You never forget a kindness

Psychologies' sub editor can remember loads....

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Never pass up the chance to do a good deed, I heard Paul O’Grady say on the radio once, and I couldn’t agree more. I try to do this myself as much as possible for one reason because it’s the right thing to do and also because you always remember how someone makes you feel when they are kind to you. From the time we were little my mother always taught us to err on the side of giving people the benefit of the doubt. If we ever complained that anyone at school was narky or mean she’d say ‘Well, don’t be mean back, you don’t know what’s going on in their house’ and right there was a small lesson in being kind.

And what amazes me is you never forget a kindness. I can still remember my first boss from 18 years ago, in the days before mobile phones, running from the office to the train station to give me the message that the flat viewing I was meant to be going to after work had been cancelled. I’d already left when the call came, and he thought it worth his while to run the 10 mins to the station to save me a wasted journey out of my way. I recall the secretary at the same office helping me move when I eventually got a new place – being overseas I hadn’t family nearby to help and none of my friends had cars then, and she came and helped me shift my stuff one Saturday. The same lovely woman patched me up when I was so distracted at work the day after a much-loved aunt died that I fell headlong down the concrete steps from the shopping centre at lunchtime and made ribbons of the skin on the front of my legs. We’re still friends to this day. I can see kindness in every thoughtful word, gift, card, candle lit in prayer. I see it when people are good to my family, or to my friends. I have had kind and encouraging driving instructors, music teachers and most recently a swimming instructor (I know I’m paying for their services but their patience has been a true kindness, believe me!) There have been a million kindnesses from my friends, extended family and colleagues – in listening to a problem, sponsoring some charity endeavour, pitching in to help with something, kindnesses too numerous to mention) and as recently as the other day when a relatively new neighbour and two separate people I know from church all stopped to offer me a lift on a morning I’d opted to walk to work.

‘Aren’t people very kind?’ I often find myself saying to my husband. They are. If you take the time to notice.

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Anne-Claire Loughman

Sub editor, Psychologies