In today’s busy society where we lead such fast paced lives forever rushing from one commitment to the next I’m often reminded of the kindness that still exists in people. It’s a privilege to be part of a community where people still take time out of their busy schedules to stop and help others. I see it often – from random strangers who stop to pick something up that an elderly person had dropped and then run to them to hand it over, to another who picked up an envelope filled with a teams’s entire season’s umpiring money in the car park at our local netball grounds and handed it in at the office, ready to be claimed by whomever had lost it (which happened to be me, a few years ago), to volunteers in many different capacities who give of their time freely without any expectation of receiving anything in return – and it’s a reminder that in life it’s more important to have compassion and be an active member of our community than just always minding our own business and excluding ourselves from the world around us. Sometimes it’s good to give a little of ourselves.
I was very fortunate a little while back to be at the receiving end of some kindness extended to me from a stranger. It was a Saturday afternoon just after lunch and Child No 3 had taken a bad fall during her netball match and we had to go to Princess Margaret (Children’s) Hospital for an x-ray. The first car park I went to and where I managed to find the last available parking bay the meter only accepted coins and I had no coins with me at all. Since parking around that hospital isn’t in ample supply and I had with me a child who was clearly in some pain I very nearly started panicking. I went back to the car and frantically started strip searching it for any coins that might miraculously appear, but of course none did and all the while my poor child is putting on a brave face but at the same time gingerly holding the injured wrist close. After phoning my husband irrationally hoping he’d offer to come from home (20km away) and pay for the parking whilst I took Child No 3 in to the Emergency ward he assured me that the other (main) car park’s meters definitely accept credit cards so I apologised to my poor girl for not yet having got her to the hospital, got back in the car and we drove to the other car park, only to discover that that meter only accepted coins. As well. Desperation set in because finding alternative parking was out of the question, so I marched up to the first unsuspecting stranger that appeared and asked her if she would mind giving me $2 for parking since I didn’t have any coins with me and I needed to get my daughter to the hospital with a suspected wrist fracture. She immediately got $2 from her purse and handed it to me without hesitation and said she would have given me her ticket but for the fact that she has a two-week ticket, which means the poor kind lady has to visit the children’s hospital every day for two weeks (clearly with a child who is unwell) but still found the kindness in her heart to help me out.
I have to add that shortly after we went into the Emergency ward, Child No 1 appeared with some coins in hand, having been sent by his dad to help us out and although we didn’t need the money any more at that point his surprise appearance did cheer Child No 3 up a bit. Even though I’d thanked the kind lady for the $2 she gave me I’ll probably never be able to repay the favour she did me that day – the further stress she saved me from and enabling me to get my child medical attention much quicker than what would otherwise have been the case – as the kindness was worth much more than $2. Thank you kind lady, I hope your child is also better now.