Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Show a little kindness,...."


Saying farewell to our grand daughter on Waiheke Island
Big and spacious Pudong, Shanghai's airport. 
Heathrow- after we had sorted out how to get to Edinburgh.
My son's photos entitled "Nana and Leon meet at last." 
A barbecue dinner with our son and family in their Edinburgh house.
Big journey..
Since my last post we have traveled halfway around the world. We left Waiheke Island at 11 a.m. last Sunday, sailing on the Ferry to Auckland city. We explored the city shops, art gallery (where my son works) etc. for the afternoon, then caught the bus to the airport. At around midnight we flew out of Auckland bound for Shanghai. We spent a few hours in Shanghai airport (Pudong) then flew out to Heathrow Airport, London. From there we flew to Edinburgh, where another son met us and guided us to his house by taxi arriving by nearly midnight on Monday night Scotland time.  Since leaving Waiheke Island we had been on the go for forty eight hours. From NZ to Edinburgh about thirty six hours. It wasn't an uneventful journey but I will save that story for another post. 
Kindness... simply being pleasant.
I have wanted to share something good - three stories of kindness. On Waiheke we visited a bakery cafe a few times. It has outside chairs and tables. I was sitting outside in a chair while my wife was inside the cafe ordering our morning coffee fix. A car pulled up and a woman jumped out with a bundle of newspapers. She was obviously delivering a bundle of the local community paper to the cafe. As she walked toward the cafe our eyes met and she said a bright "Good morning, it's nice in the sun isn't it?" I replied but then to my surprise she changed her course, walked up to my table and said, "Here, read the paper while you wait." and smiling nicely handed my one of the papers. She delivered her papers, waved at me as she jogged back to her car,"Have a good day."- and away she went out of my life. But it struck me that little interaction was a delightful, mood lifting addition to my morning. On the same morning we went to the secondhand timber place at the local refuse station. The local churches run a "New Hope Store" - a second hand store and also linked to it, a recycling timber/hardware store. The proceeds go toward community projects in Waiheke. In the timber place there is a delightful, beautiful maori lady who denails the timber, prices it, serves the customers and generally runs this part of the operation. We had visited it often during our building project and every time she had treated us with good humour and warmth. Her farewell words each time always grated with me but at the same warmed me. "Yous have a good day, won't you." genuinely said. They grated because my mother taught me never to say "Yous" ... "The plural of 'you' is 'You' ... we are NOT sheep!" she would say emphatically! (as in "ewes") But the warmth of this young lady's treatment of us and her farewells always made me feel better. On our final visit there we got talking with her a bit more and told her we were leaving next day. "Oh...." she said, "I'm gonna miss yous!" The third story... we finally landed at Heathrow airport and our arrival there had been delayed by about an hour and a half. We had to connect with a plane leaving for Edinburgh so we were flustered, red faced and rushing. There were a number of people we asked for help.. A lady minding the "Fast Track" queue at Immigration who let us be "Fast Tracked". The immigration officer who dealt with us quickly and sympathetically and wished us well as we rushed away.  Another official looking person who gave us directions above and beyond her duty in a caring sympathetic way. We ran between places, dragging our luggage, we arrived at an area looking for ways to change terminals. A flight stewardess on her way home, changing terminals herself went out of her way to guide us. But beyond that, seeing our red faces and confused panic she assured us. "You are in the right country. Even if you miss your connection, there are other flights, you can get to Edinburgh tonight. Things will work out." she assured us helpfully.  It was so good to have her care and her assurance, bringing perspective and sanity back to this elderly couple from the colonies. Things did work out. 
The point that struck me is that each of these kind encounters made life more pleasant and enriching. They enhance a sense of "journeying with others" in life. They are simple, easy human interactions, but their impact is tremendous, and so life enhancing.  I confess that I am a bit of a shy loner who goes about my business being polite but perhaps not with the same warmth.  This extra humanity, this extra warmth is so easy to do, and it is like oil in the machinery of life, it makes life easier, better and smoother. I am thankful for these people and seek to follow their example more often. The old song said, "Just show a little kindness, shine your light for everyone to see, and you'll open up the blindness of the narrow minded people... etc" Let me commend this warmth of interaction. 

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

There should be a "like" button on blog posts. I would have "liked" this post, especially for the summary paragraph at the end.