Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Gratitude Day 13: the Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday night, as I was on my way home from teaching I noticed that my car was overheating. I pulled over into the supermarket which was just down the road and wandered in trying to find the car section. I approached a gentleman in uniform and asked him for some oil and some engine coolant. He quickly discovered that I really didn't know what I was doing, so he asked how old my car was and selected the appropriate stuff that he thought would suit, and drew me a little diagram of the cap that I would need to take off and told me to be careful of the steam as I open it. I thanked him and went out into the cold to open my bonnet and sort the car out.  A few minutes later, he came outside to check and see if I was going ok, and to bring me out some paper towels so I didn't get oil everywhere. He checked the levels for me and had a poke around and gave me some advice for the next day. I was very grateful - it was the middle of the night and freezing, and I wouldn't have made it the half an hour drive home without his help.

Likewise when I went to take the car to have her MOT, I had forgotten that I would have to catch a bus back into town. I went to the nearest bank, but they didn't have a cash point and I couldn't use my card at the window. I chatted to the ladies behind the desk and asked how much the bus was and they didn't know, but one of them reached into her purse and handed me £2. It was such a simple thing, but it made my life so much easier that day.

I have so many of those stories where I'm in some kind of difficulty (not always to do with the car) and someone helps me out. Some of those situations have been pretty big, others have just been minor inconveniences, but I'm equally grateful for peoples kindness in any circumstance. It reminds me that most people will rise up to help if you ask, that there is a lot of goodness and kindness in the world - and in these austere times thats no small thing.

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