The gift of time

Donna (not her real name) is unwell and facing a major operation. When the time comes, it will require several weeks off work to recover. Although Donna is a private person and has not made her situation public, someone in her workplace found out about it. This kind-hearted individual approached the HR department and asked if it would be possible to donate her own unused sick leave for Donna to use. This kind offer was agreed to and arrangements were discreetly made.

The giver remains anonymous, but Donna now has one less worry ahead of her at this stressful time.

Another lost wallet returned

Recently, while driving, flatmates Chantell and Gerri spotted a wallet lying in the middle of a busy road. They braved the traffic to rescue it, which included chasing paper money being blown down the street in the wind. The wallet contained a driver’s license, but no address. What to do?

Luckily there was a hairdresser’s appointment card, so Chantell rang the salon and explained the situation. The hairdresser gave her the customer’s phone number, and the wallet was able to be returned to its owner. Now there’s a good deed that took an extra dose of courage and ingenuity!

An honest stranger

Tony writes that he had just scrapped his car and got $200 cash for it. An hour later he couldn’t find the cash. He backtracked and asked at the Post Office, where the teller told him that an Indian lady had found it and handed it in to a shop across the road. Relieved to get the money back, he sent the finder a bunch of flowers and a thank you card. Big smiles all round. 🙂

Another Finder’s Kindness Story

This morning a work colleague came around searching for her phone. She wasn’t sure whether she had left it at work, or placed it on top of her car before she drove away. We looked everywhere and I phoned her number, but to no avail.

A couple of hours later she texted me to say she had her phone back. She had indeed driven off with it on her roof and it had ended up on the side of the road a couple of hundred metres away. A kind passer-by had spotted it and was about to hand it into the police when my colleague rang the number. This kind stranger really made her day.

A bad day?

Today, after taking a client to a medical centre with a workmate, I came home and couldn’t find my bag. I searched all over the place, then from the work phone I called my colleague (who was on his way home) to see if he had seen it. He hadn’t.

My keys and phone were in my bag, so I was locked out of my flat, and couldn’t text anyone. It was afternoon and I was hungry. This looked like being one of those days.

But my work colleague offered to take a detour via the medical centre to see if my bag was there. While I waited I was able to pop into the house next door, where two lovely ladies entertained me with conversation and gave me tea and Christmas cake. I used their phone to contact the medical centre, who confirmed that they had the bag and were just handing it to my workmate.

I am extremely grateful to the people who turned a potentially bad day into an experience of receiving kindness.

Kindness is all around

I have been in my current job and geographical location for a year, so have got to know a few people but not made a lot of close friends. Recently I have been suffering from overwork and found myself feeling very low in energy and enthusiasm. Part of the stress involved the fact that I live at work.

To my surprise and delight, a number of people immediately offered help and support. One person offered a couple of relaxing reflexology sessions and the use of her flat on my days off. Another person, whom I hadn’t even met, offered a weekend in her caravan at the beach whenever I like. Another said I could use her lovely home while she was at work. It seems some people talked amongst themselves about how they might help, and someone arranged to take me out and let me talk if I wanted to. Today another person offered me a place to house sit over Christmas.

Someone else came in to work on her day off so that I wouldn’t have to. And several people keep putting on a mock commanding tone as they tell me bossily to stop working so hard.

I could easily have dismissed these offers and continued to feel sorry for myself, but I choose to be deeply grateful to all those people who have shown that they care.

And here are some more random acts of kindness in photo form:

A trip to the beach

After deciding that it would be best to give the orphanage children experiences rather than material things, I put forward the idea of taking the kids to the beach during the school holidays. The idea was well received, but of course, not knowing my way around here, I had to rely on Madame Rose and the other staff to take care of the details for me. We set the date for Friday. Rita from the tuck shop said she could organise transport and I was given a list of ingredients to buy at the market for the cooked lunch we were to take with us.

Rose from the hostel came with me to the market at 7am on the Friday, which was a big help, especially when it came to buying the fish. Most fish is sold whole and smoked, often very black and wafting malodorously through the marketplace. But Rose took me to a place where they sold fresh frozen fish, which was pulled out of a freezer with bare hands and weighed on a scale that had already been used to weigh various fishes and meats that morning, without the benefit of protective barriers. I also bought 15 cups of rice, some onions, tomato paste, stock cubes and curry powder.

When I got to the orphanage, people were just getting up in the most leisurely fashion, and someone was beginning to cook the morning meal. Rita was sent to buy charcoal to cook the lunch and others were sent to get drinking water to take with us. Meanwhile I bathed and dressed the small children. Then there was a relaxed breakfast, by which time it was 11am – the time I had thought we’d be arriving at the beach! But this was Africa time, so I had to be patient.

The fish were cut up into pieces – heads, tails, bones and all, and deep fried in oil, and a sauce of tomato and onion was prepared while the rice was cooked in another pot. When all was ready, at about 1.30pm, the driver was called. He arrived a half hour later and another half hour was spent loading up the van.

I had imagined a large coach or 2 or 3 minivans, but just the one van arrived. The loading up process reminded me of those Guinness World Record attempts to pack as many people as possible into a mini. Everybody sitting on a seat had someone sitting on their lap, children were wedged in behind the driver’s seat and the big pots of food and drink were loaded in the back and held in place by the half-open back door that was tied down with ropes. Forty men, women, children and babies and their luggage somehow squeezed into that van.

The 40 minute trip was interrupted by a flat tyre just before we got there, so we all piled out while the driver changed the wheel. We finally got to the beach at about 3pm.

For the next 3 hours everybody ran around on the sand and splashed in the sea, laughing and yelling. Some of the little ones were initially scared of the water but eventually most of them were laughing as the waves splashed their toes. I took lots of photos of everyone having so much fun (they will be on FB tomorrow).

After an hour or so, the food was brought out and served in bowls on the sand. Then it was back to the water again for more fun. At 7pm the driver returned to take everyone home. I was staying at the beach for the weekend, so I watched as they all squeezed in the van again and I waved goodbye as they set off, all waving and calling out ‘thank you’.

This trip was made possible by the money that people so generously gave for the orphanage water. The balance after paying the water bill has been used for nappies, school chairs, towels, textbooks and pencils, and now this beach trip. Thank you so much to all of you who made this possible. It’s a memory I will treasure for a lifetime, as I’m sure the children will too.

Well wishers

Recently I found out that the water at the orphanage where I’m working was to be cut off. They have one tap, which is fed from a pipe connected to a well some distance away. The water is metered, and is expensive because of the length of the pipe. The orphanage was in arrears to the tune of about NZ$380.

I was there when the lady from the Water Board arrived and I persuaded her to give the orphanage a week’s grace while I emailed friends in NZ to try to raise the money. Luckily she agreed.

I emailed lots of people – and some of them emailed other people – and in no time We had raised $780! I was able to go in to the Water Board yesterday to pay the bill and put the orphanage in credit.

Thank you so much to all who gave so generously. Your gift has made the world of difference to those children!

Help for a stranger – even if unsure

Recently, while working in a Hamilton shop, Jane (not her real name) was approached by a man who needed to use the phone. He was apparently passing through on his way north, but had run out of petrol just outside her shop. There was a petrol station nearby, but the man had unfortunately left his Eftpos card in the previous town, so needed to ring a friend to come and pay for the petrol.

After the phone call, he said his friend wouldn’t be able to come until after work, meaning a wait of some four hours. Through the shop window, Jane could see the man’s wife and young child in the car and hated to think of them having to wait so long. She found her purse and gave the man $10 to help him on his way.

Of course it occurred to Jane that the whole story might have been a con, but her decision was to help out anyway. The opportunity to help a family who were having a really bad day outweighed the potential annoyance of being taken for a ride. “It didn’t matter in the end,” Jane said. “Either way, it helped them out.”

Just what she needed!

A friend of mine (she wishes to remain anonymous, so let’s call her Mary) tells of a kindness she did for a woman from another town whose husband was seriously ill in Waikato Hospital. The poor woman was running herself ragged, with travel and other commitments. The only time she sat still was at her husband’s bedside, which was emotionally draining, if not physically.

Mary knew that what her friend needed was time to just sit and do nothing. So one sunny day she drove her friend to Raglan, furnished her with a box of chocolates and a bottle of low alcohol wine and left her there, saying she’d pick her up in a couple of hours.

Mary’s intuition told her that leaving her friend alone would be more beneficial than spending social time with her. And she was right. Later, her friend said it was the best thing that could have happened at that stressful time in her life.

(PS The husband has now recovered, so there’s another happy ending.)