I don’t mean to get all Dionne Warwick on you, but I’d say a decent helping of love is EXACTLY what the world needs right now.
There are lots of people feeling really upset and shocked about what’s happened this year and massively fearful about the future. Myself included. The people of America have elected a velutinous kumquat as their president, there’s the ongoing shitshow that is Brexit, we’ve seen people demonstrate abhorrent attitudes towards people fleeing war zones. I could go on. What has taken place is incredibly complicated, but I think it all boils down to this:
People are not being nice to each other.
I know this is a bit simplistic, even a little naïve, but isn’t that it? Racism, sexism, homophobia, war. Put simply, it’s people not trying to see things from others’ perspectives and not being nice to each other. When we worry about the future, we’re worrying that people won’t be nice, and they’ll make unfair decisions that make peoples’ lives worse.
The purpose of this post is to show that while people can be lots of things – horrible, rude, thoughtless, hateful – they can also be wonderful. FEEL-GOOD FACTOR ALERT: I’m about to talk about the kindness of strangers.
I am a real-life version of Dory the fish and not in a cute way. I’ve written off two cars. I fell down the stairs on my friend’s hen do, and sequelled this with a dramatic tumble down a medieval staircase during her wedding. While working as a waitress I once caused a small fire.
I’m also really forgetful and have a tendency to put things down, get distracted and then walk away leaving the item unattended.
When this happens, 99.9 per cent of the time, I get the item back and this is purely thanks to the kindness of complete strangers.
I think returning a lost item is a really selfless, gesture of goodness. They often remain anonymous and get no credit whatsoever. They don’t know me, and therefore they don’t really care about me, yet they’ve put themselves out because I’m in need of help.
Sometimes it might just be handing the item in to a lost property desk, but other times, they’ve had to find an envelope, pay for a stamp and take it to the Post Office – i.e. one of the WORST places a human being has to go. (Don’t get me started on the Post Office). These little acts of generosity never fail to cheer me up and are enough to fill me with hope and optimism about the future – people can be lovely.
It occurred to me, that those who don’t lose stuff all the time might never realise how many nice people there are in the world.
Here’s an example for you.
Last year while I was on a trip to Toronto, I arrived back to my hotel room to find a small, intriguing brown parcel waiting for me on the table. It had my name handwritten on the front in marker pen.
Who had sent me a present, all the way in Canada? I don’t know anyone here!
I ripped open the packaging and saw inside my travel diary. This diary, has been to Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, France, Poland, Costa Rica and Canada. I hadn’t realised, but earlier that day I’d put my little black moleskine down on a bench, and walked away from it.
Tucked into the first page of my book, was a little map of Toronto, with a cross marked on it in biro and a note saying ‘you left your diary here!’
THIS PERSON HAD TAKEN A FERRY, FOUND THEIR WAY TO MY HOTEL AND WALKED UP 30 STEPS TO RETURN MY DIARY TO ME!
To summarise, all is not lost. Just because there are horrible people, doesn’t mean EVERYONE is horrible. I’m at risk of starting to sound like some kind of Jesus Christ, Bob Geldof care bear here so I’m going to wrap things up. Just, be nice everyone.