I’m sure you have heard someone say the words ‘I’v done my good deed for the day’ after helping someone out with a spontaneous and random act of kindness. It’s something that I try to do myself on a regular basis, but I often think, “What if everyone went out of their way to do this?”
I was recently walking from Holland Park station to Notting Hill on a beautiful sunny morning after training with a client nearby. As I approached the top of the hill I saw a women in a small vintage car (I couldn’t tell you what the make or model was), attempting to start the engine with no success. All the other cars were diverting around her and many pedestrians were walking past her without a moments hesitation. I stopped and took a moment to put myself in her position, then I approached her and offered to help, at first she was totally taken aback and then she welcomed my help gladly. I started to push, managing to get the car up the remainder of the hill and to the next turn off, into a safe place.
I couldn’t believe the women’s reaction after, she couldn’t stop thanking me saying, “You are such an angel, thank you so much for helping me.”
The funny thing is, I didn’t feel and still don’t feel like I did anything special, however after thinking about it I realised how often we neglect to help people.
I currently (but not for much longer) work in a retail store and often have many different people and personalities in the store on a daily basis. I am fortunate that the majority of the time people are in high spirits and happy to be there, making my job pretty easy, however every so often this isn’t the case.
I had a customer recently who had, had a bad experience and chose to take it out on me when I approached to ask if she needed any help. She was actually very rude to me, but there was a reason for it which I understood
Most people would have turned their back on her, left her to figure things out herself and be on her way, but instead I made it my mission to try to improve her day. Firstly I let her vent as sometimes this is just necessary, we have all been in the situation where something bad has happened and you just have to tell someone about it. It doesn’t change the outcome but for whatever reason it makes you feel better.
I empathised with her and gave her some valuable advise, finally I got permission to give her a discount on what she was buying as I felt like she deserved it.
It was so fascinating and fulfilling to see her mood instantly change, she was truly grateful and full of thanks, “you have made my day, thank you so much for just understanding”.
Now I am no saint and i’m sure there have been times where I have reacted differently or not at all in similar situations, but looking back through these days it really made me think. Taking the time to show empathy for another person can sometimes feel like a chore, especially if you don’t feel as though that person deserves it, however the instant effect on me of all these scenarios was how good I felt after.
There is so much negativity in this world and so many people going out of their way to be unkind, that I think it’s time we start to act differently. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it can be something small, for example the next time you are out and you see that mother standing at the top of a flight of stairs with a full push chair and people streaming past, stop! Be the person that offers her a hand and makes her day a little bit easier. This small act may not stop a war, but it will definitely bring a smile and they are good for everyone, so I leave you with the words of Ellen Degeneres “Be kind to one another!”