On The Kindness of Strangers
The world can be an ugly place and it feels like it’s getting uglier with all the hatred that is on display lately. Sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed by the heaviness of it all that I question if there’s any goodness in human beings. Thankfully, I am reminded that there is through the kindness, generosity and love I have been fortunate to experience over the years.
2017 has been a tough year for me but I wanted to end the year with gratitude. It’s easy for people that know you and love you to be kind to you, but another thing all together for strangers to go out of their way for you. I want to share some stories of kindness I experienced from strangers this year that made 2017 less terrible. I don’t know these people and I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again, but I am so grateful. Thank you!
1. I forgot my wallet
I was having a rather stressful morning as I had an unexpected meeting that I could not miss. I basically ran out of the house and thought I’d done really well time wise considering the short notice I’d been given. Just when I was starting to relax, the conductor started making his way to me and I realized, when I reached into my bag, that I hadn’t carried my wallet. My bag can be a blackhole so I pretty much emptied it on my lap but it made no difference. At this point, it was already too late to alight as we were getting into the CBD.
Just when I was wondering if the conductor would agree to MPesa, a lady old enough to be my mother handed me a 100 bob note. I gave the money to the conductor and after thanking the lady, I asked her for her number so I could MPesa the money back to her. She would not have it and was even slightly annoyed that I had asked. She told me I reminded her of her daughter, wished me a good day and alighted. I let the conductor keep the change as my little way of paying her kindness forward.
2. My shoe sank
I love my city Nairobi but truth be told, Nairobi can be ugly when it rains. It gets especially bad when you’re a pedestrian and the city is flooding. I was unfortunately, caught up in one of those thunderstorms that turns Nairobi into a river and leaves it at a standstill for hours. By the time I got close to home, it was well past 9pm yet I had started making my way at 5pm. The road to the house was flooded and I had to wade through muddy water. Luckily, I had a dress on so I just lifted it up a little and tried to keep my mind off what exactly was in the water that I was wading in. I tripped on something and in the struggle in trying to keep my balance, one of my shoes slipped off.
After about 5 minutes trying to find my shoe, phone flashlight on and everything, I was ready to give up and hobble home with one shoe. This man came up from behind me and asked what I was doing and I cautiously explained. To my surprise, he dipped his hands into the muddy water and looked for my shoe. When he found the shoe, he cleaned it as best as he could and handed it to me, helped me navigate to a shallower place to wade through and then bid me good night. That act of kindness made me forget what a stressful evening I had just had.
3. I left my phone in a bus
I alighted a bus in hurlingham and started walking down Chaka road for a meeting I had there. All of a sudden, I heard someone shouting, ”Madam, madam!” I turned to look and there was a man standing at the stage, waving frantically. I figured there’s no way he was waving at me because I did not know him and kept walking, increasing my pace as the shouting was a little annoying.
The shouting did not stop and when I turned to look back, there was the man running and waving. I looked ahead and there was no one else there so I started to wonder if I was the madam he was referring to. I panicked as I went over the reasons as to why a strange man would be shouting and running towards me. Just to be on the safe side, I stood next to a nearby residential gate and waited for him to catch up. To my surprise, he handed me my phone. Apparently, I had left it on the bus seat after alighting. He had gotten on after me and realizing what had happened, opted to alight and give me my phone. I was incredibly grateful and offered to buy him lunch but he declined and made a joke about how I was fast walker and should share my secret. He was then off without another word.
There are so many stories of strangers who have been kind to us and I would love to know some of yours. Share them with me in the comments section and I will reward 5 of the best with Ksh 1000 each worth of airtime courtesy of Safaricom. Follow the conversation online on #Twaweza and #OneGoodThing
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