Picture it: you’ve had a busy day, you’re tired, you jump on the bus or train and to your relief there is one seat left which you quickly take. But then someone else gets on the bus who you suspect needs the seat more than you… what do you do?
I have experienced both someone giving up their seat for me and giving my seat up for someone else – and I have discovered there is a joy in the giving as well as the receiving. That relief when I’ve got on the train, children in tow, several shopping bags and the youngest wanting to be carried and some kind person gives up their seat. I have also had that moment when you think, “I really would prefer to sit here, but that person looks like they could do with a little kindness today.” Somehow the energy that being kind gives can make standing and allowing someone else to sit a pleasant experience.
Jaime Thurston challenges us in her book Kindness: the little thing that matters most to be aware not just of those obviously in need but someone carrying heavy bags or perhaps just looking stressed and tired. She says:
‘Sacrificing your seat will help more than one individual – you will be helping to build a healthier, kinder community.’
Our little pebbles of kindness cause ripples of change and challenge others to also be kind. As Ghandi said: