Today, I saw a woman help an old lady cross the street. When she left the old lady after that, the smile on her face said it all. The satisfaction and happiness she received helping someone out was blatant. If we gain so much by doing so little, why do we not do it more?
It’s fear, isn’t it?
Well, fear and mistrust. When someone helps us in this modern world, we often find ourselves asking, what is it they want from me? Are they nicking my purse? This then gets translated into a lack of action, for we then fear helping someone else, in case they think we’re up to no good.
I say screw all that nonsense. The thing I felt most uncomfortable about when I lived in a foreign city not too long ago was that I knew it was a city where strangers do not ever communicate. This silence even went as far as not helping, or ignoring those who are in need of help. I could not speak the language, but was aghast at this conscious ignorance they displayed, when I saw a very old lady trying to get downstairs in the train station with a small suitcase. She was clearly struggling and as I was behind the barriers trying to make my way towards her, an old woman (given she was younger than the first very old woman, but still visibly old) went over to help her. I did not know if I should be laughing or crying when I saw the sight of the two old women struggling with the small suitcase, whilst a station full of young men and women all rushing to head off to work ignored them completely. When I got to them, I could only gesture that I will bring the suitcase downstairs and I did just that. Then, I stood at the bottom to wait for her to slowly make her way down holding on to the bannister. She rambled on gratefully, and I felt good about helping, but I couldn’t help thinking about how everyone else around could just ignore the whole thing.
I love communicating with strangers, especially in small gestures. Sharing a moment on a delayed train, rolling your eyes at another commuter with loud music blaring from leaky headphones, even just smiling when your eye catches someone else’s by accident. I love living in London because it is possible to do this here – little gestures that allow us to just enjoy knowing that we are all humans, we are all the same, really, and we are all good people.
Maybe if we all smiled and helped each other more, the world could get better… more positive?
Try it, spread a smile and see how you feel.