Kindness of Strangers
Simple generosity can mean the world
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.