Random acts of kindness

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Mamamia reader Ivy writes: Over the weekend, my sister relayed a story that brought tears to my eyes. It was a timely and powerful reminder of the overwhelming beauty of human kindness. I wanted to share it.

My sister is 29 weeks pregnant. She also confesses to being ‘a little hormonal’ right now. In other words, she can get a bit tired and emotional from time to time.

So when she left home Friday afternoon for some much needed time-out from running around after her beautiful but busy two-year-old – she was feeling a little teary. To top it off, she had just an argument with her partner “over something trivial” and was feeling a little down about it.

On the way to treat herself to a pedicure, she was accosted by a man seeking donations for a well-known charity.

It’s important to note here, that my sister is not very good at saying ‘no’. So much so, that as children, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking on our door, she would stand reading passage after passage from the Bible until one of us managed to stifle our laughter enough to come and rescue her. We would politely tell them we weren’t interested. But, thank you very much.

So, when she was hit up for a donation, she politely, and quite happily, reached into her purse and pulled out a $10 note. Before she could hand it over, though, the man asked if she would donate $25 instead.

Unable to find that elusive word – ‘no’ – my sister handed over $25 before walking away and bursting into tears.

She says it wasn’t the fact she had given money away that had upset her. She was disappointed she hadn’t been able to say no; felt she had somehow been taken advantage of; and already feeling rattled by the earlier argument with her partner, she cried.

She walked further along the street, wiping her tears with the back of her hand, before going into a nearby fruit shop.

Suddenly, a woman got out of her car and walked into the store towards her.

“I just saw you walk past and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” said the stranger, before reaching over and embracing her in the kind of hug normally reserved for a long lost friend.

The woman’s kindness made my sister cry some more. But once she composed herself enough to speak, she thanked the woman and insisted she was fine – that she was just pregnant and hormonal and “being silly.”

The woman went back to her car before returning shortly after.

She handed my sister $35.

“I know you probably don’t need the money,” she said. “But I don’t like seeing you sad. I want you to go and buy some flowers – something nice that will make you happy.”

My sister insisted she could not accept her money, as kind and generous as the offer was.

The woman went on: “My son is currently suffering from depression and I know how important happiness is. I know money doesn’t buy happiness but it would make me really happy if you took it.”

After thrusting the money back and forth for some time, my sister finally accepted the money – blown away by the woman’s kindness and generosity; not to mention the fact that the amount she had just received was exactly $10 more than the amount she had just given away.

My sister believes the woman had not seen her give money to the charity collector and, in any case, could not possibly have seen how much she had given him.

After having her pedicure, my sister went into a nearby shop and bought a silver bracelet.

Engraved are the words: ‘Live… like it’s heaven on earth.’

Have you  found yourself on the receiving end of a random act of kindness?

What do you think?

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