So there I was, wandering along Oxford Street dreaming about the luxury handbags I’d just seen in Selfridges, when I was stopped in my tracks. A woman with her grown up daughter and a young child in a push pram, stopped to give a homeless man a new pair of trainers. They checked they were the right size and he called his thanks to them as they walked off, telling him to look after himself.
I was so struck by this thoughtful act of kindness and compassion that I caught up with the woman and her daughter and asked if I was correct in thinking they had given the man new shoes. They confirmed that they had and said they wished more people would think about the homeless. They didn’t know the man, just saw that he needed new shoes so bought him some. I expressed my admiration and they carried on their way.
This random act of kindness really got to me. In a busy retail street full of shoppers, we often see homeless people sitting on the pavement asking for help. I must admit, I tend to walk by. Not out of heartlessness; I donate every month through charities as I believe they are best placed to allocate money in the right way. I worry if I give it directly to the person that they might use it for drugs or alcohol (extremely short sighted I know; not every homeless person has an addiction).
The thing that touched me was the thoughtfulness of the act. That man needed shoes, having them will make his life a little bit easier, especially as the autumnal weather sets in.
I watched the news for the first time in a few weeks last night – tears falling as I heard about the terrible attacks taking place on hospitals in Aleppo. There are always terrible videos going round on Facebook of animal cruelty. The jungle camps in Calais break my heart. I want to help but I don’t know how. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by it all I just block it out and try to carry on in my own little safe bubble. But that lady and her daughter have inspired me. As well as making donations to charity, I can do something myself too – I’m going back to Oxford Street tomorrow and I’m taking a blanket with me to give to someone who needs it.
Kindness is infectious. I googled when I got home and there are some wonderful examples on The Stylist’s website here. There’s actually a Kindness week in November and a Pay It Forward day in April. But why wait, if you’d like to join in with Random Acts of Kindness, check out this amazing website for ideas -it doesn’t have to be anything major, just something small that makes a difference to someone in some way. Who’s with me? x