Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness


I arrived in London with 88 pounds of luggage. I am (almost) 5 feet tall. Needless to say, I had not thought through the process of getting myself + 88 lbs in three wheelie suitcases + 2 shoulder bags with only 2 hands... from Gatwick to my residence by King's Cross.

And so here I was, in a city I had never been to, ready to embark on a "life-changing" summer, but feeling a little alone and a lot stupid. I used a trolley and enlisted help from a porter to help get me to the train station from the airport, still feeling a little down and a lot overwhelmed. Trying to get off the train was the worst because the doors close pretty effing quick and everyone around me seemed more annoyed than anything else.

As I contemplated what to do next, an older gentleman who had already walked passed me turned around and came back to offer me help. He asked where I was going and when I told him King's Cross, he said he was headed that way too and asked if I needed help carrying my bags. My mom had told me not to accept help from a stranger, however at this point, I was pretty much desperate. With a little apprehension, I said yes. As I walked towards the platform, with him wheeling my suitcase beside me, I began to question whether this was a good idea.

And then the guilt set in. I was in a brand new city, feeling lost already and a stranger was kind enough to offer me help and there I was, questioning his motives. While not all strangers have good intentions, we live in a society that is built on trust. You pay for your meal after you've eaten it, you pay for your cab after you arrive at your destination and so on. It is not enough to accept help. It is more important to appreciate the kindness and goodness of people, especially strangers. 

Recognizing that changed my whole outlook. I knew I would be okay. There would be people who would help me along the way. In a city where you know no one, you don't have to be alone. I thanked him, and decided that this is what I want my trip in London to really be, a sort of pay it forward. I want new experiences, but I also want it to be about random acts of kindness.

I feel that working outreach at Thames Reach this summer will offer me a glimpse into the struggles of the homeless and vulnerable in London, and afford me the opportunity to look at society from a new perspective, both intellectually and culturally. I start work on Wednesday and I am as anxious as ever. But more importantly, I'm ready for this experience.

In omnia paratus.
Latin: Prepared for all things.

3 comments:

  1. Wow :) I'm so glad that someone helped you out like that! I tihnk it's a lovely sentiment to pay it forward. Hope you have a fabulous time in London :) Looking forward to reading more updates!

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  2. Beautiful, Mimosa! I hope you have many adventures and learn loads. XOXO - Joyeeta

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  3. A well written post that genuinely put a smile on my face. Glad to hear you were able to start your trip in London so positively.

    Xoxo, Belinda ;)

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