kindness matters

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spotted when i was in New Haven a few weeks ago

 

Today was quite a strange day. Eventful, but strange. I’m at home now, recounting today’s activities and there seems to be the overarching message of kindness. I just had to blog to share with you.

Today began like a normal Saturday. I woke up later than I planned to, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, the usual. I had an adventure planned for the hours ahead. This whole week, I was looking forward to visiting Wave Hill, a public garden(details on that later) located all the way up in the Bronx, on 252nd street to be exact. I’ve never been up that far before, so I google mapped for directions. It turns out that although I could take the 1 train, taking the BxM1 bus would’ve been smoother. So I waited at the stop and when it arrived, I stepped in, said hello to the driver and swiped my metro card.

He says to me, “Your card didn’t work.”

“But it’s an unlimited card.”

“Unlimited cards don’t work on express buses,” he explains. I usually don’t take the bus, so I didn’t know. I was proud that I could even find the bus stop!

I ask him how much it would cost. “$6” he says. Oh crap. I didn’t have any cash on me. I rarely carry cash unless I know I need to. It’s a habit I knew would eventually bite me in situations like this.

I asked him what I should do as I slowly motioned towards the door.

By this time, he couldn’t just stay idle on the road so he kept driving and said to me, “I’ll let you go this time as a courtesy.”

Surprised by his kindness, I thanked him and found a seat. The whole bus ride I was just so humbled by his gesture. He didn’t even say it with a tinge of attitude. I was so grateful. My adventure could’ve ended before it even began!

When I got to my destination, I thanked him again and wished him a good day. I made a mental note to pass along the act of kindness whenever I could.

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When I finally got to Wave Hill, my heart jumped. I was so excited to be there, adequately dressed for the cold and my battery still charged. I got to the entrance and was met by a guard. I greeted him and asked if this is where I paid admission. He said yes. I asked if he accepted card (I had just missed the free Target hours of admission) and he answered “Yes, we accept credit card, debit card, cash- you can even write a check!”

“Phew! I told him” and took out my card ready to swipe.

He brought out the credit card device and swiped, only to report that it was not working.

Oh boy, not again I thought. “Sir, I’m sorry. I don’t have cash. Do you want to jot down my information and charge me later?”

He glanced at the other guard directing the cars coming in to park, and says to me “It’s ok. You can go this time. You just missed the free hours anyway.”

Once again, I was shocked by his kindness. He could’ve easily shut me down.

I shook my head in disbelief (I’m usually not this lucky) as I walked past the gate and was greeted by autumn leaves and green grass. The first adventure was a success.

Throughout the rest of the day, I experienced other small acts of kindness. A jam-packed shuttle bus filled with strangers, squeezing me in to accommodate me for the ride back to the subway. A full restaurant pulling aside and setting up a table for me. A group of friends allowing me to join their adventure since we were headed to the same place. Them asking if I’d like to join them for a meal afterwards. The list goes on.

Needless to say, I had such a fun day. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell you about it.

On my way home I was waiting for the subway (for quite some time) so I took out my book to pass the time. Finally, I could hear the subway approaching in the distance so I finished up my sentence, pulling out my bookmark. All of a sudden, I hear people screaming and yelling, pointing to my left, down at the tracks. A young man had jumped into the middle of the tracks, standing, waiting, asking for the train to hit him as it zoomed closer and closer. Everyone was frantic: some ran back up the stairs to shield their eyes, others gripped their loved ones, I turned around not knowing what to do, not wanting to watch.

We all thought the dreaded moment was going to happen when thankfully, the train came to a halt, just about 50 feet away from the guy. Bystanders nearest to him, pulled him out and held him back, in case he would jump out again. He was obviously not in his right mind. He wasn’t scared at all. I am haunted by the numb expression on his face as he watched the train come closer.

The train was able to park into the station for everyone to ride the train and carry on with its route. I still had my hand covering my mouth in shock when I got on. The people on the train had no idea what had just happened whereas I was forever changed.

After witnessing such an event, after today’s events, I have this to say:

Please 1) seek help if you’re hurting-do whatever it takes to get yourself out of numbness and darkness. Keep things in perspective. Talk about it. Expand your mind. Stay away from the yellow platform edges. Look before crossing. Take care of yourself. Be safe. Stay warm. As we get deeper into winter, it becomes even easier to be affected by the weather. Depression is already quite widespread. Loneliness even more. Take care of your wellbeing. You matter.

2) Be kind to people for you never know what battles they are facing. Say hello. Say Thank you. Smile. Compliment. Be genuine. Be positive (i’m still working on that everyday).

3) Receive kindness, give kindness. Continue the cycle of doing well and doing good.

I’m reminded of this wonderful video that I saw many years ago.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwAYpLVyeFU&w=560&h=315]

Blog posts on my adventures to come.

You can always see what I’m up to via instagram and/or….

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“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”—Bob Kerrey (1943)

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