Kindness is one thing I have always associated with Kate. I imagine her being one of the first people to help someone in the street if they needed it, the first person to lend someone a few coins if they couldn’t afford a morning coffee that day, and three things have struck me over the past few weeks making me realise just how easy it is to emulate this kindness and make someone’s day just that little bit easier than it would have been.
#1 I went into Starbucks for my obligatory Tuesday Starbucks-run to find six empty cups sitting on the counter. At first, I thought nothing of it, thinking they were just cups for the people in front of me. As I got towards the till to order mine, I looked at a small sign that was sat on the counter, talking about ‘Suspended Coffees’. The idea was simple, and not limited to Starbucks – when you pay for your coffee, you can pay for a second, if you want, so that someone else who can’t afford it themselves can have one, and what struck me even more was that when I went to research what this ‘Suspended Coffee’ thing was all about later on when I was sat down, I learnt that there is no proof needed to claim one of these coffees, it simply relies on good faith.
#2 A friend of mine who I get the bus with couldn’t find his money to pay for the bus, so the bus driver let him on for free, as long as he promised to pay him later on when he’d found the money he knew he had somewhere on him. When he sat down, he asked my other friend if she had any spare money which she didn’t, and instead of waiting for him to ask me, I simply offered up enough money to cover a return ticket for him – money that I would just otherwise have spent on junk food for myself that I don’t need. To cut a long story short, he didn’t even need the money in the end as he found his wallet but the thing that struck a chord with me was that I just offered up my own money, which is something that I never usually do, and it made me feel good.
#3 Walking into town, the bin men were out in force doing their job when as I walked past, two of them said ‘good morning’ to me. It was a lovely, sunny, warm day, they didn’t have to say good morning, I’ve never seen them before, it was simply a nice thing to do, and it set me off on a good day simply because they’d said it.
I later sought out two quotes that I’d been told many moons ago – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” – apparently from Plato’s mind, but then also allegedly not, and “you can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him” – Malcolm S. Forbes (again, no one really knows).
It doesn’t always take effort to be kind – simple things like holding a door open can help that person behind you immensely when he’s carrying a briefcase plus several other folders full of paper, and is on the phone trying to reorganise a morning meeting because traffic made him late. Sometimes though, it takes a little bit more effort – why should you let that person in front of you in the race to get off the train, you’re in just as much of a rush as him? From now on, I vow to ask myself in those situations, just what would Kate do? Nine times out of ten, she’d probably let them go ahead of her.