Yesterday was not a good day for me.
In fact, being honest, it was really awful.
It’s not very often that you’ll hear me say something like that…but in this case there’s no other way to put it!
I got some news which was very upsetting, and which caught me completely by surprise.
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I was in London at a meeting when it happened, and so on my journey home it all started to sink in…and the next thing I know I’m sitting on a South Eastern train with tears streaming down my face.
It was one of those “once the flood gates are open” moments.
Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.
I was very aware of the fact that I was on a public train, surrounded by people, but it didn’t matter. I was feeling very upset, and at that moment I needed to let it out.
The guy with the drinks trolley went past and very kindly handed me a couple of napkins as he went.
But then something interesting happened.
A guy who was sat a little further up the train walked up to me and said “I’m really sorry, I’m not trying to hit on you, but I can’t just sit there and watch you cry….would you like to split a beer? Or I could just sit here and talk random rubbish at you for the rest of your journey?”
Now, a few years ago, if this had happened my instinctive response would be to say “It’s OK, I’m fine”.
I looked up at him and said “You know what, that would be really great”.
So he sat down and we started chatting.
Not the stuff of great conversations that will go down in history, just random chat to pass the time.
It was just what I needed…a little random kindness from a stranger.
What was really interesting is that had the situation been reversed and I’d seen someone crying on the train, I’d have done exactly what he did.
When I told him this and said how grateful I was for the random stranger who came and talked random stuff at me to pass the journey…he simply replied, “Ah, but it wasn’t random”.
It was really reassuring to know that what you put out in the world, does come back…sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes randomly…but often when it’s most needed.
I’ve mentioned the concept of paying it forward on here a few times, and my last post about it was on remembering to receive it forward as well.
Well, yesterday I got the chance…and it felt good to receive.
So thank you to the stranger on the train who helped me to dry my tears and made me smile.
The next time you see someone who you think could use cheering up, don’t be afraid to say hello…it doesn’t cost anything and it might just make all the difference to someone’s day.
…and the next time someone offers you a kindness at a time when you really need it…allow yourself to receive it. It might not take away the sadness or whatever it is that you’re feeling…but it certainly does help.