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A simple act of kindness -and paying it forward.

(41 Posts)
Imperfect27 Tue 12-Sep-17 07:10:35

Decades ago I worked as a bank cashier. I enjoyed the customer facing aspect of the ole and was aware that some customers would choose to come to my till for a bit of chatter. One such was an elderly gentleman who I later learned was a French Consulate. When I married, he surprised me by bringing in a gift, handed over in an old crinkled brown paper bag. It contained a delicate bone china rose vase. I was so touched by the kindness from someone relatively unknown to me.

Since then, for some weddings, I have enjoyed giving an unexpected gift, usually a small silver photo frame or something of that ilk for the home. And I always think of that first act of unexpected kindness and the pleasure it brought to me.

Has a simple act of kindness inspired you to do something?

TriciaF Tue 12-Sep-17 11:26:11

The only recent things I can think of are to do with driving.
A few times something has gone wrong when I was out driving and a rough looking French peasant type stopped to help. I gave them a big hug and a kiss (on a hairy cheek grin)
Th french are very helpful and kind if you've got a real problem.A

TriciaF Tue 12-Sep-17 11:27:51

ps - I haven't 'paid it forward' yet but will keep it in mind.

silverlining48 Tue 12-Sep-17 11:43:35

Am wracking my brain imperfect, since i am sure there have been numerous acts of kindness over the years, both given and received. My mind is blank. I am concerned!
I clearly need to de- stress.
Though one kindness i remember, a very long time ago my then new husband and i were on a bus in germany late one saturday night trying to make our way to friends as we had missed our train connection back to the uk. The bus came to the end of its journey miles from our destination and i just burst into tears as my wisdom tooth was infected, i had a sprained ankle and was tired as we had been travelling from south Germany all day. what we thought of as an elderly couple ( probably younger tgan we are now) very kindly invited us to stay With them and hailed a taxi. They took us home and after a good breakfadt the next morning, took us back to the station to catch our train to london. They were so kind and welcoming and we kept in touch for many years until sadly, they died.

kittylester Tue 12-Sep-17 14:21:57

Two things spring to mind.

Once I was in a local supermarket with about £8 of hurried buying. As I came to pay, I realised that I didn't have my purse with me. The lady behind offered to pay, wouldn't give me her name and address to repay her but suggested I do the same sometime. I've done it 2 or 3 times since.

And, in Japan for DS1's wedding, we went to stay in Hiroshima to go to the Peace Park. We caught a bus which we fondly imagined was going in that direction only to find ourselves completely lost. A young couple in the seats in front of us insisted on coming with us on the correct bus and showing us where to get off for the best access. I haven't paid that forward yet.

In fact, apart from my ex DiL, the Japanese people were really lovely, often taking pity on this bewildered looking western couple and pointing us in the right direction.

silverlining48 Tue 12-Sep-17 15:37:58

How interesting that all replies so far relate to foreign countries/people, france, germany, japan. I also appreciate help we have had when driving in europe, some have driven for miles in front of us to direct us onto the right road, and we have done similar for others in the same predicament. Bon voyage! Gute fahrt! ( no sniggering now!)😉

kittylester Tue 12-Sep-17 16:09:25

One of mine was in Budgens in the next village! It's not exactly a foreign country though the people are a bit strange.grin

devongirl Tue 12-Sep-17 16:34:06

I remember crossing the road from supermarket to car and falling headlong in the middle of the road with a bag full of groceries, when going to collect DD from primary school; shopping went flying, and the ground was much harder that I remembered from my younger days confused.

Two ladies picked me up, collected my shopping, got me a bottle of water from the shop, then one of them drove me in her car to the school to pick up my DD and drove me back to my car. I've never forgotten their kindness.

MissAdventure Tue 12-Sep-17 16:48:09

Recently I was hanging around the hospital (oh my exciting life!) and a man wearing a nighty and slippers approached me, asking for money. Everyone he had asked had said "No" and he looked desperate
He explained that the night before, his girlfriend and he had been arguing, when he developed chest pains. He had been taken to hospital, but was now being discharged, except his lady wasn't answering his calls! He only lived walking distance away, but it would mean doing it with his bum hanging out the back of the hospital nighty. I lent him some money for a cab, and he came back some time later and paid me back. Bought be a coffee too!

MissAdventure Tue 12-Sep-17 16:48:46

Not be, me!!

Cherrytree59 Tue 12-Sep-17 17:12:32

Whilst riding pillion in the Los Picos mountains in Northern Spain I Spotted a golden eagle flying right over our heads.
As the road was narrow and winding with a large drop on one side there was no where to stop to take a photo,
So I decided to try and take a picture whilst we were moving.
This involved me removing one of my leather motor bike glove.
Well the inevitable happened
when I went to put my glove back on I realised that I had dropped it.
It was too difficult to go back and I had spares in the pillion bag so we carried on.
When we stopped for fuel at the bottom of the mountain a lady jumped out of her car and ran over.
She handed me my glove!
The Spanish lady had seen me drop it stopped on a very dangerous bit of road to pick up the glove and literally chased us down the mountain with my glove.
All I could do in my limited Spanish was thank her and shake her hand.

Its difficult to think of a similar kindness on my part.
I do remembered being at an airport in Bulgaria when I saw a young girl with her mother.
The girl was covered in mosquito bites and scratching like mad.
I thought it was going to be long uncomfortable journey for the girl.
So asked the mother if it was OK to give her daughter a tube of antihistamine cream (I never travel with out). The mother agreed and the poor girl was got some much needed relief.

kittylester Wed 13-Sep-17 06:39:39

There are of course other sorts of 'paying it forward'.

We live in a thriving and lively village which is only like that because of people who have given their time, money, expertise and goodwill over the years and now our generation are doing the same thing.

I do worry that we have few 'youngsters' coming along to take on the job. We currently have 3 vacancies on the Parish Council with no applicants at all. The youngest person on the Pc is in her mid 50s. sad

TriciaF Wed 13-Sep-17 11:05:52

Good point, Kitty.
Before we came to France I had several volunteer jobs. One was serving meals at a Day Centre for the elderly. Most of the helpers were retired themselves!
In another organisation there were young folks coming forward, but by then there was some govt. funding for helpers and they were paid ( a tiny amount.)
I forgot to mention, on my return flight from Gatwick to Toulouse there was a very lively group of young black Londoners - two of them helped me carry my bags. Poor old woman!
How do I repay that?

Imperfect27 Wed 13-Sep-17 11:25:06

Yes, many ways to 'pay forward.'

I don't think younger generations lack compassion or kindness, but their lives seem so full - perhaps because of the impact / use of social media and social mobility that means people become dislocated from identifying with 'local' community and do not have networks to draw them in to volunteering.

When I was young getting involved in community through volunteering at school and through church seemed to me to be what most people did. Now it is seems to be looked upon as particularly virtuous and to be widely publicised on FB and the like.

I like the concept of 'paying forward' which is to my mind simply 'giving back' really and overall should be a quiet thing.

SueD Wed 13-Sep-17 14:26:13

Many years ago we were holiday img in South Africa and it was a very wet Saturday in Cape Town. We took the tourist bus and ended up in a wonderful fish restaurant where we had a lovely meal. When we went to pay we were told the chap on the next table had paid our bill as he was so concerned about the dreadful weather and wanted to bring some sunshine into our day. How kind was that? I hope that I have repaid his kindness over the years - not by picking up restaurant tabs but generally by doing small things in the community.

MamaCaz Wed 13-Sep-17 14:51:16

When struggling once to find the right change for the metro in Newcastle, when visiting DS2, a total stranger handed us the money we needed. As it turned out, we didn't need it, so gave the lovely young woman her money back (much to her surprise). Nevertheless, grateful for the kindness of a total stranger, I vowed to myself to pass the favour forward and have done similar things myself several times since then, although I can't think of an example off the cuff.

Welshwife Wed 13-Sep-17 15:04:58

I have read about paying back or doing an act of kindness etc several times recently and it came to mind when I was waiting in a queue in a small French supermarket - Spar type shop. The English lady in front of me came to pay for her shopping and when she counted out the money in her purse she was still couple of Euros short. So I just gave the shopkeeper the couple of Euros she was short as she and he were discussing what she should do - seemed the simplest thing at the time. I had never seen this lady before nor have I seen her since.

Breda Wed 13-Sep-17 19:01:07

I have been touched by the kindness of strangers on more than one occasion. In fact when I think about it I have been shown several acts of kindness over the years from people who I had no connection with and whose help made a huge difference to me and my family.

I have always tried to remember those kindnesses and hope that I have managed to help others in similar ways.

Witzend Thu 14-Sep-17 22:28:52

My granny told the story of a tramp who once came to her door, when there still tramps. She gave him something to eat and drink, and an old coat which was rather better than the one he had.
A year or two later he came back - no longer a tramp - to thank her, saying his luck had changed since the day she'd been so kind to him. C

I can't say I was exactly over the moon about it at the time, but on his flight back from a business trip abroad, my dh met an elderly Egyptian lady who was en route to the US, but her onward flight was badly delayed and she told him she had no money for a hotel.
So he brought her home with him. She made herself very much at home, asked what was for dinner, said she wasn't keen, so off we went to Asda for something else. The following day I drove her back to Heathrow for her flight.
She was effusive in her thanks, but I will admit to a sigh of relief, so the kindness was dh's more than mine!

Imperfect27 Fri 15-Sep-17 08:30:53

My father once brought a total stranger home - a Scotsman whom he had met in the pub! He was a young man who had been on a camping holiday with his wife. She was pregnant and needed a hospital stay for a related problem. He stayed with us for a few days and we all went to see his wife in hospital! Months later we received a letter and picture of mum and baby. The memory of that kindness and trust on my father's part really impressed me as a 13 year old and the influence of it has stayed with me.

Nannylovesshopping Fri 15-Sep-17 09:46:57

A while ago was taking roll of floor covering to my beach hut, wedged upright through the roof of my old convertible, had to stop and wait for tide at strood, the heavens opened, I couldn't shut the roof, very kind lady in front of me in very posh land rover got out said she would put Lino in her car, asked where I was going and then transported it, with me following behind down to the beach hut some ten minutes away, she wouldn't take anything for her trouble, I have never forgotten her kindness, she got soaked as well as me!!

Eglantine21 Fri 15-Sep-17 13:51:54

I live in a town where little acts of kindness and courtesy are everyday behaviour. Cars stop to let people across the road with a smile, people hold doors open for each other, let someone with just a couple of items in front of them in the queue, give away the item they don't want in Buy one get one free, are just generally nice to each other. Glad I moved from my snobby village!

Nonnie Fri 15-Sep-17 14:12:11

We were fortunate to move here 8 years ago and find everyone is kind. Even bus drivers let us in, everyone is helpful and kindness is just a given round here. Some of you will know about my recent bereavement and people could not have been kinder, it is just that kind of place.

When I worked in London I dealt with difficult people by killing them with kindness, it usually worked and I got cooperation in a very difficult role. I think if we are kind to others we create kindness in return.

inishowen Sat 16-Sep-17 09:28:33

Two weeks ago we were driving through a village. Hubby pulled in to park and hit the pavement. Our tyre exploded! It was pouring down and we got out and looked in horror at the flat tyre. Then a young man got out of a van and came over. In no time at all he and hubby had changed the tyre. The young man shrugged off our thanks and went back to his van. (This happened in Northern Ireland by the way)

schnackie Sat 16-Sep-17 09:33:57

Two things spring to mind - one was about 15 years ago. I had just finished working a 12 hour night shift (nursing) and rushed to Canterbury to meet a friend who was driving us to Dover to catch a ferry for a day trip to France. I stopped by a cash machine to get £200 and in my tired state, walked away after retrieving my card!!! A teenage boy, maybe 15, came running after me with the cash. I tried to give him £20 but he refused to take it.
Second vivid memory was at a pre-wedding party for my daughter's best friend - since they were 4 years old, so I knew the parents quite well. They had family who had come from Israel and didn't speak English, but as I was at their table, the bride's mother translated every single word that was said for me - not just paraphrasing and expecting me to nod and smile. I was made to feel like part of the family and it was lovely.

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