Kindness of strangers

Does Singapore need a Kindness Movement? I often think not, considering how many times I and my mother have been at the receiving end of kindness from total strangers.

Or perhaps the Kindness Movement after so many years has rubbed off on people sharing this island? Whatever…

Today, I was again at the receiving end of kindness from a total stranger, well-dressed and looking every inch the tai-tai or at least an upper echelon career woman.

I was going down the steep stairs to the Coronation Plaza carpark, carrying five bulging bags of grocery, veggies and fruits from Fairprice and while not exactly in teetering heels, my sandals were nothing short of 3cm off the ground.

I had started my shopping intending to get only spring onions, celery and ginger as I know the Fairprice there had no lifts to the carpark. Then, of cos, I got carried away. And consequently looked very likely to have to carried out of the carpark if I slipped and fell…

But then an angel appeared at the bottom of the stairs, asking me if I needed any help while I was at the top, calculating whether I could safely make the descent.

I hesitated. Then I said, timidly, “Perhaps just one bag?”, because she was after all a woman and might not be any stronger than me.

“Let me take these,” the angel said and, running up, relieved me of all three bags in my left hand, so in effect taking over the bulk of my shopping.

She accompanied me to my car, put the shopping in and waved off my thanks with a smile and then disappeared back up the stairs.

It was the same a few months ago, when my mother lost her balance at Shaw Centre, while I was several paces ahead and her dozy maid Siti was several paces behind her.

Immediately, people who were passing mum on both sides stopped and rushed to her, even as Siti ran up and I turned back on hearing the commotion. Nor were all the Good Samaritans willing to walk away even after ensuring that the octogenarian had carers with her.

At least three aunties ladened with Isetan bags accompanied us all the way to the lift, up to the carpark and volunteered to stay with mum, while I went to bring the car to the lobby.

OK, they might be ladies who lunch who didn’t have much to do, but then, if they had a selfish bone in them, they would have preferred to do nothing than take on the gratuitous task of looking after a stranger’s mum.

I’ve a 3rd encounter of help from strangers. About 3 years ago, I fell down on the side road that separated Tangs from Lucky Plaza. It was busy lunch time and as I was winding my way thru the pushing mass, I slipped and crashed heavily to the ground, hand-bag and sandals flying a metre or more from where I fell.

Miraculously, the human mass parted; no one trampled on me and it seemed no one walked on by as several people squated around me, all wanting to help me up while a couple of others rescued my handbag and sandals.

I was badly shaken but had no visible external injuries. Just sat there dazed for a couple of minutes unable to respond fully to the murmurs of concern. I was helped to my feet and was asked repeatedly if I was OK.

Slowly tho reluctantly most of the Good Samaritans moved away but two women remained, suggesting that they accompany me to Tangs to rest. Which was what happened.

My experience tells me that there are very kind people in Singapore, who don’t mind giving their attention and time to a stranger in need.

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