Kind­ness of Strangers

Sim­ple gen­eros­ity can mean the world

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY JEN­NIFER CAR­DOZA

Jen­nifer Car­doza lives in Tamil Nadu, In­dia. She is in­ter­ested in writ­ing, paint­ing, singing and watching movies. Af­ter 15 years work­ing as a teacher, she is close to re­tire­ment.

IT WAS A SUNNY APRIL MORN­ING last year when I was run­ning late for work. To make mat­ters worse, the driver of the au­torick­shaw who reg­u­larly takes me to the bus stop had rung to tell me he was un­avail­able that day.

I left my apart­ment car­ry­ing two bags, a hand­bag and a lunch bag, and boarded an au­torick­shaw pass­ing nearby. As I walked to the bus stop, I re­alised I had only my lunch bag – I had left my hand­bag, con­tain­ing two ATM cards, a new mo­bile phone and a size­able amount of cash, in the au­torick­shaw!

It took me a few sec­onds to calm down. Here I was – without so much as a sin­gle cent to pay for my bus fare, no mo­bile to call for help and not a Pub­lic Call Of­fice in sight. My work phone num­ber was stored in my mo­bile so I couldn’t even ring to tell them about my predica­ment. To add to my woes, I did not have the key to my apart­ment either. I felt as though I was blind­folded in the mid­dle of a for­est.

My mind was rac­ing but I slowly be­gan to re­gain my com­po­sure.

I de­cided I would go home and bor­row my neigh­bour’s phone to call my mo­bile. As I approached

the near­est au­torick­shaw, the driver, sens­ing my panic, of­fered his phone.

Ap­pre­cia­tive of his gen­eros­ity, I called my mo­bile and it rang and rang. No­body an­swered. We tried a few more times without any luck. Then I re­mem­bered my brother’s num­ber and called him.

My brother sug­gested I go to his of­fice and get some money and to re­port the in­ci­dent to the po­lice so my mo­bile could be traced. On the way to my brother’s of­fice, the driver got a call from my num­ber. A lady in­formed me that the au­torick­shaw driver who had left me at the bus stop had my bag and wanted to re­turn it to me. She told me ex­actly where he was wait­ing and it was not far away. To my re­lief I got my bag back with all its con­tents in­tact. The driver apol­o­gised, say­ing that he had to call on the help of this lady to use my mo­bile to re­turn the call.

Moved by the honesty of this man, I of­fered him some cash as a to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion but he waved his hand and with a smile said, “No, Madam. Travel safely, that is enough for me.”

The other driver took me back to the bus stop and re­fused my of­fer of more than the ac­tual fare .

This all hap­pened within the short span of an hour and I be­came quite emo­tional. I had just been helped by two com­plete strangers who showed com­pas­sion. It also dawned on me that I did not even know their names. I re­turned to nor­malcy with the hope of meet­ing them again some day. Share your story about a small act of kind­ness that made a huge im­pact. Turn to page 8 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute and earn cash.

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