more or less indigent pick them up to get some money. the lady had a bag half full as she was going by a building. a young woman came out of the building at the same time, and upon seeing the lady, she told her to wait there for a minute. she rushed upstairs back to her apartment, and a couple of minutes later came out handing two full bags of bottles to the lady. She helped her carry them to the store behind the corner where they could be returned, and the lady wouldn't need to look for anymore in the snow storm that night.

Mike L

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Trains, Kindness and Automobiles.

One very cold dark winter morning on my way to school, I was walking down the slope towards the bus stop, as i saw the bus come a couple minutes early, and so I ran up to the bus, knocked on the door, but the driver just ignored me and kept driving away. I kept knocking along the bus as it drove away from me and I saw people stand up in the bus and call for the driver to stop, but still he didn't. Next bus would leave in 30 minutes. I started cursing and screaming at that idiot. I felt humiliated. Then a lady in her younger thirties pulled up in front of me and offered me a ride to the train station even though she was going the opposite way. That saved my day.


Monday, 3 August 2009

The rain brings out the best in some people

Something small, but two years ago i went to dinner with my girlfriend for new year's eve, and decided to go to City Hall afterward to watch the countdown while we were at it.

As the latter was unplanned, we weren't prepared when it started pouring heavy rain. A couple who were leaving saw us and gave us an umbrella (they had one each), said Happy New Year with a smile and off they went.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

The things that bother me in my search for examples of kindness

Now that I have been looking for examples of kindness for a couple of months, I sit back and take stock of what I have achieved, what I have learned and what I want to do next.

My main offensive weapon in gathering examples of kindness was Twitter. I posted at least 50 tweets asking for examples of kindness and achieved a few postings. I was however, very surprised that a fashion forum I belong to called Style Zeitgeist was actually a lot richer in coming up with examples. In fact from a single thread I achieved half a dozen examples of which two of them rank as the most thought provoking. The lesson here I guess is that examples of kindness and the sharing of them can happen in any surroundings.

I did have my eyes opened, however, to the number of groups there are out there promoting the doing of kind acts. I became aware of many new phrases and movement such as Random Acts of Kindness, Pay it Forward, Pass it Forward and so on. Whilst I think all genuine acts of kindness are to be applauded, I struggle largely to understand Kindness Organisations. There are exceptions such as Diego Villaveces Pass it Forward group in Australia who I respect greatly, but I think they are the exception not the rule. I was approached by a Kindness Organisation via a comment on one of the posts on this blog and to be fair it read like a political manifesto. I have struggled internally whether to publish it or not. In fact I still haven't decided. On the other hand, I see other groups that I can harshly categorise as Tree Huggers. In neither case do I see a mass change in kindness because I do not see the mass attraction for groups like these.

It is so easy to jump on a kindness bandwagon but it is not my intention to do so. In fact I don't want to change the world by making people act kindly. I just want to show the effects on kind acts from the receivers point of view. If that makes the reader act in a certain way, then fine. If not then that is also fine. I do not believe in a kindness business model nor do I believe that any organisation can make people kinder. I believe that acts of kindness are very personal and are examples of the generosity of the human spirit. They have the ability to make us feel better about the world we live in and the people we share it with. No more and no less.