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Gob-smacked

Today, I’m worrying about the state of the world, because of a lady’s kindness.

Yesterday my wife and I were on a train, bound for Barcelona, when she had a coughing fit, a bad one, the kind that makes your face go puce and wonder if your lungs are coming up. And I was helpless. There was nothing I could do but hold her hand and make sure she had water to sip, when she could. The guy in the seat in front, he was pissed off , for sure. Well wouldn’t you be? There  you are, listening to Europop on your iPod, and you can hardly hear it for some bloody woman. He looked around, and had the good sense to look away again. I was not at my best, that was for sure.

Then a quiet voice, unexpectedly English, said to me, ‘Give her this. It’s lavender, and it will ease her breathing,’ as she handed me a tissue that she’d soaked from a small bottle. She was right; it worked, the paroxysm passed over and the rest of the journey was calm. We both thanked her as we all got off the train at Passeig de Gracia, but she simply smiled and went on her way. I have no idea who she was, and there isn’t a cat’s chance in Butch’s kennel that I’ll ever find out, but on the off-chance, if anyone does know a tall, slim auburn-haired lady who caught the Medio Distancia from Flaça to Barcelona yesterday morning, please put me in touch with her, as Eileen and I would like to send her something in return.

So why am I worried about the state of the world? It’s because such a simple, kind, personal gesture from one stranger to another has become such a rarity that when it happens, it’s both astonishing and moving. Would I have done something similar? Before yesterday, I’m not sure; today, I’d like to think so.  So thanks again, Ms Whoever-you-are. We need more like you.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Alison
    June 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Every now and then I have this habit of buying a homeless person a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie – hot chocolate in the winter – because I maintain it’s safer and more sensible than giving them money. Once a lady chased me halfway across a bridge to say what a nice thing she thought that was (that was the day I slipped on black ice and split my skull open – not much in the way of karma then). The other week when I did the same thing, some bloke walking past called me a “f*****g mug”. Simple kindness is an unusal thing, but maybe the reaction of people around you may have some bearing on that.

  2. Fiona
    June 29, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Alison I agree with you I always make a point of buying the Big Issue as I feel these sellers are making a effort to sort their life out. I also believe that everyone should do at least one random act of kindness everyday. Not sure where the phrase comes from but I heard it and thought it was a good idea. Mr Jardin I hope you manage to track down your helping angel. If not, acknowledge her kindness by performing your own random act of kindness to a stranger. Believe it or not even a simple smile can cheer someones day up.

    Fiona

  3. Aileen
    June 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    So sorry for Eileen’s problem on the train.I’ll always remember going

    up the escalator in Jenners when I had a bad coughing fit. Two ladies ahead of me tirned and told me to stop smoking and I’d be much better. Having never smoked in my life, my asthma attack immediately worsened and I cried my eyes out. I wish the world was a more caring place, but there are so few people who care about others. Hope all is well soon

    • June 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Cheers, Aileen. Things are under control. Don’t hurry home; it’s shaping up to be a classic east coast summer.

  4. Kitty
    July 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    nice to note there are still some helpful & considerate people around.I’ve often given people a few pennies to complete a purchase in shops saying to them i hope they can do the same favour to others by way of thanks but you don’t half get some odd looks when you offer them

  5. Joy
    July 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I suspect Q that you are not too impressed by Rotary, but dare I suggest on here that those who are wanting to help others can do it by joining Rotary – helping in your own community, nationally and internationally. Thanks to the organisation Polio has nearly been eradicated in the world, not only by raising funds, but by members going out to help with adminstration of the vaccine. The Selkirk Club gave £1,000 to STV Children’s Appeal and is helping in local schools to encourage other youngsters to help in the community. They are not all old men in grey suits (the perceived image) – young men and women of all creeds are welcome and can now even ‘try it out’ as an associate member. Anyone interested can find a local club by going to http://www.ribi.org.

  6. July 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t know why you should suspect that. I’ve spoken to a few Rotary Clubs over the years.

  7. Joy
    July 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Perhaps I detected a little cynicism when you have mentioned them in Skinner books?

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