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(Almost) instant kindness on a train

by Sayraphim on September 29, 2012

The other day I was on the train and a lady got on and sat across from me. She had headphones in and was poking on her MP3 player, and around every 5 seconds she sniffed.

 

It wasn’t that she had been crying, she clearly had a cold.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

I had tissues in my bag and I wondered if I should offer her one. I debated the pro’s and con’s, she might think I was weird, or somehow judgmental.
Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sometimes, when you initiate something in public, you end up trapped in a conversation that you don’t want to be part of, and I worried that might happen too. My tissue packet had also gotten squished in my bag and I was worried that she somehow might think the crumpled tissues I was offering her were actually dirty tissues instead.

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniff.

We were drawing close to my station and I decided No, I was going to do it. I spend hours creating art I leave in the streets as acts of Guerrilla Kindness, it was ridiculous to contemplate I might not do something as easy and an instant moment of kindness here.

So as I got up to leave, I fished my tissues out of my bag and offered them too her. Her face lit up as she broke into the widest smile I’ve seen in weeks and thanked me as she took a tissue. I told her to take a couple if she needed, and so with another smile, she did.

The train doors opened and I walked into the station, feeling a massive warm and fuzzy feeling that I did something nice for someone and it was pretty awesome.

My artwork is clearly changing my outlook on life, and how I view the world and it’s people, which I think is really interesting. I’m now starting to be on the lookout for connections I can help create, and in so strengthening the community. I’m interested in how nice acts help build community, making us less of strangers to be frightened off and more jsut people we don’t know yet. And the nice thing is next time, it’ll be easier to offer, because I’ve already done it once.

Next up, I might even go and introduce myself to the neighbours.

— UPDATE —

 I shared this post on Facebook and a friend of mine, Chad Toprak, shared this story in return…
I did something similar yesterday too! Went to the airport to see a friend off. Once he had left I saw a family taking turns to take photos with their daughter. For a few seconds I hesitated, worried that they might think I’m a weirdo or a thief, or that I would get rejected, but after building my courage I approached them and asked if they would like me to take a photo with all of them together. They were very delighted and I was poured many many thanks and smiles. Best feeling ever!! :)

I’m so pleased other people are out doing nice things for strangers too. Hopefully we all start feeling less disconnected from each other…
Image by mdxi found here 

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