Kindness and faith in our shared humanity can really go a long way, and I was recently touched by an act of kindness and blind faith from a stranger that I think is worth writing about. I hope you are somewhat moved by her warmness and kindness, and that you are inspired to pay it forward.
About two weeks ago, I was rushing to do a promo shoot for Hendricks Gin’s World Cucumber Day event. (Yes, that’s a thing. If you’re in South Africa between now and 14 June, take a cucumber to select bars and exchange for a free Hendricks and tonic.) Anyway, back to the story. I had called a Taxify about 20 minutes before I supposed to arrive at the meeting location, and while I was waiting for it to arrive, I sorted my things and made sure I was good to go. When it arrived about two minutes later (I’ve never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a Taxify or Uber in SA), I grabbed my bag and quickly headed downstairs. I greeted the driver and told her I needed to get to my destination in about 10 minutes, if possible. She acknowledged, and began the drive, at a hasty pace.
We were headed to Woodstock, not too far from my apartment, but morning traffic was causing delays. She seemed to know the area well, so she took some backstreets, and weaved in and out of traffic and soon we arrived at the destination. Whew! Just in time. I reached in my pockets to pull out cash, (you have the option of paying from your connected card account, or with cash. Same with Uber in SA) but it wasn’t there. I checked both pockets, rummaged through my bag, and as I started to break a little sweat I realized that I left the money on the table! I had set it out earlier, and completely forgot to take it. (I’m not the best at carrying cash to begin with) I looked up at her, explained what happened, and apologized profusely. She really didn’t know what to say, but I could see in her eyes that she was trying to figure out a solution. She could tell I was being genuine and that I was already a bit behind schedule. I asked her for her Whatsapp and promised to call her later in the day. She didn’t have a Whatsapp, so I asked for her regular number. I apologized once more, and told her I’d call her soon as I finished with work. As I was getting out of the car, she said, “Hey, good luck” and gave a little smile. I said thank you, and as she pulled away, I stood there a bit, reflecting on what had just happened. Here I was, not having been able to pay her for the service, especially when she went above and beyond to get me to my destination on time, and instead of getting mad, she remained calm, and wished me well for the day. I was a speechless, and overcome with immense gratitude. We were strangers, and she had no reason to trust me, but I suppose the energy exchange we had, and how adamant I had been about taking her number, put her at ease. She had a maternal aura to her, and in that moment it was as if I was her son, being dropped off to school or a recital and being wished good luck. (I later found out that she had a young son) I smiled a bit and went off to meet the cast and get to work for the day.
Later that evening, I called Mpho, the name of the driver. She didn’t answer, so I sent a text message, letting her know it was her rider from earlier, and to get back to me when she can. We communicated a few times over the course of the next 36 hours, both always in different locations so we weren’t’ able to meet up right away, but she never once raised her voice or got upset. We are able to meet up that Sunday morning as she happened to have some errands in my neighbourhood, and I was still home. I hurriedly went downstairs to meet her and handed her the money, more than the cost of the ride. She reached for her pursue to make change, and I said, “no, no, please. I don’t need any change. Thank you again”. She looked at me, and we both smiled at each other. Nothing else needed to be said. She waved and took off.
Why be kind? Because we can always use more of it, more faith in each and you never know how your small act of kindness can positively impact someone’s day or overall life. So, in the words of a new friend and poet, Daje Morris, “Follow kindness. She knows where she’s going.”