Noticing, the prerequisite for kindness

Kindness doesn’t require us to be a saint or to make huge sacrifices. All it takes is a little bit of time and the inclination to really look at the people around us. 

I was on the Tube in London on my way back home. Whenever I make this journey from Earl’s Court to Wimbledon on the District Line, it feels as if it lasts forever. It was filled up with the usual rush hour crowd. All the seats were taken, of course. Some were reading, some had earphones on, and some were watching something on their mobile, while the rest just sat there with a vacant stare that most us adopt at the end of a busy work day. As the Tube trundled on, I held on to a pole and was lost in my book. I caught sight of someone getting up from a seat, and as most us tend to do, I jumped at it and sat down immediately. I smiled to myself when I heard someone near sigh that they were too slow to grab the seat.

Soon after I sat down, something made me look around me. I noticed this lady standing, holding onto the pole near the door. She was heavily pregnant, had a “Baby on Board” badge pinned to her coat, and looked completely wrung out. I wondered how long had the poor woman been standing there. I caught her eye and asked if she would like to sit down. She hesitantly said, ‘Would that be ok?’ She sat down and thanked me. When I got back home, this incident got me thinking. I know, this happens every day and most people don’t give it a second thought. Perhaps it’s the notion that we don’t think about such things that really bothered me. So many people on that Tube and it was a while before one of us even noticed that pregnant woman standing among us.

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