Thursday, February 01, 2007


The other day on while on the bus on the way home from Kingston I witnessed 2 random acts of kindness. The first was bestowed on a man who stood up in the center aisle of the bus and started preaching. Now this is a fairly common occurrence because bus riders are a pretty captive audience, since they don't really have anything else to listen to and are rarely going to leave until they reach their stop. But the man soon revealed that he wasn't really a preacher, in fact he wasn't exactly even a Christian. This was a bit amusing and it seemed that his conscience had gotten the better of him. He started out with the typical preaching beginnings "Good evening in the name of Jesus Christ ..." and then stopped and decided to fess up. But eventually he got to the point, what he really wanted was some money for food. Now I didn't have any smalls (small change) handy or I might have given it to him because at least he was being honest, and fessing up about not being a devout Christian in Jamaica is a pretty big deal. But I did notice that a few other of the passengers gave him some coins and then the women sitting across the aisle from me did a very impressive thing. She opened up her bag and removed a box lunch (a styrofoam container of cooked food) and gave it to the man. Now this was probably her dinner that she was carrying home and I couldn't help but be touched by this kindness. And I also couldn't agree more that giving the man actual food was probably much better than giving him money because then you knew he would be eating a proper meal that night.

Well it wasn't a few minutes later that this woman's kindness was repaid to her. As we were turning onto the causeway the woman made a loud exclamation. She realized that she had missed her stop because she certainly wasn't expecting to be on the bridge heading towards Portmore. Well there must have been 10 people trying to help this lady out, they were yelling at the driver asking him to stop so she could walk back and they were inquiring as to this lady's destination and trying to come up with alternate routes for her to take. Pretty much everyone sitting around her jumped into action and came to her assistance, truly concerned that she get where she need to go. In fact when we finally reached the next stop at the Portmore Mall I even saw persons stand up and look out the window to make sure that she headed in the right direction to get the next bus back to Kingston. And this is something I have often seen in Jamaica, whenever you ask someone for directions or assistance whether you know them or not they will often go out of their way to help you.

There is something refreshing about seeing persons come to the aid of others and even though I had not been personally involved in either act I felt very satisfied that the beggar had gotten a good supper and the women had gotten back to where she needed to go.


1 comment:

Scribblings said...


One of the most jarring realites I've had to face as a Jamaican, now living in New England, has been the lack of geniune warmth and caring from people you encounter daily. I guess I was spoilt by Jamaican kindess all these years and the absence has been truly a culture shock. I hope your PC experience will give you more warm revelations.