Encounters with people, however small, can leave a lifelong mark. Some people come to one’s life like a sudden thunderstorm in a hot summer, as unexpected and sudden they come they leave also without warning but keep the surroundings refreshed long after they have passed. I am going to tell one such incident that happened in my life.
It was the first time I came abroad. On one hand I was sad leaving my country, family, and friends but on the other hand was excited to visit a new world. With such mixed bag of feelings, I arrived in Bremen, Germany. When I came out of the airport, I was stunned to see there was hardly anyone in the streets. Empty streets are something that I had hardly ever seen before in India. For a second I imagined myself being in Delhi; a place full of people, noises, chaos and street side shops.
First act of Kindness
The tram stop was just outside the airport so I had no problem taking the tram. However, I had carried only 50 Euro notes and the driver refused to change the note. I was thinking whether to get down or not, suddenly an old gentleman came to me and gave a 2 Euro coin. I was quite surprised as I did not expect such a kind gesture. Thanking the person, I went on to buy the ticket.
Once I got back to my stop, I realized a new problem. I did not bother to take a street map from India as I was sure that I can ask people the way to the hostel. But there was no one in the streets to ask on a cold winter Sunday morning! Dragging my 20 kg suitcase and 7 kg of hand luggage I went on to find my hostel! Soon all sorts of thoughts came to my mind, did I get down in the wrong stop? Or maybe I should walk a bit further?
Second act of Kindness
Suddenly I got a tap on my back! I looked back and an old lady was smiling at me. I said hello and she nodded back. Without warning, she took away my suitcase and showed with her hands to follow. I was too surprised to say anything and followed her obediently like a child. Now after the initial shock was gone, I looked at her. She must be in her 70’s and not properly dressed for the cold as if she hurriedly came out from her room. I tried to take the suitcase back from her but her firm hand made me feel that she wants to keep dragging it. After walking for few minutes, we came in front of a building (which was the hostel) and she showed me with her hands to go in. I could not find it as it was kind of hidden and the word hostel was written in German.
After showing me the way, she immediately she started to walk back in the direction she came. She did not even wait for my thanks as if it was her job to help me.
I have often wondered why did she help me? The only answer I can find is “because we all are humans” She did not speak a single word but without saying a word, she communicated the biggest message.
I never saw her again and now after so many years I do not even remember her face but I will always remember her message.
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