We should make kindness to strangers commonplace

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A man hands a note to a mother on a train and it makes the national papers – the Daily Telegraph to be precise.

I read the article with surprise. What was it about the note that could cause such coverage?

It set me thinking about how we live now, that a goodwill note garners publicity. Why is it such an extraordinary thing to happen?

The handwritten note praised the young mother for her parenting skills.

She had a toddler with her. The note told her that she was a credit to her generation. It also included a £5 note to have a drink and a lovely evening.

Why is this newsworthy? Is it because the national media generally focuses on the harm that we do to one another as a society and forgets that actually most of us are really good people?

We rush to help in a crisis, we open our hearts and our wallets and we don’t like to see distress.

But it seems this kindness is tucked away for special occasions, not to be shown to strangers, not revealed as an everyday occurrence.

Sadly the same can’t be said for unkindness – for whatever reason we are more inclined to share that out loud with strangers, as exemplified by the note that I received.

Stuck under my windscreen wiper was writing that remarked on my parking and called me a colloquial term for female genitalia.

Yes, it wasn’t my greatest bit of reversing ever, but I had done my best and if the note-writer’s car hadn’t been on such an odd angle in the first place, then I wouldn’t have had to squeeze my back end in at such an angle either.

I can only hope, to be fair, that the same note-writer goes around putting letters on cars of people who have parked well.

Perhaps this is what we should aim for, to balance out our positive and negative comments in order to achieve equilibrium in the world?

Kind notes shouldn’t make national news and I’m saddened to think that the reason one did was because it’s so rare.

So let’s make kindness to strangers un-newsworthy by making it so utterly commonplace and run-of-the-mill that there’s nothing odd about it.