Call this whole post cheesy, and it’s probably not the ‘coolest’ post to start with but today I have felt inspired, I have felt uplifted and I’ve felt what only can be described as whole. It could be that Easter break has FINALLY arrived, it could be because I have had a chance to relax and sun myself in Barcelona over the past few days or it could be the fact the weather today was simply so beautiful.
So inspired, that I have to take pen to paper, or in fact fingers to buttons and recall what a day it was.
Having just returned from 5 days in sunny, stunning Barcelona I was readily prepped for a day of hard work doing final preparations for the project I am running next week when it struck me that I hadn’t called in on an old lady I’ve been popping by to visit over the last month. I felt as if today I really couldn’t manage it; I was really pressed for time. There were risk assessments to go through, files to print off, confirmation emails to be sent, parents to ring, but something told me that today, today it was important I go and visit Mrs Q.
With my pal Lien, we headed over to Mrs Q’s who was ready and waiting at the door when we arrived, with her wheelchair all set up and was over the moon to see us. It’s a hobby of hers that she likes to keep an eye on the neighbourhood bins, making sure the bin men are taking them away and that locals aren’t stealing students bins for their own. Today we wandered a few streets, rearranged a few binbags and dropped off some bric-a-brac before we turned to go back towards her home. It was then, she gingerly asked if we would mind if we wheeled her through the park for a bit, she hadn’t been able to go in years because she had injured her spine, couldn’t walk very far, and doesn’t have very much family so only managed to see her daughter once or twice a week. It was her favourite place in town and she would so very much love to see it.
As I said earlier, it was a beautiful day, the perfect temperature and whilst I knew I had a pile of work that needed doing, there was actually nothing I would love more than to wander through the park with her.
We made our way through the park and as she pointed things out along the way, I could see Loughborough town in a completely new light. The office buildings to our right were once a hosiery factory, the now paved car park was once a cattle market and where now parked Vauxhall Corsa’s and Ford Fiesta’s was where cows broke loose from their pens and ran amok. I had never believed there had been too much history to the town, but now it had a story, it had characters and I was invested in their tales.
We headed to the park café where she insisted that she buy us all an ice cream whilst we talked about where we all dreamed of travelling to, where we had all grown up (a real range, myself in the South East and France, Lien in Hungary, and Mrs Q in Loughborough) and our experiences of the town we all now called home. We spoke of how we’d met, why we got into voluntary work in the first place (to make friends, distract ourselves from the boredom of 10 hours a week learning, because we just loved to help others), our family’s and I felt that I wasn’t just talking to an elderly person for an hour, I was talking to a friend. The café began to close and we slipped off back towards Mrs Q’s with ice cream mouths, sun-kissed skin and belly’s full of laugher.
We dropped her off, bid her a thank you for the ice cream and wished her a very happy Easter. She laughed at how we could be so thankful for something trivial, and that our company had been truly priceless. We promised we’d be back again once Easter break was over.
Rounding the corner onto the main road where I had parked I realised that I had definitely exceeded the one hour parking slot I had parked in. I’d definitely seen a traffic officer walk along the street when we had set out well over 2 hours ago and I could feel I would definitely have a £25 fine. Great, that’s all I need, especially with the final term rent coming up soon, I thought. To my surprise and delight there wasn’t a ticket in sight. Some may call it coincidence, some may call it lazy police work, I would like to think it was karma.
As we drove the short journey home, I thought about the 2 hours we had just spent. Throughout all our conversations and differences, it was clear to me we all had one thing in common, a sheer love for life and the people we had the pleasure of meeting along the way. It really hit me quite hard that our one small act of kindness, the decision that it was important for me to go and see her today, that had a real impact on someone and (hopefully) made her day a whole lot brighter.
So with this I’m kick-starting my own #KindnessChallenge and I challenge anyone who has made it to the end of this post to do so to. One act of kindness for whatever community you may find yourself in, and it doesn’t have to be huge. Say hi to your elderly neighbour, play a five-minute game of catch with your mum’s best friends kid, buy that homeless person a coffee or a doughnut from McDonald’s. I can assure you it will brighten both yours and their day because, no act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted. I’ll keep you up to date with mine, and I’d love to hear what you get up to too!
All my Love