Last night I was walking past Starbucks when I spotted an elderly chap, who visibly had a disability, battling with a heavy glass door to get into the coffee shop. He looked like he'd been trying to get in for a few minutes - so I changed direction and headed his way.
I stopped, walked over to the entrance and opened the door for him while he shuffled in. His mobility was very limited and I was left holding the door open for about 45 seconds. But I didn't mind, what's a minute out of my time? The elderly man was very grateful for my help, I said "no problem" and we parted ways.
As I walked towards the tube station, I thought about how busy Starbucks had been. And how no one had jumped up to help this man with a walking stick who clearly needed a helping hand to get in through the door.
This got me thinking... Why are we not kinder to one another? Why don't we help each other more? What the hell is wrong with mankind that we can't offer assistance to another person who is visibly struggling? That we're happy to do nothing.
It was a real WTF? moment.
The whole ordeal with the man at Starbucks made me consider all of the other things that 'people' (and I use the term loosely as I'm sure half of them are inhuman) do on a daily basis which is either rude or just really quite selfish.
Since moving to London from a small town in the Midlands I've really noticed the levels which people go to in order to avoid helping one another. I've noticed how detached everyone is, how wrapped up in their own lives they are and how nothing can stop them in their tracks as they get from A to B. Especially not that struggling elderly chap trying to get into Starbucks for a cuppa on a cold winter's night.
Other examples include those who refuse to give up a seat on public transport to a pregnant or disabled person. I've seen those 'types', the ones who bury their heads in books or put earphones in so that they don't have to acknowledge if a person is in need. Shame on you.
Likewise, people who, in busy crowds, push in front of the woman with a pram and wouldn't even think twice about helping her up (or down) a set of stairs with said push chair.
I bought a homeless guy dinner the other day, it set me back a fiver but so what? It's a fiver I can happily live without if it helps somebody else. I was going into Tesco anyway, so technically I didn't even have to go out of my way to help - but I still helped his situation. He had food to keep him going for the night.
Being kind is such a small thing, a tiny act, but it could absolutely make someone's day. And you're left feeling good about it too. No-brainer right?
There are some people out there who do put themselves out for others. But sadly, in London they are a rarity. Case in point: why do you think the Metro has a 'good deed feed'? If everyone was carrying out acts of kindness everyday then it wouldn't be out of the ordinary and therefore wouldn't really require special attention. We wouldn't bloody need a good deed feed if people were kind more often.
The point of my incessant rambling is to ask one thing: are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we've turned into robotic, heartless creatures whose purpose is just to work, sleep, eat and breed?
The answer's no. We have emotion. We have compassion. We can make choices to be better people. So let's do that - starting now.