The kindness of strangers

How a little thing can mean a lot! We’ve had some strange requests during the past four weeks, but what was the most unusual thing you have been asked for in lockdown?

As the lockdown is set to continue for at least another three weeks it got me thinking about community spirit.

In the street where we live we have a WhatsApp group. At first it was for utter emergencies, people who were housebound with Coronavirus and self isolating, however over time it has changed. We have seen it grow into a group of strangers who live on the same street, to neighbours and friends who help each other daily. Even going as far as to clap along and have a sing song every week on a Thursday night, as we celebrate the heroes that keep the country running and us safe.

It seems every household on the street are happy to share, ready to help and happy for anyone to ask for support at a time when we are all in need.

But how do you define need? Need could be as simple as some bread or milk or the loan of a power washer, use up tins of spare paint. One neighbour has also started doing weekly egg runs to a local farm, organising deliveries from local Greengrocers and Fishmongers and if people can’t take bulk orders, there are happy to aggregate them and split the order amongst us.

But last Saturday on the group chat, we were asked if anyone had a VHS player. Now that’s a strange request.

A couple, who are currently in isolation, wanted to show a video of their other half skydiving to his partner who had never seen it.

We had an old TV with a built in VHS player (don’t ask how that was still hanging around in one of the rooms, it just was) and so I offered it as a loaner and we duly disinfected it. The TV was subsequently picked up on our doorstep and, from a safe distance, our neighbour said a loud ’thank you’.

We carried on throughout the afternoon, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards (oh, the joy of lockdown…) and never really thought any more about it. A few hours later on the group chat the TV was on its way back and, disinfected again, it reappeared once again on our back step. I said “you’re welcome” and that I hoped they had enjoyed it on the whatsapp group chat. It was the reply that made me cry and the reason I am now writing this blog. This was the reply..

‘I did! It was a video that has his late dad in, so, super special to be able to watch it with him as I never met his dad. So thank you for making that happen ❤️

Take a moment to let that sink in.

It’s taken isolation for us to be reminded of the kindness of a little thing, and how it can mean a lot to someone else. Strangers on our street are now neighbours, the good old fashion ones who looked after everyone else in the community. When this is all over, let’s not forget those who went above and beyond and brought back the old values we used to take for granted.