We are so very pleased to welcome and host today’s author – Kindness Blog’s reader & subscriber, Leigh Blaikie. Leigh, who lives in Melbourne, Australia is an inspiring, regular practitioner of random, and not so random, acts of kindness in her day-to-day life. Here she shares an incident where she herself was on the receiving end of a lovely act of Kindness…
This past week in the southern states of Australia we have experienced one of our hottest summer “heat waves”. I live in Melbourne and last week we Melburnians endured a heat wave the likes of which we have not seen in over 100 years. Four consecutive days above 40 degrees (104F) with Thursday and Friday reaching 44 degrees (111F) and our overnight temperatures not dropping below about 25 degrees.
Now we Aussies are tough *winks* and we’re used to hot summers but by the latter part of the week every one was tired, grumpy and well and truly over it! The weather bureau had warned us at the start of the week that we shouldn’t expect any relief from the relentless conditions until late on Friday night (or early Saturday morning).
By Thursday the local government was telling us to make sure we didn’t draw too much power from the grid, with everyone running their fans and air con there was quite a strain on the power supplies. The public transport network doesn’t cope particularly well either in extreme heat in Melbourne. The public transport service providers issued an ‘advice’ to users to leave the city as early as possible as they anticipated significant cancellations and disruption to the various train lines.
I left the city two hours earlier than normal, at three pm. It took ages to get out of the city (cancellations on various lines, connecting trains not running .. the works!) but finally, we are pulling out of the city in a beautifully cool air conditioned train, the buildings, the concrete and all the glass getting smaller and smaller on the horizon *little happy dance*.
Aussies are pretty friendly, chatty folk and when we’ve jointly been “surviving” tough conditions it doesn’t take long for complete strangers on a train to start talking “how about this weather” .. “ergh, isn’t it disgusting” .. “don’t think I’ve slept more than three hours each night this week” .. “can’t wait for the cool change” could be heard all the way up and down the train carriage. I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting opposite me and the young girl sitting just to our left, we talked about the problems with our train systems as a result of the weather, about how far we were going on the train line (we were all going to the end of the line) and where we lived. Turns out this lovely lady lived only a few streets from me and yet, we had never seen each other before!
As we reached the third to last stop an announcement came over the train’s PA system, the train would be going to the end of the line but had to go in to the rail yard empty (oh no!) there was a train stuck on the platform so we wouldn’t be able to disembark when we got to the end of the line.
Now there are five train carriages worth of people milling around on a scorching hot platform, soooooo close to home! The public transport service provider advised us that they would arrange buses to replace the trains but, it was going to take quite some time.
I suggested to the girls that we ring a taxi (cab) and see if we can find another person who needs to get to the end of the line and we can all jump in the taxi together and get home.
At this point this the lady that I’d been speaking with on the train pulls out her phone, calls her husband and tells him we are stranded at the station and could he please come and collect us. They dropped me back at my car and, the young lady who was also with us (who was laden with shopping bags as she’d just spent the day buying her formal (Prom) dress) they dropped all the way home so she didn’t have to walk in the searing heat with all her shopping bags!
You know, I never did grab this very kind lady’s surname however, from the bottom of my heart .. Thank you Caroline! It restores your faith in humanity when complete strangers look after each other. She was such a good Samaritan that day, may her kindness be returned tenfold.