Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Kindness Of Strangers


Winnie, William and George all sat down and made themselves comfortable when Mrs Simmons marched into view at the Lych gate. Meeting her in the village means a long conversation, usually about nothing in particular, and the older dogs know that they are about to loose at least half an hour of their lives when she appears.
Mrs Simmons was widowed just over a year ago in actual fact I gave the eulogy at her husband's funeral and like any widow, she has found the first year of bereavement a difficult one.
Recently she went on her first holiday to see a friend somewhere in the south Midlands and I found myself listening to a rather meandering story of how several rail connections were cancelled and how her journey was made complicated by replacement buses.
I zoned out of the conversation until she told me how she got into conversation with a teenager  called Kai on his way to a waitering job in Birmingham.
The delays had made him too late to pick up his shift, so with spare time to kill, Kai took charge of Mrs Simmons, carrying her bags from train to train and train to bus making sure she made her connections on time while she no doubt ,  talked his leg off all of the time they were together.
Mrs Simmons was obviously energised by their meeting and by his kindness to her and before they parted she slipped a twenty pound note into his hand " to compensate him for his lost tips"
Teenager and old Welsh lady hugged long and hard before they each went on their way.

Both better off for their meeting.

It was a nice story.
And an important one for  Mrs Simmons to retell.
For only after the dogs had stopped yawning and we had moved on did I realise that Mrs Simmons had shared nothing about the holiday itself nor about her anniversary visit to her husband's headstone.

That little moment of kindness was so much more important .



73 comments:

  1. Sadly Kai will never know just how much his kindness meant to Mrs Simmons but in the end I guess we reap what we sow.

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    1. So true YP
      I believe in karma and it seems he is one person who is filling his days with good.

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  2. The young and the old can learn a lot from each other.

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    1. And the fat and the thin

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  3. Such a nice story .

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  4. we need a kindness tale right now, john; thanks.

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  5. So touching, its good to remember our time is often the most precious gift we can give someone.

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  7. We all need someone in our lives, someone to guide us, help us, to listen.

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  8. That goes a long way to restoring faith in human nature.

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  9. It takes ten minutes of our time to 'make someone's day'!
    No matter how I feel, how much pain I'm in, or how miserable I feel, I try to listen to people I meet, and if I can make them smile or laugh, it makes my day too!
    We should all try to be a bit more in tune with those we share the planet with!

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    1. I totally agree Col, you might be the only person someone sees all day or even all week, so a smile could mean a lot x

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    2. Over my career I dealt with a lot of elderly people, many of whom were widowed. A great many of them used to tell me their 'life stories', all about their families, children, grandchildren etc.
      I have one of those brains that retain totally useless information, so I soon learned to put names and faces to stories I'd been told.
      It really seemed to make a difference to their day when I could ask how their grandson was settling in his new school/did their gardener turn up/just little things.
      I was also well known for telling them 'mucky' jokes......not filthy, just a bit naughty. Some of our staff thought it was awful to tell an elderly person a 'mucky' joke, but let's face it, they were young once, and none of us would be here without them, so........
      We'll all be old ourselves one day (hopefully) and I'd like to think I won't become invisible!

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    3. Dirty joker eh?
      Well you are in the right place!

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    4. Oh John, I have a vast collection of dirty jokes! X

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  10. That was lovely, so glad that Mrs Simmons got so much out of a young lad's kindness.

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  11. Someone raised the boy right and with compassion. A good heart warming story John.

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  12. Thank you for listening to Mrs Simmons and sharing her story of Kai carrying her bags etc. - bless his heart!

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  13. A lovely story, I really do believe in karma and paying it forward. We were grocery shopping a few weeks ago and an old chap had lost his wallet, my hubby said not a thing gave me some cash and told me to pay for the old chap's shopping (it was only about £15). He has not told a soul, so I'm doing it for him. The lovely old fella was overcome I just said pay it forward if you have have the chance. I really do think it makes the world a better place if we all do our bit even in a small way. You did it by listening John xx

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    1. I love your hubby! X

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    2. That makes two of us xx

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  14. Such a heart warming tale John. X

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  15. Well, that made me cry :)
    Those sweet moments in our lives are few and far between I think and I am so glad that she got to share it with you and you shared it with us. Not just old women needing a hand but generally, most people seem to be so alone these days and we all seem so cut off from another . Especially if you live in a large city- it seems the more people there are, the more alone you are.
    Mrs Simmons sounds like a treasure and I am so glad that young man recognized it.

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    1. She drives me slightly barmy but it was sweet

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  16. Wonderful . . .
    Happy your ears heard the "kindness . . ."
    So very nice . . .

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  17. How sweet and how sorely needed on the heels of Orlando. We humans certainly can swing from the heights of humanity to the depths of depravity. I've always felt the good things far outnumber the bad things, but the bad things get all the publicity. I hope my son is a Kai to someone. I will try harder to be a better Kai, too.

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    1. Yes we all need some sweet news after florida dont we?

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    2. For those of you who do not know Utah is Mormon from border to border. Religion dictates most of everything there. I never thought I live to see the day when someone would say this and humble himself to bring much needed succor to so many. It is long but well worthy of reading, because of Orlando and because the healing must start somewhere, even from sources never expected to be there for this:

      http://tinyurl.com/hmfem9w

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    3. A. Smith, that's an amazing speech - thanks for posting. I'd encourage anyone who hasn't read it yet to go have a look.

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    4. A. Smith, that is a brilliant speech, thank you for posting the link.

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  18. A feel good story. x

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  19. Exactly. And as those of the Jewish faith would say- you performed a mitzvah in listening.

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    1. Whats a mitsvah?

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    2. Mitzvah has many meanings but in this instance I would say you did a good deed, a kindness, by listening.

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    3. Thanks i will use that again

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  20. Good post, we need stories like this during times of trouble

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  21. In the end it all comes down to kindness - a resource that ought to be endless and yet seems so often in such short supply. Nice to see such a lovely and mutual example of it.

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  22. A couple weeks ago, my vehicle broke down and stranded me 600 miles from home. (That's farther than London to Inverness by road.) The driver of the tow truck, with whom I rode more than 100 miles, was a delightful young man who had just that day signed the papers to buy a house and was setting his wedding day now that he could provide a home for his bride. His joy and enthusiasm removed my own troubles completely from my mind. How thankful I am for people who share.

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  23. There are some nice kids around. My mum missed her ordered Taxi a while back so a school boy waiting for a bus went to the supermarket to phone another Taxi for her.

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  24. Many years ago I was waiting at a Zebra crossing when it started to rain heavily - luckily I had an umbrella with me but there was a little old lady who was starting to get wet and it seemed to be upsetting her so I offered to walk her home under my umbrella. When we got to her home she thanked me and asked very straight,
    'are you an angel?'
    Having the opportunity to be nice even in a very simple way feels lovely... otherwise what is the point to any of us?

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    1. I hope you said " yes"

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  25. Well, someone raised that child right. I'm glad they found eachother.

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  26. Amid all our big plans, those are the moments we remember for the rest of our lives.

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  27. The examples of kindness that you relay here always feed my anxious side with gladness and hope John. My default setting is worry and pessimism and I always think that evil will overtake the world and then each day you remind me of how many wonderful people there are in the world....thank you Johnx

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  28. What a lovely story John. Maybe it also shows that she is beginning to pick up the pieces again and begin to live for herself a little.

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    1. You have been there pat?

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  29. I agree, I think that actually was one of the nicest and sweetest stories I've heard for a long time. But it only makes my conviction stronger, I do believe people long for kindness and real meetings, much more than faster broadband ( sorry Weaver!!) and outdoor bathtubs. That boy and that old lady would never have spent any time together where the circumstances the usual. I believe the good Lord puts us in situations where our hearts must decide what to do, and when that happends, the heart always choose the options that brings joy and light. On top of that, you decide to share it with us, making our evening joyful and bright. Good dayswork, John!!!!! And good wishes and blessings for the old lady's journey back to life.

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    1. She made me stop and listen certainly xx

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  30. In the light of all the recent tragedies, it's good to know that there are still some caring youngsters out there.

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  31. Lovely story and heartwarming comments.

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  32. Did my heart good to read this.

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  33. A lovely story and you have written it so expertly!

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  34. Nothing little about kindness. Ever. It is a powerful force.

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  35. That's a sweet story. Thanks for telling us about it.

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  36. As you know (I've certainly whinged about it often enough!) this has been a ridiculously difficult year. It's the kindnesses received along the way which have kept me going; not one of which was little.

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  37. oh what a sweet story it's remind me some one else <3
    sonia

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    1. hey how are you.. i don't received any kind of notification about this comment why?

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  38. Little things matter so much!. Came back to me today!.
    We had a lady pass away at work, family wanted all belongings binned.
    She had some not used toiletries, next lady to arrive in her bed was unkempt, electric cut off, toilet blocked, malnourished. Had nothing!.
    I gave her the toiletries, not PC n infection control would murder me., but that lady loves the Avon spray moisturiser, deodorant and is taking a pride in her appearance. So as you say hey ho. She wants to keep cuddling me as someone paid an interest in her, no I won,t tell her where it came from. Not the same as hospital E45.
    Kirrie

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  39. What a nice story to share...for her to share with you and for you to share with us. We can use some of that stateside right not...so sad and so divided...hugs to you and the Prof!

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  40. How sweet it is of that young man to be so helpful, there is hope for us yet, we often see and hear negative stories about the youth of today but I think there are more good stories we just don't read about them. Thanks for sharing John and a pat on the head for the dogs who stood by so patiently.

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  41. What a lovely post about the special encounter in Mrs Simmond's holiday. That young Kai has a kind heart. You and the dogs were sweet too, to take the time to listen to Mrs S. xx

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  42. Wonderful story - I'm glad you came back here to tell all of us. There is a lot of good in the world too.

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  43. A touching story. There's more random kindness about than we realise, despite all the horror stories of the opposite in the media.

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  44. What a great story!

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  45. A lovely story, well a story within a story really.

    There is so much kindness in this world it just gets hidden with all the tragedy and horror. But I bet if we could somehow manage to 'knit' all these small kindnesses together it would make a blanket both large enough and heavy enough to smother all the bad things that are happening in the world.

    We each have a responsibility to keep adding to the stitches in any way we can, a kind word, a helping hand, a smile ... what we give can be so small and yet so vitally important to those that we give it to. We just have to keep on and not let all the other bad things that are going on demoralise us to such an extent that we lose the urge to carry on being good ourselves.

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