This Saturday, I have miraculously managed to get out of bed despite the thick snowflakes out of my window and a sky so dark, my bed seemed more comfortable than ever.
Yet, I decided to try and do something for my future by attending a career fair at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the hope that my Political Science major is, after all, not as useless as all the economists and accountants around me think it is.
And while I was standing on the platform of the next train station, I witnessed what in today’s world seems like a great act of kindness, at least to me.
A few meters away from me stood a young man with what obviously looked like a blind man’s stick. The speakers above our heads had just announced that the next train would arrive on the opposite side instead of the one that all of us were facing. In that moment I watched as a woman came up to the blind gentleman and said in a soft voice: “I think the next train might have to change tracks, too. You should probably turn around to the other side. There might be no train on this one.”
The two of them exchanged a few words. I remember the woman telling the blind gentleman that he should let her know if he needed any help getting on the train.
When the train arrived (the young man decided to try and get along on his own) another passenger was so kind to make sure he wouldn’t hurt his hands when the door opened (he was trying to make out the doors by groping for it and was off to the side quite a bit when they were about to open). As we got on, another person got off her seat and led him to it carefully so he could sit down.
Most of you may think that doing something like this is common sense and in a way I do agree with you. However, in a daily life full of frustrated bureaucracy staff on the other end of the phone, of people who sometimes take your own kindness for bribery, of political crises and of people who are so tired they can only think about themselves, I found this so remarkable that it filled me with optimism for the rest of the day.
It was not too long ago after all, that I witnessed how no one bothered to wake up a sleeping passenger when everyone was asked to get out at the line’s terminal. The poor man just kept sitting there and woke up only as the train was in motion again, him being the only one inside.
Call me a pessimist but for a while I was afraid that no one would notice this young man on the platform this past Saturday. That he would just be left there to deal with his own fate (yes, of course I would have helped him if so) because everyone else would be too busy with their own stuff and I was tremendously relieved to see that this was not the case. That people are still able to look out for each other.