Being on the receiving end of acts of kindness is wonderful. Perhaps the only thing that might better it is dishing out acts of kindness yourself.
Let me tell you about two acts of kindness that I experienced last week.
First of all, going back to last Monday. Shirley and I had been to the Meadowhall Shopping Centre on the edge of the city. Afterwards, we stopped off at the Centretainment complex intending to find somewhere for lunch.
We decided upon Nando's. Previously, I had only experienced this restaurant chain twice. They have very confusing menus. Anyway we managed to place our order - two "mozamb" chicken wraps with sides of chips and mixed salad. Then Shirley went to find some sauce and came back with a delightful lemon and herb peri-peri sauce which was an excellent accompaniment to the meal.
We noticed that it is possible to buy bottles of sauce from Nando's but when we asked a waiter about that he said that our chosen sauce was quite a new one and they don't yet have any bottles to sell. Then he added, "But wait a minute, I will go and get some for you to take home!"
Five minutes later he returned with a paper bag containing ten little plastic pots with lids. He had decanted some of our favoured sauce into each one of them. There was no charge - it was just a simple act of kindness with no thought or expectation of reward.
Secondly, I was in Hull yesterday to watch my beloved football team being beaten by West Bromwich Albion. Stupidly, I went through my allotted turnstile without buying a programme from the sellers outside.
Once inside the stadium I walked up and down the concourse hoping to buy a programme from somewhere else. Finally, I asked one of the yellow-coated stewards about my quest and he informed me that supporters could only buy match programmes outside.
"Tell you what though - if you give me the money - I'll go out to get you one."
He went down the concrete staircase and was let out of the stadium through one of the emergency exit doors. Three minute later, he returned with my programme.
I said to him, "Please may I shake your hand. That was such a lovely act of kindness. You did not have to do it but you did it all the same. Thank you!"
He blushed slightly. The fellow was around thirty years old. Though we lost the game by a solitary well-taken goal that steward's simple act of kindness almost made up for my disappointment.
One of my favourite sayings is, "It's nice to be nice" and those two young men proved the veracity of that particular credo. In spite all of the badness and selfishness in this world there is a hell of a lot of kindness out there too.