LAST Christmas, my mum and I made the awful journey to Argos to purchase a toy car for my little cousin. Of course, she had requested the biggest one in the catalogue.
On the walk back to the car, those, ‘easy to open car doors’ the salesman had boasted about swung open hitting my knees many times; and that ‘smooth, red roof’ was almost impossible to grip on to. Overall, it was the most awkward thing to try and carry back to our car, which seemed to be getting further and further away. Pushing through swarms of Christmas-time shoppers, squeezing past groups of charity carol-singers and climbing over the many alcoholic-smelling beggars of Glasgow, we struggled on.
‘I’ll carry that fir ye’s,’ a voice said behind us. ‘Which way we goin’?’
We turned around to find a little, skinny, bald man, with tattoos across his swollen knuckles. He smelled as if he hadn’t had a decent wash in a long time. My mum pointed in the direction of the car while I stood in shock at the person who had come to our rescue.
I kept my eyes firmly on him the entire journey back to the car. Don’t get me wrong, I was relieved not to be carrying the terrible toy anymore, but I was positive that this man was going to attempt to rob us. My mum added to my worry when she took her purse out to offer the man some money for his help.
‘This is it,’ I thought,’“he’s going to grab the purse and run.’
“Don’t be daft missus,’ he said. ‘Ye dinnae need tae pay me tae help you two beautiful women.”
With that, he disappeared without even waiting for a ‘thank you’. Shocked and embarrassed by my thoughts, I watched that helpful little man walk away.
This experience still inspires me. This man showed us a great deal of kindness regardless of the fact that we had probably just climbed over him in the street without so much as a thought for his circumstances. To me, this is the definition of true kindness.
Words by Delanie Clarke, picture by Melissa Reid
(Published: Issue Two, November 2012)document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);