I know someone who is having a really hard time right now.
Stressed, nervous, rejected, worried, sleepless.
I decided to help this person, not someone I know well, in some ways that I could. For instance, an introduction that could be helpful, and an invitation out to clear his head.
He was grateful but also - suspicious.
Why are you helping me? he asks.
I wondered, is kindness so rare that there needs to be a reason? And if so, how horrible.
Well because you seem to be going through a lot and I thought I could help a little.
Ok, he smiled wearily.
I suppose there are many reasons to wonder why people are being nice, to think humanity and kindness are lost . Sometimes, I think so too a when I get hit by a bag of a man who does not say sorry. When the door is slammed in your face in the metro because the person in front does not bother to hold it open. When I see the Romanian girl grow from a child to a teenager sitting by the same wall with her mother, asking for money. She is trafficked here, I am sure. And she has no future, and it is deep and dreadful. And I don't know what to do
But then there is also so much hope and joy. People who pick up your scarf that you dropped by accident on the train. 60 year old daughters dotting on their 86 year old fathers, honouring and adoring him. Unexpected smiles from children. Head rubs for Charlie from strangers.
We should do random acts of kindness as often as we can. Of this I am sure. Without thought of what is in return. Just the peace of having done some good in this world.
Why are you helping me?
Well...Because I can.
Because you are human.
And because our humanity binds us all.