Small acts of kindness have the biggest impacts.

There is something that can be said for the goodness of people. We don’t really acknowledge it enough I don’t think. We see so much horror, usually from the comfort of our living rooms on our flat screen TVs or our phones, scrolling past news that make our toes curl or our throats catch. Horrendous for the blink of an eye and then forgotten to the category of “too sad to think about”. Yet the goodness? We often walk past it, forget it, ignore it.

A few months ago I wanted to write about a trip I took to a well know conference in London with a very dear friend of mine who is going through a bit of a shit time at the moment. She’s a beautiful human and life is being, well, a bit of a fuckwit to her. My darling friend is disabled and often uses a wheelchair to get about when she is in a lot of pain, she can walk – she often stands up out of the wheelchair, first to quip that she is having a Little Britain moment, and never one to take offense at the misgivings of others (including myself when I don’t reply to her for weeks on end… sorry my beauty.)

I took offense though. I couldn’t help it. Have you ever tried to navigate life with a wheelchair, be it your own or a friend who you are helping? Let me tell you something about it – it brings out all that is sad and disheartening in life right off the screen and into the technicolour that is real life. It sure does. People pushed her out of the way, people pushed in front of her to make it into the lift because they had a vaguely heavy bag. People asked “what’s wrong with you?”, tutted and were just constantly, unapologetically rude. All fucking day.

The most frustrating moment for us was when the concierge at our (ahem, expensive 5 star) hotel asked her “So what’s wrong with you lovely?” and when, instead of going into her medical records and giving him a step by step run down of the bullshittery that is her medical and physical state of affairs, she opted to say “I have a really bad back.” And I SHIT YOU NOT he turned around, muttered “ahh we’ve all got one of those love. Ha, only joking, I bet that’s tough but I wouldn’t mind getting a friend to push me around either.” and left us to get the wheelchair, into the cab. I’d love to say this was an isolated incident, but it is not.

So now I’ve told you the bad, let me tell you what I really started writing this post for as I’m sat sipping coffee in Costa at Chester station waiting to be whisked away to Iceland foods for an event they have put on for influencers to snarffle Christmas grub and learn about more about their range.

A severely disabled man just struggled his way into the incredibly busy Chester station branch in his motorised chair and, amid clucking and tutting from customers who are waiting on delayed trains and getting really frustrated because god dammit they want their gingerbread latte dontcha’ know, proceeded to be served by staff. The staff clearly knew this man, they laughed with him, took their time with him and treated him with the utmost respect. When his order had been fulfilled, one of the staff members came around to serve him his drink, which was in an adult beaker with lid because he couldn’t hold it. The staff member held it for him, wiped his chin for him and all the while chatted to him as if this small act of kindness was nothing.

When he had finished, the member of staff told the man he would see him tomorrow and to have a good day. He made his way out of the café as people blocked his path.

The reason I wanted to share this is because it’s THESE acts of kindness that should have a more lasting impact on us than the bullshit, the unkindness that is so common. It’s these moments where we see someone doing something that should be the norm but so often isn’t, that costs them nothing but has made a fundamental difference to someone’s day – possibly their life. It’s the small things that make a difference and we’re beyond lucky to have the choice of whether those small things are positive or not.

Costa should be really proud of their staff in that shop. Ironically, and I think illustrating my point perfectly, I tweeted them to tell them what I had seen and I had no response – however the complaints are getting the usual replies. Don’t you think it’s time we focused more on the good in life, celebrated the small triumphs?

H 🙂

3 Comments

  1. December 5, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I totally agree with you on this, and I genuinely believe that we should be focusing on the good bits and not just the bad. This post is spot on – we’re doing acts of kindness with our elf on the shelf this year and I love seeing my girl be able to give back to the community

  2. December 5, 2017 / 10:57 am

    Gosh Harriet this is so spot on. I had a similar moment a while back at St Pancras, when someone offered to open the door to the disabled toilet, for a man in a wheelchair. He said “No, I’m fine, but thank you so much for offering,” like it was a surprise to him, like no one ever does that. And I bet that’s the truth. I warbled on about it for good while on my stories, because I was so surprised to see it, and because I felt exactly like this – we need to notice the good people doing the good things, and then we need to become those people. And you know, I think deep down, most of us are those people, we just forget once we’re in our own task-focused little worlds. My daughter has made an advent calendar for herself with the them “choose kind” and I”m loving it. She’s totally forgetting to open her other calendar, with the chocolate, but this one gets opened every day, and has a little instruction behind each door. To let an argument go, to compliment someone today, or to share her school snack with a friend. I bloody love it! We all need to do more of this for others.

    • Harriet December 5, 2017 / 11:43 am

      Thanks Helen – that’s the thing isn’t it, we focus on the bad. Constantly. I adore the sound of your daughter’s calendar. I’m going to do that when the kids are a touch older and can grasp the concept. x

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