This is the story of a small act of kindness that made a difference.
I was maybe seven or eight years old, living in Brussels, and I was taking the metro with my mom and little sister. We were little, so naturally, we both suddenly took off running. I don’t remember why. I think we were racing to get to the platform first, or maybe we just wanted to go fast.
So there we were, two little girls running as fast as they could down an escalator with my mom chasing after us. There was a metro just leaving the station as we came pounding down. It started to pick up speed and then, to our collective surprise, it slowed down again.
The metro driver made eye contact with my mom and did the universal hand gesture for “This your train?” I guess it looked like we were all running to make the metro.
My mom shook her head, smiled a thank you, and the metro pulled out of the station. If I ever saw that driver again, I didn’t recognize him.
I remember my mom saying, “I have never seen anyone stop like that before.” I don’t think it ever happened again, but I think about it a lot. It was a formative moment for little me.
It made me believe that every now and again, you catch a break. An un-looked-for bit of goodness. Every day there is a chance, no matter how small, that someone might be kind, instead of just doing their job.
It made me a little less afraid and by proxy, a little more willing to bet on people. It was a really small thing, and I bet you that metro driver doesn’t remember it, but I still do.
I want to be the kindness of strangers.