Richard Maun – An Act Of Kindness

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An Act Of Kindness

28 February 2016

Here is a true story. What would you have done?

There I was queuing for the cash till at a local supermarket in Norwich. It was dark and late and cold outside. The queue didn’t seem to be moving so I peered round the people to see what was going on.

At the till a scruffy, tired looking young chap was sorting his shopping and counting his money…he was buying some soup and cheap biscuits and clearly didn’t have enough for it all. He didn’t have a coat on and he looked a bit lost. I heard him say, in reply to the cashier:

‘Um er I’m sorry, I don’t seem to have my cash card with me, I’ll put something back.’

He shuffled out a packet of bisuits and turned to give the queue a guilty look, by way of apology for keeping us waiting. As he turned back to his food something amazing happened. Some amazing things are tiny and yet that doesn’t make them insignificant.

The young man standing next in line stepped forwards and put a £2 coin on the cash desk and said ‘there you go’.

Although the first man tried to refuse it, the second smiled and said ‘no, it’s ok, keep it’.

So the coatless man bought all of his items and then as he turned to leave he gave the change back to the second man.

The whole exchange lasted perhaps two minutes and I stood there feeling a bit ashamed, as I knew that I wouldn’t have been so generous so quickly. I’d have waited and let the man sort himself and go out. Into the cold without his biscuits or a coat.

What would you have done? Be honest. I love this story because it’s stayed with me and really made me think about how kindness is there for us all to share.

Next time I will know what to do. Sometimes we don’t have to wait to be asked before helping someone who needs it.

So, how can we be kind to a colleague this week? Will we spot when someone is struggling and unconditionally offer them support?

Next week: Process Improvement Tips


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