[tweetability]”Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” ~ Samuel Johnson[/tweetability]

So there’s a story to this weeks #MondayMotivation that I’d like to share with you.

I was on my way to work last week when the train pulled into the next station. As I watched the doors open, this small, hispanic lady (of around 50-60 I assume, hopefully not offensively) steps onto the train and strait into the woman trying to get off. It was, as a choice, rather ill-advised to do so as we all are aware that it’s etiquette to let those disembarking do so first. I was a little taken back by the rather abrupt and maybe even slightly over aggressive response form the woman trying to get off and the gentleman who was getting on behind this small lady - the usual grunts of dissatisfaction etc.

The woman spoke Spanish to them and looked completely bewildered. It was clear she spoke no English, and from the confusion in her face, she looked a little frightened and obviously lost. She stood looking at the tube map trying to figure out if she was on the right train when I tapped her on the shoulder to ask her if she knew where she was going.

Ensure the slightly historical farce of the brit and the Spaniard trying to communicate with over emotive hand gestures. But we made do. She pointed at Earl’s Court and I *thumbed up* that she was indeed on the right train. Several “Gracias” followed.

We continued on the train journey and I noticed how sad she looked and I began to wonder if I was the first person that day who had even bothered to see if she was OK, to offer guidance or even a kind word. The tube in London can be scary to those who don’t know it, and those who don’t know English - especially the line we were one which services different lines and routes.

It was then that I looked back over and the woman was crying her eyes out. It was odd that one of my first feelings was anger, anger towards those strangers who were mean to her, I must have been right and the poor woman had just been walking around lost and had rushed onto the train to see if it was correct, hoping to jump off in time if not.

I moved over and sat next to her and wrapped my arm around her. I didn’t know what else to do.

I offered a pack of tissues that were in my bag and we sat for the rest of the journey, going through the tissues as she calmed her nerves and emotions.

She continued to speak in Spanish and I just continued to nod. I also sent a rather severe eye-of-shame over to the man from before who was looking rather sheepish in the corner.

We never know what strangers are going through. That waitress you were rude to for messing up your order may be working several jobs to make ends meet, that person in your class who is always over the top and making a scene may be crying themselves to sleep at night because they feel so alone and just want a friend, that old couple taking their time as they wander through the busy street may not have long left together and they are just trying to savour every moment.

[tweetability]Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.[/tweetability]

I’m not saying be perfect. I’m certainly not. I try to and it’s something we must work at throughout our lives and fight against a jaded nature that can be forced upon us in the modern fast-paced word we live in.

I’m not saying let people get away with being rude to you, but I am saying to try and search for kindness at it’s basic level of respect for another human, even when fondness for that person can’t be present.

Your time and kindness are the cheapest, most expensive things you have to give.

Oh, and for those that want to know, I stayed with her until Earl’s Court where I sent her off in the right direction.

Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.