I was reading something about the power of random acts of kindness yesterday and it got me thinking about something that happened to me when I was lucky enough to visit Japan with my family back in 2012. I remembered that I wrote about it on Facebook at the time so I took a little time out first thing this morning to find the post and thought I would paste it up here.
“It’s been pouring with rain all day in Tokyo. Got a real soaking all of us but I am sitting here now still surprised by a random act of real kindness. We were on a walking tour in a place called Ueno, which includes some pretty run-down bits, even if you do get great views of the Skytree through the mist. There were about 10 of us standing in the street listening to a guide tell us a bit about Shinto beliefs in the spirit world. Most people had umbrellas but being me, I had not brought one and to be truthful I was starting to regret it as the rain ran straight off the top of my head and off the end of my nose. A lady opened the sliding door of one of the houses beside us and walked toward us to go to a local shop. We moved out of the way and as she passed, I gave her a small bow as you get used to doing here (in fact I was taxing the bike in Northallerton Post Office about six weeks after the last time we were here, and I still bowed to the bloke behind the counter without thinking). She got what she wanted from the shop and came back through. I bowed slightly again, and she did the same this time. About two minutes later her door slid open again and she came out carrying an umbrella which she insisted that I took. I was very surprised and thanked her a lot. The rain was torrential here today and I think it was a bit of a life saver.”
Here we are ten years later, and it still stays with me. Powerful stuff.