I know we are always trying to teach our children about stranger danger and to stay clear of people they don’t know and to a degree that is absolutely right, but when I watched a YouTube video about Anthony Nolan’s ‘Kindest of Stranger’ campaign raising awareness for blood cancer and their bone marrow register (you can find out more on the Thank you stranger page), I remembered two cases when complete strangers were absolute lifesavers to me.
Ok, they didn’t pull me out of a burning house or stopped me from drowning, but they offered to help me when they could have just ignored me. I thought the campaign was a great reason to tell you to sign up to the bone marrow register and maybe save someone’s life and also talk about both occasions when strangers did something nice for me – because let’s be honest, we don’t share these positive stories anywhere near enough.
The OAP that ditched his wife
Last week, a couple of bloggers and I attended a forest school morning in a forest just outside Bristol. My friend Liska, her little boy Aaron, Amy and I decided to meet up in town and catch the bus there together. With wise foresight, we joked that getting lost together might be better than on our own, so on the bus we hopped. The bus driver told us where to get off and we thought we’d be at the venue within a couple of minutes. After all, the website told us, it was easily accessible via public transport. To cut a long story short, it wasn’t: at least not from the side of the forest that our bus stopped on.
To get from the bus stop to the venue, we would have had to walk along a busy road without pavement with a three and a four year old and that for 3km. Luckily, a lovely old gentleman and his wife spotted us on the side of the road and offered to give us a lift. Their car was tiny and there was no way, we would have fitted into it, so his wife jumped out of the car, let the four of us take a seat and decided to wait on the side of the road while her husband dropped us off at the forest school. How nice was that? They could have simply driven past, but instead they went out of their way to help us – just because. We were incredibly grateful because it meant we got to the event safely and on time.
The nun who saved our holiday
Another occasion that saw a stranger help me out was when I was on holiday with my best friend and her family. We were 14, her parents wanted to go shopping and we fancied going to the local swimming pool, so they dropped us off and her mum gave us a 10 minute speech on how we should look after our towels and bla bla bla. You know the deal, when you’re 14, towels aren’t really on top of your priority list and you just switch off when someone starts their lecture. Well, the inevitable happened and my friend lost her towel and we both knew that that was not good news, so we had the glorious idea to pack our bags and pop into town to get an identical towel, so her mum wouldn’t find out that we’d lost the towel.
We put our last bits of small change together and believe it or not, found an identical towel. Unfortunately, it cost a couple of D-Mark (yes, it was well before the Euro) more than we had on us and we were getting a little panicky when a nun tapped us on the shoulder and said, she’d pay for the towel for us. We were so desperate not to get into trouble with my friend’s mum that we took her up on her offer, let her buy the towel and raced back to the swimming pool – you know, just so it would look like nothing had happened. We even made sure to get the towel wet, just so my friend’s mum wouldn’t notice and to this day she has no clue that the towel we presented her with was not the towel she thought it was. The whole story is so random, but a stranger’s kindness probably saved our heads – or the holiday.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness or have you ever helped a complete stranger? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to share your story on Twitter using the #kindeststranger