Sunday, November 27, 2005

Random Acts Of Kindness

We bloggers usually tend to write about events and issues that bother us, after all blogging is a type of activism. However it also pays to realize there's lots of good people in this world, and a lot of kind acts that go unreported.

The Toronto Star runs a regular issue of Random Acts of Kindness (registration may be required). I make it a point to read the submissions on a daily basis. It makes me feel good that such great people live in this city I call home.

Some of the incidents described are totally out-of-character with the supposedly materialistic world we live in today, such as strangers helping you out if you don't have enough cash at the checkout. Others are cute, for example:
This story goes back to the days when I was a university student in Toronto. I lived in a dormitory and preparing for my first job interview, scrambling to have my suit washed and my shirt and pants ironed, just get everything in order.

It turned into a big mess, because I didn't know how to iron anything. I fumbled around with the iron in the TV lounge, making a fool of myself and then one of my floormates came in and asked if I needed help.

We had rarely spoken except for the occasional nod and smile. She quickly took care of the ironing. Her kindness really helped me out and that day I was given the job through that interview. In May of this year I will be celebrating my 30th year with the engineering firm. And Phyllis and I will be celebrating our 28th anniversary. That girl who helped me out became my wife - and yes, I did learn to do my own ironing.

Others are about strangers helping out strangers during a sudden winter snowstorm. On a sidenote, I find people here very cheerful and helpful to others in the winter more than summer. Perhaps the realization that everyone is at the sudden mercy of the cruel weather has something to do with that. There are also stories about people returning lost items, helping blind people, and so on.

Here I would like to share my own Random Act of Kindness story in this Thanksgiving (US) Weekend. It's not a big event, nor is it profound, but it still remains with me.

It was just a few days after I got my first car. It was during my third year at the university, it was February, and I was desperately looking for a meaningful job for the summer ahead. I had my license for sometime, but had avoided driving the highways. However, one day I was really late for an interview, and had no choice but to get on the freeway.

I was on the DVP northbound, when I took the ramp to 401 eastbound. It was snowing, and visibility was very poor. Unfortunately the lane on the ramp I was on was closed off at the end - I didn't know. I came to a shuddering halt, and remained stuck on that lane. Cars whizzed by on the lane beside me, however I had neither the courage nor the skills to cut in and enter the lane.

It was then another car on that lane slowed down, tooted the horn and flashed his headlights. I cut in and drove off.

It was a small gesture, a driver pausing to let another cut in. To this date, however, that gesture has remained with me. Whenever I drive, and I see a driver waiting to cut in, I remember that fellow and let the driver in. If some driver rudely cuts me off or goes extra slow on the fast lane, I remember that not all drivers are jerks and remind myself of that fellow.



Salam Dhaka said...

Nice writing Mezba. I have been in Toronto a few times, nice place.

I have a blog too, mostly political stuff regarding Bangladesh.

goBgoB said...

hey i read that entry too. i'm a sucker for happily-ever-after stories so this one, especially, did it for me! :D

one of my pet peeves is when people see you're walking towards the elevator and don't hold it for you. as a result, I always make it a point to hold it for people.

mezba said...

Salaam Dhaka: Thanks for visiting.

Ipshi: Yes that's a common peeve. The other is people getting on the bus and standing in front, when there's ample room at the back. I always try to move as back as possible.

Shabina said...

I also always try to hold the elevator open for people...but sometimes I have hand-eye coordination troubles, and I press "door close" instead... :/