I was in Grade two when I first witnessed my first act of generosity and kindness. It was not from a complete stranger, as many would expect, but from the same person who had carried me for nine months. My mom.
I don’t remember much about that day, what I did in class or what I had for lunch. But I do remember that it was a sunny day. Mom had just picked my sister and I up from school, like she always did, and we couldn’t wait to rush into the house and be away from the scorching sun. We were just about to enter the gate, my sister and I ready to sprint into the house and run all the way to our bedroom where we would play until dinner time, but then we heard a girl crying.
We turned around to see what could possibly be wrong. We saw a girl, a bit older than I am, struggle to walk the street, with her friends holding her hands on either side.
Mom’s initial reaction was to walk up to the group of kids.
“What is wrong?” she asked.
And after hesitating for a moment, the girl lifted her foot and showed mom her injury.
“She got hurt,” one of her friends said.
Right on the arch of her foot, a broken beer bottled tried to pierce through and blood oozed. I don’t know why I looked, but I was a little too curious for a kid. My body still cringes when I think about it and I can still feel her pain. You would too if you saw what I saw. However, there was no cringing in mom. She kept her cool the entire time, which surprised me and still does today.
She gently picked the girl up and sat her on the grass in our yard and attended to her foot. Like I said, I don’t know why I looked, but I did. And it amazed me how mom cautiously removed the bottle from the girl’s foot, not once squealing in fear. It also amazed me how something so big could go into someone’s foot. We didn’t have bandages at home, but I remember mom taking a piece of cloth from an old t-Shirt and wrapping it around the girl’s foot to stop the blood from flowing.
I assume she was feeling less pain, because the girl stopped crying and was up on her feet as mom walked her to the corner of the street.
I’ve forgotten how the girl looks, heck I didn’t even know her name. But I do remember how she never forgot mom’s generosity. Like someone she had known for a long time, she greeted mom whenever they crossed paths and it was pleasant to see that her foot had healed.
Now I know this is not the biggest act of kindness one could name, but it was for me, especially for a ten year old. I mean, mom has done a few greater things for people, but somehow this one small act lingers in my mind, and that is because it taught me that little gestures like these matter too.
Apart from the fact that it taught me how to treat a wound, this act showed me a concrete view of Ubuntu, something that I constantly heard of in class, but never saw. Secondly, it made me want to be like mom, to help people no matter how small the deed or how unfamiliar the person, and that it is indeed gratifying to be kind.