Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Random act of kindness

Travelling home on the train last night, I had a coughing fit.  I'd spent the day facilitating in a room with a very dry atmosphere.  I drank a lot of water during the day, but it obviously was not enough.  After I left the building, I had to walk about fifteen minutes to the train station in the cold air.  By the time I boarded the train, my throat and mouth were feeling dry and ticklish.

About two minutes into the train journey, I had that ticklish feeling in my throat that was telling me to cough.  I also had that feeling that if I started  I wouldn't be able to stop.  I tried swallowing.  I tried breathing, but that made it worse.  Soon I was in the throes of coughing and being unable to stop.

I couldn't get my breath.  I could feel my face was hot and probably red.  People sitting nearby started to shuffle.  They started to look sideways at me.  I even caught a couple of glares.  I had my mouth covered while I rummaged in my handbag to find a tissue.  It wasn't as if I was coughing on people; but the coughing was becoming more and more violent.

Soon I was able to arrest the coughing.  I sat trying to recover and catch my breath.  I did catch my breath and the coughing started again.  It was awful.  I felt out of control, helpless.

I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder and turned towards it.  There was a woman sitting behind me.  She asked me if I was okay and offered me some cough lozenges.  I was already sucking one of those so I said no to the lozenge but thanked her for her consideration.  I really liked the fact that she had been able to step away from the dominant culture in that train carriage which was to mind your own business.  As well as thanking her, I managed to let her know that I was okay and was just fighting a "tickle" that seemed to be irritated every time I inhaled.

I was so grateful to her.  Before she reached out to me, I had wondered how I would get anyone's attention if I really needed it.  Most people seemed to be plugged in and tuned out.  I hope that if I was in serious distress, someone who could see me would have come to my aid before things careened off track.

The gesture offered by that woman, was a random act of kindness and I really appreciated it.

What random act of kindness did you perform today?  Perhaps you were the recipient of a random act of kindness.  What did someone do for you today?

I'm passing some kindness on to Australian based readers of divacultura.  I'm offering the opportunity to win one of three double passes to see the film "Hysteria", courtesy of Hopscotch Films.  Details of how to win are in this post.  Entries close Friday.

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