The other day as my bus pulled into it’s stop a father and child got off. The father realizing he had left his shopping got back on the bus to retrieve it. This prompted his child to burst into tears. Another man who had got off at the same place stopped walking away and went to stand with the child. Crouching down to point at the father and tell the child he was coming back. The man stayed until the father returned.
A few days later when walking to work I noticed a broken down car on the side of an A-road. Two men were helping the driver – a youngish woman – to push it into a nearby turning. They then walked off and continued on their day leaving the car and driver in a far safer place than she would have been on a busy road.
Fast forward a week or so and there’s a woman on a carriage on my train. As it pulls into the final station she notices the man beside her slumped in his seat. She tries to wake him up to no avail. She flags down station staff whilst sitting with the old man who appears to have past out.
These are just a handful of examples of everyday kindness I’ve noticed recently. I’m not the only one. Random Acts of Kindness seem to be everywhere. And it’s got me thinking. It made me realize. It reminded of this quote:
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wastedAesop
These small moments are something powerful but often forgotten and overlooked. Perhaps taken for granted or seen as unremarkable. I’ve noticed the everyday kindnesses in the world recently. I’m determined to do it more often.
These moments when a stranger takes time out of their day to lend a hand. To check in with someone. Share a smile or lighten a load. It reminds me that in the face of all the upheaval in the world. All the hate crimes, war crimes and general lack of civility that kindness is still there. Sometimes it’s just a little harder to see.
Kindness isn’t the loudest or the brashest or most assertive characteristic. It’s humble and sometimes quiet. We forget to look for it. Much like many of the people who are it’s biggest champions. We underestimate the importance of living in a kind society. A place where you can be yourself or afford to make a mistake. Knowing that tolerance and empathy (more here) await you. Rather than a sharp word or turned back.
Kindness often hides in the background but it’s more important than ever. As we inch towards a more tolerant and inclusive society this only seems to make the naysayers shout louder.
We need more kind voices, more everyday acts of care and support. It’s not about shouting back but letting our actions speak for us. If we want a better world, we must create a better world. It won’t come from confrontation and political platforms or diatribes. It will come from what we do. The small, overlooked moments we take to support each other and give empathy. Because the impact of thousands or millions of acts of everyday kindness would be undeniable.
Have you noticed everyday kindnesses recently? What are your thoughts?