So what’s stopping you from doing someone a good turn?
PUBLISHED: 06:33 02 February 2018
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Everyone benefits when you spread kindness, says Nick Conrad. So what’s stopping you?
The Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan was played out for real on Martineau Lane, Norwich, last weekend. A rain-soaked city fan cut a frustrated figure on the muddy grass verge in front of his broken-down car.
In the flickering illumination of hazard lights, an approaching knight in shining armour could just about make out our forlorn fan waiting for roadside assistance.
Henry Wyndham, who - incidentally - had just travelled to see City play away, had phoned the RAC and had no choice but to brave the weather. Then a smart car drew up. Windows down, a familiar smiling face peered out and inquired as to whether Mr Wyndham needed help. The request was turned down but the sentiment was appreciated. The kindly gent offering salvation was one Tom Trybull - a Norwich City midfielder.
Canaries fan Mr Wyndham was taken aback. Not just that one of his club’s star players was passing, but also that someone pulled over to offer help. In a world where ‘not getting involved’ has become a zeitgeist, gallantry appears the great victim. Ask yourself, in the same conditions as outlined above... would you have stopped?
Hearing of Mr Trybull’s considerate behaviour prompted me to reflect on how chivalry can backfire. I used to run around the city after my radio programme. One hot summer’s day, in a tight top and slightly looser running shorts, I embarked on my daily jog. Chancing across a group of primary school children crossing a busy road I thought it would be wise and helpful to position myself between the traffic and youngsters. Hollering to the teacher, “I’ll stand here so it’s safer for the children to cross” I fixed my position in the carriageway.
A less-than-enthusiastic response of “that’s not necessary” left me feeling somewhat deflated! If someone is attempting to be altruistic at least acknowledge it.
This has been quite a week for good deeds. On Tuesday a lovely story hit the headlines. A slumbering passenger on a train was shocked to wake up to find £100 tucked under a napkin on her lap. Ella Johannessen had been in tears discussing her finances during a phone call to her mother while travelling last weekend, before nodding off. After waking up she found the gift which she claims will stop her from going over her overdraft limit. The press picked up on her story after she posted her experience on Facebook.
All journalists like to quote random ‘studies’ - most are rubbish! A recent(ish) and completely unscientific study suggests that northerners are twice as likely to carry out random acts of kindness than their southern counterparts.
I got an abrupt knock on my window in Wales before Christmas. Staying in a forest log cabin I was struggling to get a mobile phone signal (a feeling many of you will know very well). I’d travelled a mile up the road in pursuit of any place where I could make contact with the outside world. Crotchety and frustrated, I finally found a residential road blessed with coverage. A few minutes later, I concluded my call, the contents of which required me to be forthright, only to be alarmed by a hammering at the window.
A local’s big old knuckles were rattling on the glass, I lowered the window...
“Yes,” I said curtly.
“Oh hello,” started this rather large man with a warm Welsh voice. “You looked distressed so I wanted to make sure you’re okay?”
Well, I didn’t know what to say! “My God, you’re lovely,” I spluttered - before hearing the words back and cringing!
Undoubtedly altruism makes us feel good about ourselves, it makes other people respect us more, or it might (so far as some believe) increase their chances of getting into heaven. Maybe it’s an investment strategy - we do good deeds for others in the hope that they will return the favour some day.
But whatever underpins the motivation, it is lovely to read stories about members of our community going out of their way to help another in a moment of distress - well done Tom.
Kindness and politeness are not overrated at all. They’re underused.
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