When I first told people I was traveling solo, I was often met with concerns of safety; of queries of how I would get by with only myself to rely on and the dangers I might face traveling as a woman alone.
While all these concerns were and still are valid, I wanted to write a post showcasing the pure kindness of strangers. Yes, I am a trusting person, maybe more than some, but my faith in people has not been in vain. In fact, people have surpassed my expectations immeasurably. So I’m writing this mainly so that I don’t forget how these little things made me very happy.
Despite cultural, language and gender differences, there are a few instances that warm my heart. When you meet strangers (unless they creep you out), don’t judge them by what they look like or your preconceived notions of their reactions.
- London: this big and beautiful city has a reputation for rude commuters, and while I have experienced that side of the spectrum, I wanted to highlight the good of this city as well. Upon travelling to my place of residence, I was carrying a big suitcase into and off of a train and there were a few times when lovely gentlemen lifted or lowered my suitcases for me because I was juggling multiple items, despite being in a hurry themselves. It’s the small actions that matter.
- airport: I’m an admittedly petite woman with terribly lazy muscles (or lack thereof – I am no Popeye!) and I was struggling with getting my large suitcase down the stairs (due to the lack of an elevator) as it weighed as much as I did. One gentleman with his family saw this and came over and immediate took my suitcase down the stairs despite not knowing me or speaking any English.
- train: I was struggling with the ticket machine as well as navigating all the complex (to me) german station names, then two kindly people told me the best ticket to buy and the stop to get to my destination and when the train was coming.
- directions: Once I arrived at my stop, I asked a lady for directions. She was not certain of which way I should go so she hailed down a passing gentleman. He not only knew where I had to go but even offered to escort me there. I know, I know, it could have been bad, but he wasn’t creepy and it was a wide open public place in the middle of the day. He made sure my friend come down to meet me and only left after I was safely with her. Now that really is kindness for absolutely no gain.
- stopover: this was probably one of the most heartwarming moments of my trip. I had a 5 minute layover from bus to train and due to delays on the road, I was in danger of missing my train. I came across upon a station worker, and once he realized the predicament I was in, he took my suitcase, ran to the platform, asked me for my compartment, took me to the door and lifted my suitcase inside (before any of the people that had been waiting there previously), and wished me a good trip. I was floored, because he went above and beyond to help me out.
People are great, so don’t get caught up in this increasingly fear-mongering, divided world. Be cautious, be safe, and be responsible, but give people the chance to surprise you and to validate your faith in humanity.