December can be a time of complete excess so I’m undertaking the December kindness challenge to try to give back to the world. This first full week has been interesting – it definitely ended up in a strange way and not how I thought it would at all!
Monday (Day 4) – Give money to a homeless charity for each bed in your house.
Giving money has always been an easy-peasy one to do but can make a big difference. I decided I wanted to support the local homeless shelter that does work in my immediate area – Shelter from the storm. They are open all year around the provide services for free relying just on donations and volunteers. I’ve set up a standing order with them so I’ll be donating each month towards the brilliant work they do. I’m also going to look at putting in some volunteer shifts with them.
Tuesday (Day 5) – Count how many people you smile at
Londoners might have a reputation for being miserable but I think it’s just ‘Resting-Travel-Face’. I definitely lost count of my smiling but I think I spend most of my day smiling anyway. Smiling is brilliant.
Wednesday (Day 6) – Do something helpful for a friend or family member
I did this one by doing a chore for my partner that was meant to be ‘his’. He had said he would do it but also had a lot of other things to get done as well, so I happily took this thing off his plate. He was grateful and it definitely made me feel good to have helped him. I would have done this one regardless of the calendar.
Thursday (Day 7) – Pick up leaves or litter in your local neighbourhood
Going to straight up confess that I completely failed at this one. Is it okay to pop it in the kindness bank and do it at a later date? As I walked to work, I did notice just how much litter there is which is likely a side effect of the lack of bins. So yeah, pure fail – I just didn’t have the time. Or gloves.
Friday (Day 8) – Say something positive to everyone you meet today
Yeaaaaahh, again, not going to lie – this one did not go so well. This was the day after the Office Christmas Party. I was a teeny tiny bit hungover and very tired from a late night on a ‘school’ night! I was definitely at least pleasant to people but some positivity spreading office angel I was not – although to be fair I think most people were pleased to be left alone.
Saturday (Day 9) – Buy some extra items and donate them to the local food bank
I found out that our local food-bank is not too far away and is unfortunately well utilised. We didn’t actually need to go food shopping (or have time to) but I do now know where their permanent food drop off point is and the sort of things that they require most so I’m going to make sure I drop things off when we next go food shopping.
Sunday (Day 10) – Give Clothes, Blankets or toys to others that may need them
So, this one, I did in a way that I never expected – inviting a stranger in need to spend the night on our sofa. So it didn’t happen because of this challenge, but it was such a random night.
We were on our way back from a night out in Soho. We often walk from central to ours because we enjoy the exercise and fresh air. We bumped into a very distressed man about 15 minutes from Kings Cross. He seemed disoriented and revealed he was from Cambridge but had been on his stag do in London and his mates had ditched him. He had lost his wallet, his phone was out of battery and generally had no idea where he was. He was insanely trying to walk to Cambridge (or at least the M11 to hitch a ride!). He did have his wife-to-be’s phone number so we managed to get in touch with her and reassure her everything would be okay. We helped him walk back to Kings Cross but the last trains had long gone and taxi’s that far are prohibitive. With no more trains for at least 5 hours, the temperature at a lovely 0 degrees and no where else for him to go, it was clear that we couldn’t just leave him. We brought him back to ours, made sure he was warm, got him some water, and got his phone on charge. Risky move for sure – inviting a random street stranger in to your flat for the night, but he came across as a very genuine guy who just really needed someone to help him for this small moment of his life. In the end he managed to get himself on to a train to Cambridge in the morning and everything ended up happy – he was a brilliant house guest. It was his wedding today so I really hope they had a lovely ceremony!
Here’s to another 7 days of kindness coming up!