The Kindness Pandemic

22 June 2020 | Posted In: #135 Winter 2020,

In March, a Facebook forum was established to help unite Australians whose lives had been impacted by COVID-19.  As well as providing a platform upon which people could post words of encouragement and support, the forum also served as a record of the little acts of kindness that took place across Australia.

I met an elderly lady in the parking lot at the grocery store when this all just started. Everyone was not knowing what to do. I hadn’t got a mask yet. I did my grocery shopping and was using paper towel to touch things. As I went to put my shopping in my car, the older lady started talking to me. She explained she made hand sanitisers and she had a box of plastic gloves. I offered to pay her as she didn’t look like she had much. But she wouldn’t hear of it. God bless her, and I’m still using the sanitiser in my car! — Jilayne

I got a phone call from my daughter and she was crying; my first thought was that she had been in a car accident. But once she calmed down enough that she could talk, she told me she had stopped at the traffic lights while driving, pulled down her sun visor and this massive Huntsman spider the size of a hand jumped on her. She pulled over into a side street and kept telling me she couldn’t get back in the car. Next minute — and much to her relief — a lovely couple came out of their house and helped remove this spider. When she got home, I told her she should drop some chockies into their letter box and she replied she already had. Thank-you to that couple who helped my daughter — and on a side note — I think the spider was sick of being in iso and just wanted to go for a drive, too. — Megan 

As a wheelchair user, I really notice and remember random acts of kindness that happen to me. I was out buying a coffee, intending to drink it in the sun at the park nearby, but I reversed into a pole that I didn’t see, and dropped my coffee on the ground. A guy who was also in the queue behind me saw what happened and came up to me and handed me the coffee he had just bought himself and said, “Here, take this coffee and go and sit in the sun.” I was stunned by his generosity. — Elana

 Today was my little fella’s seventh birthday. No birthday party this year. But when we went out the front this morning to wave Dad off to work, we found our front fence decorated with seven balloons and a beautiful “Happy Birthday” sign. Our beautiful neighbour, who is 72, snuck over last night and decorated the fence without managing to somehow disturb a single crazy dog in the street! It absolutely made my son’s face light up — and me cry! Feel so thankful and loved. — Rebecca

Our daughter turned seven today and our beautiful neighbour balloon-bombed our tree as a special iso birthday surprise. Kindness and joy everywhere you look. — Stacey 

Today is week three of home-schooling my grade oner (he needs me there one-on-one or nothing gets done). I have an eight-week-old with terrible colic and a four-year-old to keep happy, too. Anyways, I was speaking with my best friend on the phone because it had all become so overwhelming and I wasn’t coping well. Everything just became too much, and I started crying hysterically. I told my friend I’d call her back because I was so upset that I couldn’t speak properly. Fifteen-minutes later, my friend calls back and says for me to open my front door. I did and this angel had my favourite iced coffee from McDonald’s delivered to my door. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it really made my day. I am so thankful to have such an amazing friend. — Stephanie

 I thought I would share my story of meeting this beautiful lady. Yvonne is 93 and lives independently. I was visiting one of her neighbour’s just before the isolation and her son and daughter in-law were just leaving. I said hello and we started to chat. They said they were from out of town so I offered my phone number in case I could assist Yvonne if needed. Yvonne called me a few weeks later and now I visit once a week to do her shopping and pay her bills. She is the most beautiful, funny lady and it brings me so much joy seeing her each week. I’m the winner here and I can’t wait until we can spend more time together when things settle. — Kim 

Today I was forced to use a public toilet — ahhh!! After I went to wash my hands, I found there was no soap — AHHH!!! I let out a groan of frustration. There was another woman in there and she promptly whipped out sanitiser from her handbag and poured a big blob on my hand. I thanked her for giving up some of her scarce and precious sanitiser for a stranger. She then explained she is germ-phobic (even before the pandemic hit) and her daughter had dragged her out as she finds it difficult to leave her home. What kindness from a person obviously going through her own very difficult time. — El

Earlier today, there was a knock on my door. The lady at the door introduced herself, said she moved into the apartment across the hall about six weeks ago and had been busy baking to keep herself occupied during iso. She told me that she wanted to introduce herself to her new neighbours and share the baked goods she had made. This virus is terrible, the economy is in real trouble and people are hurting. But it is also bringing out the very best in many people. So thank you lovely, new neighbour. Your kindness means the world to me right now. — Felicity

Today, she told me about an elderly resident with dementia that she looks after at work, on night duty, who happened to comment on mum’s perm and how she liked her curls, and how awful she was feeling about her own hair. Because of the current restrictions, the hairdressers haven’t been able to come out to the aged-care facility. So, last night, mum decided to take this lady to the salon they have there. She found some curlers to put in her hair, pulled the dryer out and put her under it. She said the smile on this woman’s face after it was done was priceless, and that the woman felt so much happier. Sometimes, it’s the smallest things you do for someone that mean the absolute world. — Emma

I work very much on the COVID-19 frontline in healthcare and my beautiful friend Hazel is going to make me some pretty scrub caps for work so I don’t have to wear the disposable shower caps that I’ve been wearing the last few weeks. So today I called into Spotlight in full scrubs to buy my cap fabric on the way to work. I was chatting to a lady, Bronwyn, in line behind me who had asked what the fabric was for. As I went to pay, she came up beside me, tapped her card on the machine, and thanked me for all the work I do. One lovely deed from a friend. One lovely deed from a stranger. My heart is filled with gratitude. — Jenny

My husband and I both tested positive to COVID-19. He stayed positive for 42 days) and was therefore in quarantine for a whole six weeks. On our first day of freedom, we went for a walk and on the way home a neighbour gifted me this beautiful rose in a pot. It’s now planted next to our front door as a reminder that there is kindness all around us. — Dianne 

Today I chose to have a bed-rest day and do what I do best: Facebook, nap, watch trashy TV, nap, watch the world through the double-glazed windows, nap … and repeat. I have a very kind and available maxi-taxi driver, Salim, who is currently observing Ramadan. But today, as he knew I was having a bed day, he dropped by my house with a large latte and a warm Middle Eastern cheese pastie, even though he’s fasting for the day. How’s that for an act of kindness? — Alex

Had to go to the store today to get my daughter’s meds refilled. I had my five-year-old son with me rocking one of his Spider-Man masks his grandma had made him. While standing in line, a man came up and asked where we had gotten it. His son, also five, loves Spider-Man and the only mask they had for him were adult sizes that didn’t fit. After explaining where the mask had come from, the man looked sad. My baby boy then took off his mask and handed it to him. He told him he had two others at home and his son needed to be safe too! I stood there tearing up and so proud of my little man. — Leah

 I was sitting in my loungeroom tonight when I noticed someone walking down to the side door of our house, then running away. I was perplexed, so I go to check the steps and some kind and lovely soul dropped off a tub full of food. Later, a neighbour came walking past with her dog asking if we got the parcel okay. Such a beautiful person to do that! Especially knowing we’ve got a full house with seven people living here. Made our day! — Grace

After my gorgeous 12-year-old daughter realised how sad people were about missing Anzac Day she decided to make some poppies out of egg cartons. She left them on our front porch for her grandparents to collect and hand out to their friends. Oh, my heart! — Marni

 We live in a beautiful village in the Clare Valley, South Australia, and are very fortunate to have an award-winning restaurant in the town. Whilst the owners are going through a challenging time personally — they’ve had to close the restaurant — the husband and wife team have been generously cooking up over 120 restaurant quality, free meals for the community once a week using their kitchen garden produce. This has also encouraged others locally to donate produce to them and has inspired a wonderful community spirit. Such special people — how blessed we are to have you in our lives! — Angela

 I had a lovely thing happen to me yesterday. I went out to my small local corner store and I realised I left my EFTPOS card at home. I noticed the store had toilet paper! I got a bit excited as I hadn’t seen any toilet paper anywhere for ages. I said to the lady who was waiting with me. “Oh, they have toilet paper, but I haven’t got my card with me. I’ll have to come back.” She said: “I want to buy it for you.” And she did! A 12-pack of double-length rolls. Thank you, lovely lady. Bless you. — Raelene

I was so proud of my husband tonight. A man at the supermarket was struggling to pay the last $6 of his shopping. He didn’t have much except some baked beans, a loaf of bread and two-minute noodles. He went to put the baked beans and the bread back. My husband then said to him: “Mate, is this all you have to eat — for how long?” The man replied that the food needed to last him a fortnight. My husband paid the outstanding $6 — then gave him the food in our trolley. I nearly cried because after 27 years of knowing him, hubby still surprises me. — Michelle

 I’m a primary school teacher. I was also diagnosed with stage four cancer at the time this pandemic started. When a family of one of my 4-year-old students found out, they surprised me with a gift of $10,000! They were saving for a family vacation but wanted me to have it instead. It was such a beautiful act of generosity and kindness. — Dawn

 Like so many others lately I recently lost my job, so I’m hanging on to every dollar and haven’t visited my local shops for nearly a month. I’ve planned ahead — so I’m not starving. But I was deeply touched when a box of beautiful veggies was delivered to me this morning — anonymously — from a friend. I know who she is, and I’m beyond grateful for her thoughtfulness. — Katie

Our boys (10 and nine) noticed the local Girl Guides hall hadn’t been mowed for a while (usually done by volunteers). So, after mowing our half acre block of land they popped across the road to mow their block as well. Incredibly proud of our hard-working and selfless young boys. — Tracey [KindMowing]

 My father was buying some seedlings and an avocado tree at a hardware store. He was almost in tears as he told me that, when he approached the counter to pay, the staff member informed him the lady before him had paid for his plants — including the avocado tree. He apparently had made a comment about hoping he had enough cash on him to pay for everything. This wonderful lady obviously heard him. Dad said this act of kindness made his week. — Miriam

Someone put $40 in my letterbox overnight — no note, no explanation, nothing. I’ve been out of work since March. The events industry shut down and I lost all my freelance contracts. Forty dollars might not seem like much, but it goes a decent way on groceries. So thank-you kind stranger — whoever you are! — Matt

 Our 16-year-old son played The Last Post for all the neighbourhood this Anzac Day. It brought tears from one of the neighbours, who has never missed a march. Afterwards, he came over to express how much it meant to hear it being played live right near his home on this special day.
We had never met him before today. — Leesa