The Kindness of Kevin
I am currently in the middle of writing a short story based around random acts of kindness so it felt both timely, and heart-warming, when I was the recipient of such a blessing earlier today. Having spent the last couple of days in Warrington, this morning I began (or so I thought), my journey back home to Falmouth, Cornwall. Having retrieved my backpack; holdall full of clothes; and a small tote containing butties, cherries and a bottle of water; from the boot of her car I waved my sister-in-law off as I walked into the station. I’d not taken more than half a dozen steps before I realised that I didn’t have the most important bag with me; my over-the-shoulder handbag (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). I don’t drive myself but whenever I’m transported anywhere by a friend or family member I stow this most important receptacle of personal belongings on the floor, by my right foot, to the side of the gear box. Today, that’s where I left my handbag when I got out of Cilla’s car.
‘I’ll ring her’, I thought, but of course my phone, along with my wallet (complete with train tickets and credit and debit cards), my purse and my house keys where now on their way across town. For a few minutes I waited outside of the station in case Cilla immediately realised what I had done. When it became clear that she hadn’t I returned to the station and found a seat. I must have looked distressed, or at least nonplussed, for a young man, who I soon discovered was there for the day supervising the Sunday rail-replacement bus to Manchester Piccadilly, asked me if I had a problem. I explained and he spent the next several minutes trying to help. My usual practice when calling Cilla - indeed when calling anyone from my mobile phone - is, like everyone else I know, to search for her name on my phone and press call. Of course then, I have no idea of her actual phone number so instead I rang my own phone, from Kevin’s (I asked for his name a little later*), in the hope that she might hear it. In recognition of my political elegancies and activities I recently changed my ringtone to Ohh Jeremy Corbyn. Sadly for me Cilla had decided to go shopping so the chant sang to the tune of the ‘Seven Nation Army’ (by the White Stripes) rang out in a lonely carpark.
Having verbalised my concerns over taking a taxi to Cilla’s home in case she was out (she was as I’ve just mentioned) meaning I’d be unable to pay on arrival and asking Kevin if he knew where the nearest police station was he came up with the solution: ‘I’ll lend you the money to get a taxi’, he said.
On arrival at Cilla’s I was fortunate to meet one of her neighbours who rang my sister-in-law and it was not until then that she noticed the abandoned handbag. Cilla returned me to the station, coming in with me this time to see me safely on the train! I introduced her to Kevin who declared he was pleased to see me back in time for the 12.39 train is it was then a two hour wait for the next one. I returned his twenty pounds and tried to give him a little more for a treat of his choosing. ‘No, no, I’m not taking it’, he said smiling at me. So we hugged instead and I thanked him again and wished him a good day.
Small dramas are part and parcel of everyday life. How much easier they are to deal with when one in met with such kindness as I was today.
* Kevin is not the real name of the man who helped me. I changed it having not asked his permission to name him in this autobiographical piece.