Monthly Musing – September 2010 – RAK Ripples
Over the summer holidays, my husband was working in Bradford so my daughters and I went along with him, intending to visit the excellent National Media Museum whilst he was at his meeting. We’d just finished at the car park’s pay and display machine when a lady rushed over, desperate for change as she was taking her little boy to the museum’s cinema and she was running late. Now, it’s a rare day when I ever have any change and whilst I couldn’t change her £20 note, I did have enough money for a parking ticket, so without hesitation I gave it to her. I’d like to think that anyone would. It was £2. Not enough to cause me any great financial hardship, but enough to save her afternoon.
“You’re the kindest person I’ve ever met!” she exclaimed. I very much doubt that, and to be honest, I’d be sad to think it was true, but just being there at the right time with the right change had made all the difference.
It’s what’s known as a Random Act of Kindness (or an Act of Random Kindness if you want a biblical mnemonic!), but I like to think of it as the ripples that spread out from a stone dropped in a pond. The stone is the kind act and the ripples move out to touch people who had nothing to do with the original act but are still affected by it. Who knows how that lady helped someone else that day, happy to pass on a bit of kindness herself?
Of course, Random Acts of Kindness don’t have to be financial. Some relatives came to stay with us from abroad recently and were delighted to discover how close we live to Manchester as it turned out they were huge Coronation Street fans. We happened to mention this to a neighbour who told us that he’d worked on the Coronation Street programme for twenty years and would be happy to talk to our relatives while they were here. Imagine their delight to not only visit the city where the Street is filmed but to talk to a cast member as well – who also happened to have some spare publicity photographs to pass on. He was only able to chat for a short time, but the ripples from the stone he has dropped will extend across the globe and turned our relatives’ visit from a great one to a fabulous one! It cost our neighbour nothing but his time and his kindness, and that’s something that we all have, no matter how much we have to do during the day.
So, when we complain about the state of the world and wonder how it’s ever going to get any better, then I’ve got a simple suggestion. All it takes is one small stone dropped into a pond at a time.