Random Acts of Kindness

Did someone just make your day because that person did something nice for you? If you like that feeling, how about doing something nice for someone, even if it’s someone you don’t know. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Even something small would be appreciated and remembered.

The easiest is to pay someone a compliment. I once received a nice one from a stranger, a lady who walked up to me at Kinokuniya to compliment me on my dress. It didn’t take much effort on her part but she made my day.

David once complimented a lady at a restaurant on how well-behaved her pre-school daughter was. He says, “My oh my, did she beam with pride after that… it felt really good on my part to make a total stranger feel good about herself (and her kid).” Well David, mothers love it when you praise their kids. And it was nice of you to let her know she’s doing a great job.

Once in awhile, I share my umbrella with strangers. I would still do it even though one incident left me feeling “why bother?”. It was raining and I was waiting at the traffic lights at Bukit Bintang. Seeing that a girl was getting wet, I stood next to her and held my umbrella over her. She just stood there, didn’t even say thanks or acknowledge me. I even crossed the road with her!

The next time I sheltered someone was at the traffic lights in front of my condo. This time, I got a warmer response. It was a visiting family member of a neighbour I don’t know. He thanked me and would always say “hi” to me whenever we bumped into each other.

I also make it a point to always warn to people when I see their bags (especially backpacks) unzipped. I remember when I didn’t many years ago, I got pick-pocketed not long after. Karma?

One of the best acts of kindness I’ve come across is of my friend Julian. This is his story:

“It was Thaipusam eve and I made a u-turn on MRR2 because Batu Caves was jammed up and I was low on fuel. At the petrol kiosk, an Indian guy came up and asked to borrow my handphone. I was a bit hesitant but I did anyway. He wanted to call a friend to help him with his punctured bike tire. He couldn’t get his friend so he called a tire repair guy. I  heard him haggling over the price because he didn’t have enough money. He agreed anyway. I asked him how much more he needed and gave it to him although it was the last note in my wallet.”

Julian, I admire you for taking a chance on him, what with all the horror stories we hear of nasty people preying on good Samaritans.

Julian’s story reminds me of an incident that happened in Kuching when I was a little kid. My Dad and I were on his bike back from midnight mass (Christmas). Halfway home, his bike ran out of petrol. This was back in the days when there were no 24-hour stations. The road was deserted (this was in the 80s).

Then a group of young bikers who were passing by stopped to see what was going on. I thought, mati lah. It was just me and my Dad and the nearby graveyard.

After finding out what was wrong, they offered their petrol. Using a hose (I think Daddy found it at a nearby mechanic shop) and the styrofoam ‘bowl’ from his helmet, he sucked out the petrol to transfer it from their tanks. Thanks to those boys, we made it back home. Their kindness was an unexpected Christmas gift.

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