How right your columnist, Jane Terris, is to encourage us all to offer acts of kindness - be they large or small - to complete strangers who find themselves struggling in one form or another.
But one does not have to be a qualified ‘personal development teacher and author’ to offer such advice - merely to be familiar with a passage from the New Testament - uttered some two thousand years ago. The parable of the Good Samaritan immediately comes to mind.
That said, a word of warning - based upon my own experience. Personally, I would on occasion think twice before offering help to a stranger in our midst.
Driving along Albion Way, Horsham a month or so back, I spotted a man lying prostrate in the road in front of me. All other vehicles merely skirted the poor fellow but I did what I considered to be the decent thing and stopped and helped him onto the pavement.
He was clearly in trouble and I offered to fetch an ambulance. His response to my suggestion - ‘No mate, I don’t want an ambulance - I slipped while trying to cross this bloody road’. Not very encouraging!
More recently, I tried to help an elderly lady off the bus in Depot Road. She was pushing a loaded square, rigid trolley which slipped and fell on my foot - causing me a good deal of pain. I looked up at her and said, ‘Madam, I think you might have amputated my foot’ - to which she replied, ‘Sorry dear’. With that, I hobbled onto the bus and gritted my teeth in frustration.
I have to say that neither of these random acts of kindness did anything to strengthen my immune system or increase my ‘glow of happiness’ after having helped a complete stranger.
They merely raised my blood pressure and I do hope that Ms Terris will include the negative aspects of such selfless acts in her next book!
ROBERT B. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham