Strathclyde Telegraph

A rare stranger (‘A closer look at: kindness’).

I heard a story recently that, for me, confirms good people still exist. It was an act of kindness that had the same effect as a good cup of tea: it warmed my insides.

The story: Two girls were walking a substantial distance home in the early hours. A taxi driver stopped alongside the girls and informed them they were being followed by a couple of suspicious looking men – would they like a safe journey home in his taxi free of charge? They accepted his offer and he stood by his word.

There is frequently distrust towards taxi drivers. However, I feel the likelihood of a troublesome taxi ride is far slimmer than a dangerous encounter on a walk home. The matter of the story is: the girls got home safely thanks to the driver’s kind act. There is no need for ‘what ifs’.

Planning a night out can often revolve around getting home safely at the end of the night. In my experience, finding my way home can often end up a bigger deal that the night out itself. On occasion, queuing for a taxi on Sauchiehall Street seems to take longer than the time spent actually being ‘out’. It’s not normally a pleasant experience. Sleazy men traipse amongst gaggles of girls, ‘lads’ treat each other like punch bags and there is always an episode of projectile vomiting. It’s easy to think, ‘Why wait two hours in this alcohol-fuelled circus when we live a fifteen minute walk down the hill?’

The centre of Glasgow is not a pleasant place to walk alone in the middle of the night. And yet, in reality, a lot of people would probably rather have three more drinks than pay a taxi-fare home. When dark figures seem to lurk round every corner, it would be comforting to think there were more kind strangers to look out for us. However, the sad thing about the act of kindness in this story is the rarity of it.

Words by Katy McLaughlan, picture by Melissa Reid
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