52 random acts of kindness that each take under 52 seconds. One action each week, over a year takes less than an hour of your life.
During the summer a young woman got on the bus, pressing her bus pass on the scanner and expected the beep of acceptance that usually came with such an action. Not this time. She did it again. No, not right. And again. The bus driver said she had no money on the card. She told him that that was impossible as she'd put some on that day. And while this discussion continued, she, he and a bus full of passengers were losing their patience.
I, valiantly, I thought, plucked a spare bus pass from my bag, made my way to the front of the bus and scanned it and happily heard the beep of acceptance which allowed us all to be on our way. The driver breathed a sigh of relief, the young woman thanked me, and I tried to avoid the smiles from various passengers saying, 'It happens.'
And it does. Things like this happen to us all and it makes it feel better when people help. Not even the help is necessarily important but the acknowledgement that we are not alone, or idiots or that the world isn't an inhospitable alien place.
Of course I could have done with being told that I wasn't an idiot minutes later when having done this 'heroic' deed (which I knew it wasn't but seemed to be treated as such) I realized that she had no proof of her ticket if an inspector got on as I had the bus pass. Perhaps she could take a picture of my pass and explain the situation. Or maybe the record of it on the scanner might be enough. I couldn't take a chance. What if my 'good deed' turned out to be the reason this young woman got a fine for fare-dodgeing?
So I decided to stay on the bus until she got off. She got off at the last stop.
Well at least I got my money's worth. And learned a valuable lesson. That a 'random act of kindess' can have unforeseen consequences...because it's random and not planned so the kindness may have to be thought about a little deeper or extended somewhat beyond the here and now.
So when we do good, perhaps we sometimes need to be prepared to do more good. Or the good will not be as good as we think.