Welcome to the very first instalment of Human Kindness, I’m so excited to share this story with you. If you haven’t already, please check out Human Kindness: Introduction for the background to this blog series!
“Not long into the new year in 2021, we were still in lockdown and I decided to take my dog for a walk and a play in the local park. I haven’t been there for a while and don’t know what made me decide to go on this particular day.
As my dog was playing close to the park gates, I suddenly heard shouting and arguing, and I looked over to see three boys appearing to argue/wrestle over an electric scooter. It all happened so quickly but it became apparent that two of the boys were stealing another boy’s scooter, and even had the audacity to run off celebrating with it, laughing about how they had set out today to get one and they had done it.
It was the most angering and devastating event to witness, and as I realised what was going on and prepared to go over and intervene, the boys had already prised it away and I helplessly watched them sprint away with it. I looked towards the young boy (he was 13) who was devastated and crying. I started to run towards him to help and support him but he ran off in the opposite direction despite my shouting to help him.
The whole thing was really upsetting. I called the police and reported it, and put a post on the local Facebook group to try and find this young boy’s parents/carers and check that he was OK, and also to let them know that I had reported it to the police. Not long after, I received a private message from the boy’s mother who informed me that her son, albeit very shaken up, was OK. The scooter was a Christmas gift and was supposed to appease the fact that a few weeks before Christmas, his bike had been stolen.
We chatted a little and I discovered that her son had lost his Dad around 6 months prior and was still trying to come to terms with it when his bike was stolen, and now his scooter. They had had a terrible year and this endless speight of bad luck had left the whole family feeling extremely depleted.
After returning home in a bit of a state and explaining to my husband what had happened, I found myself struggling to process how people can be so terrible. I was harvesting a lot of anger and frustration, and when the boy’s mum told me their story I completely fell apart. I was so disillusioned with humanity and couldn’t stop thinking about what this poor boy had just gone through. I couldn’t shake the need to do something.
I approached my husband with an idea. I was looking into electric scooters and thinking that maybe, we could get the details off the boy’s Mum, and simply replace the scooter he had lost. A few months prior I had donated to a local community effort to raise money for a family in need, and people were donating whatever they could, even if it was £1 or £2. But the volume of people donating “small” had meant that a lot of money was raised by all, and people were more than happy to help. I thought that maybe we could crowdfund the cost of the scooter.
I expected him to tell me that I was being ridiculous, that we didn’t need to do that, but he didn’t. He agreed with me that something needs to be done to show this boy that people aren’t all terrible, and quite frankly, the kid and the family sounded like they needed a break. We messaged the mother to get her consent (who was beside herself with gratitude) and the details of the scooter, and we got to work.
We felt a little awkward about doing this, but we realised that even the tiniest bit of support would help massively and people might want an opportunity to do something kind. There was no obligation, we would simply explain what had happened and that if anybody was able to or wished to donate even £1, it would be so much appreciated. We decided to only contact our immediate friends and family, rather than put it online, as we also wanted to respect the family’s privacy as much as possible.
Within 24 hours, we had raised enough money to pay for the scooter in full, and even buy a bunch of flowers and some chocolates for the boy’s Mum. We had to advise people we could no longer accept donations, as people were still trying to donate long after we reached the target! We received donations from our families and friends, as well as other people who don’t even live in our community, after they heard what had happened to this poor boy. I will never, ever forget the amount of people that gave their hard-earned money to support a child they had never even met and show him that the world isn’t all bad.
People were unbelievably kind, and especially after Christmas when money for a lot of people is tight, they showed up in droves to give their money to this family. It was the most wonderful act of kindness I have ever seen, and one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. The family were beyond grateful. It honestly restored my faith in humanity and to this day, when I think about how terrible people can be, I think about how unexpectedly kind people can be.”
Have you experienced an act of kindness recently? Maybe you know something that somebody has done or you have done for somebody else? My inbox is ALWAYS open for your kindness stories.
These will be treated with discretion and published anonymously at all times, and I will share as much or as little information as you wish. Message me using the form below and I’ll be sure to feature your story in an upcoming post.