2016 has provided a bumper crop of depressing man-made disasters: war, terrorism, ISIS, Brexit, Trump, ugly nationalism, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I don’t know about you, but a lurch to the hard right or hard left is not what I signed up for. You could be forgiven for thinking we’re all off to hell in a handcart. But then the smallest of kindnesses can restore your faith in humanity. Recently, Annie of Back to Bodrum reminded me of this when a dolly* driver went the final mile to get her home. Around the same time, I was having my afternoon cuppa in a local café when a man approached a woman sitting at an adjacent table. He smiled.
“No,” she said. “I don’t. Sorry.”
“Yesterday. You helped me. Remember?”
“Yes, yes. Now I remember.”
“Well these are for you,” he said, handing her a bunch of flowers.
The man had gone before the startled woman had a chance to respond but it brought the broadest smile to her face, as it did to mine and to everyone around us.
The flower man was elderly, white and local. The woman was elderly too and Asian, perhaps Filipino judging from her Imelda Marcos inflection and fabulous shoes. I mention their ethnicity and age only because I hear petty racism is on the march again, particularly amongst older generations. I never did find out what the good Samaritan had done to help the old man in need. Typically British, I didn’t like to ask. But it gave me a little hope.
Wishing us all a kinder and brighter 2017.
*Dolly is what I called a Dolmuş, a minibus used for public transport in Turkey.