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The first time I heard the phrase random act of kindness


I forget where I was coming back from, but I was in a hired, unfamiliar car. My own car had been rear-ended by a white van, the driver of which had “only looked away for a second” just before Christmas. The petrol gauge in the hire car informed me that I had 25 miles left in the tank. Plenty of fuel to get home, and back to the petrol station. Or so I thought.

You see, my own car has a similar gauge that warns me I’m low on fuel – right down until there’s nothing but fumes in the tank. Not so the hired car. It went down to 25 miles left, and then conked out and refused to start again. I had just gone through traffic lights where workmen were busy resurfacing one of the lanes. So I was stationary,in the most inconvenient place, blocking the road, with traffic piling up behind me.

And that’s when I was subjected to the kindness of three strangers.

While irate motorists with no doubt lives more important than mine, and places they desperately had to be honked their horns behind me two workmen came to my aid. Without comment on my embarrassment, or admonishing me for having caused what was now a considerable traffic jam they cheerfully pushed the car over to an adjacent shop’s forecourt, clearing the way for the traffic I had impeded.

As I locked the car and prepared for the walk home a young mother who had witnessed the incident came over and offered to drive me to the petrol station in the next village. I of course, being British, modestly refuse her kind offer, but she was insistent that it would be no bother at all. She also refused offer of payment for her trouble. She had just picked up her child from school and assured me that they had time on their hands. In the end I accepted and she drove me to the petrol station where I purchased a petrol can and a couple of litres of fuel.

On the way back I again pressed her to take some money for her trouble. “No,” she said. “That was my random act of kindness. You can repay me by passing it forward. Carry out a random act of kindness for someone else.”

That was the first time I’d ever heard the phrase “random act of kindness”. And I was impressed by, and grateful for her attitude. I try to pass that lady’s act of kindness forward whenever I can, doing small things to helper cheer strangers, but I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do something big – to spontaneously help someone in trouble. So I still owe that lady. And I will think of her when I finally find myself in a position to repay her fully.

About the author

Martyn Davies is a founder of Kudofeed. His aim is change the daily lives of as many people as possible by unearthing and curating as many uplifting stories of human kindness and courage as he can find, on a daily basis.

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