Random acts of kindness

Photo by Ed Yourdon
Photo by Ed Yourdon
Photo by Ed Yourdon

Some get adrenaline from driving while drunk. I get adrenaline from drying the tears of a stranger and making her smile.

I’m on the train, returning from work. A girl sits, three rows of chairs in front of me, facing me. She’s not pretty but looks happy.

I try to empty my monkey mind without success. I think about thinking too much! And then I think of ways to stop thinking, just to realize that I’m thinking again…

I notice she puts on her sunglasses, even though the sun is setting behind her. I look at her again – her chin is trembling; she slightly nods horizontally; she dries her right cheek with the back of her hand – she’s crying.

Two men are sitting right in front of her. They don’t notice her. A woman is checking her Facebook, although she doesn’t have any updates. She doesn’t notice her. A timid risk-averse guy sitting three rows behind is thinking about a dozen things. He notices her and he knows he has to do something.

The train is arriving at my station. Is she really crying? Looks like it. Should I ask if she needs help? No, that’s way too open-ended. She has headphones, she won’t hear me. I need a paper and a pen, but I don’t have none. The train is stopping…

I quickly take out my outdated mobile phone, create a new SMS, and simply write: “Anima-te” (Portuguese for “Cheer up”). I softly touch her shoulder and show her the phone’s screen. She looks up, smiles, and thanks.

Made my day. And probably hers too.