Kindness is a human virtue that may not always conform to logic, but it is a valuable part of being in a community. Today, 13 November 2020, we celebrate that virtue on World Kindness Day with a few examples of the good deeds our Flowstars have witnessed and benefited from.
“I would like to share how I have grown up with a mom who goes over and above the call of duty to make sure we treat every human being with respect and kindness. My mom has been cooking and feeding homeless people in the Pretoria city centre, particularly the foreign nationals who live right outside the Home Affairs offices in the CBD. She goes there religiously every Sunday afternoon and has been doing so for the past 15 years.
“She has taught me to be kind to people who need it the most; I try to lend a helping hand whenever I can and I would like to pass that down to my daughter. Now that I’m back in Pretoria, I will be joining her and helping her cook and get supplies. I hope Wavhudi will pick that up and learn to be kind to anyone who needs it.” – Mohau Ravhudzulo, account manager
“I’ve experienced many acts of kindness during my life, but it’s the ones performed by total strangers that stick with me most. Like the off-duty traffic official who saw a then eight-months-pregnant me standing in a never-ending queue to renew my car licence as he was driving out of the parking lot. He turned back, fetched me from the queue and took me into an office with a chair where he helped renew the disc.
“Fast-forward six years, and cue another off-duty stranger and a car incident. A doctor who had just finished his shift at a local hospital was driving behind my kids and me when he witnessed a vehicle skipping a red light, side-swiping my car in the process and sending us on a rollercoaster flip that ended with my Jeep on its roof. Not only did he stop and administer first aid, but when the ambulance he’d called took too long to arrive, he loaded us into his car and drove us to the hospital himself. I still think of him whenever I drive past that specific intersection – and hope he enjoyed the thank-you basket I sent him afterwards.” – Edwina van der Burg, head of content
“I believe that small acts of kindness can change the world. I make it my duty to show kindness to others whenever I can. I love the feeling of knowing that I’ve done something nice for someone. So many people have been so kind to me throughout my life. I don’t think I would have come this far without it. There have been big gestures and small acts of kindness, all of which have affected me greatly.
“A few years ago, I was driving my daughter to school when the driver of a Blue Ribbon bread delivery truck started reversing, in traffic, towards me. The driver had seen that a back tyre on my car was flat and reversed his truck so he could alert me to it. I had not even noticed the flat tyre. And then when I was standing on the side of the road, not knowing where to even start to replace the tyre, a tow truck driver drove past, made a U-turn, stopped and changed the tyre for me.
“And then there was the time when I went in to hospital to have a tumor removed, and my family was not there to hold my hand and be with me. A very dear friend came to the hospital with me, and stayed right there until I was wheeled out of the hours-long surgery.
“Not to mention my neighbours who often mow my lawn and clean my garden when they’re out gardening in theirs.” – Melanie-Ann Feris, social media manager and content producer
“I’ve had so much kindness shown to me throughout my life. I’ve been lucky enough to have had kind bosses, kind colleagues and kind relatives. One huge act of kindness that has impacted my life forever in a positive way was my parents paying for a good education at school (St Mary’s in Waverley, Johannesburg) and at the University of Cape Town, and then paying for me to do a master’s degree in journalism in Montana, in the United States.
“I remember my mom telling me that I would learn so much more about South Africa by seeing it from the outside and would love my home even more, and that’s exactly what happened. I will be forever grateful to my mom and dad for giving up what they did to afford for me to study as long as I did, and in the wonderful places I did. I’m trying to do the same for my children, and I’m so proud that Flow is sponsoring a smart young woman to attend St Mary’s.” – Tara Turkington, CEO
“I was living in Durban at the time, and had a fair distance to walk from home to the closest public transport area. As I left the house, I randomly met one of the neighbours and we got talking. It began to pour with rain. I was late for an appointment at that point and fed up with life. This neighbour then offered me a lift to the taxi station, and I had an awesome chat with him and his son in the car. While at the station, I was still under my literal and figurative rain cloud, and then a random stranger offered me his second umbrella that he had stowed away in his bag. I was amazed at the absolute random kindness that was shown to me on that day, and to those two men: thank you for how you treated the rain-soaked, angry-looking woman that Saturday morning many moons ago.” – Nadia Moore, content writer
“Once I was in a line in a hospital pharmacy to fill a prescription. Usually my medical aid would pay for everything, so I would just pick those pills up, but they changed the rules and I had a R40 co-payment. But because I was not expecting to pay, I had not brought my purse. The woman behind me leaned over and handed me R40. I said, ‘No, no, I’ll just come back,’ but she insisted. ‘Just do something nice for someone else today,’ she said, in the true spirit of paying it forward. How lovely!” – Sue Blaine, senior writer and editor
“Once, for completely no reason, Tara, our CEO, gave me a pair of socks that said, ‘I am a delicate f****** flower.’ They’re still my favourite socks today!” – Caroline Smith, head of PR
In the same spirit of Sue’s kind stranger of paying it forward, we hope you do something kind for someone today – even if it’s as simple as giving a compliment, expressing appreciation for someone who deserves it or showing yourself some kindness. We hope the artwork pictured above, by Flow designer Cara Wares’ favourite kindness illustrator, Charlie Mackesy, will put a smile on your face.