“Be Kind, for everyone is fighting a battle”

This is a quote I hold true to my heart. For many reasons.

Have you ever been frustrated by the driver who seems to take FOREVER to drive through a car park to park their car? It used to drive me crazy, when all I wanted to do was park the car, get into the shops to complete my shopping list.  In the past, particularly when the shopping centres were busy, I couldn’t understand why it would take people so long to vacate a car park – I was always in a hurry and parking my car was just step one of my long list of things to do.

This all changed for me one particular night, when the help of a random lady, saved me.She came to my aid when I was on the verge of suffering from a major panic attack, and as I said, she saved me. I doubt she even knew how vital her help was, the impact she had on me, but I will never forget it.

When I arrived with my four children at the local shopping centre, the car park was empty. I usually park miles away in the furthest car space possible (started with a weight watchers saying “The further away you park, the more exercise you get!”) but on this night, I thought it would be quicker to park closer! How wrong I was!

With the shopping done, four kids in tow, in the dark, we left the shops. The car park was no longer empty, it was completely full! We all loaded into the car while another car sat patiently for me to vacate the parking space.

It started to rain. Upon reversing my car, I realised that it was going to be a tight spot to get out of due to the surrounding cars being parked slightly outside their lines, making it difficult for me to safely reverse. This is when my PANIC started.

I was in a small car park (in a big car – an 8 seater to be exact, commonly referred to as a bus!), in the dark, in the rain, unable to safely judge the surrounding cars’ distances, with a driver waiting for me, becoming more and more frustrated.

I completely stopped. I was unable to breathe. I was trapped. There was no escape. I couldn’t move. I was sure I was having a heart attack and my children would watch me die. Tears were silently running down my face (thank goodness it was dark). The more the waiting driver beeped their horn, the more paralysed I became. All the while trying to ‘model’ a calm response, using breathing strategies, trying not to scare my children who were immediately sensing my intense fear and panic.

I don’t know how long I sat there. Three years maybe? Probably only a minute. I wound down my window to suck in some oxygen before I passed out, when a lady asked me if she could help. Standing in the rain, this angel from heaven, guided me out of the car park, letting me know how far I could reverse safely with each turn of the steering wheel.
I made it. Thanks to this anonymous lady, who swiftly went on her way without hearing my sincere out pour of gratitude and appreciation  ’Thankyou so much’.

What did I learn from this? Apart from the fact that I need reversing sensors on my car, and the reinforcement of parking furthest away is ALWAYS the best….I learned that random acts of kindness can literally ’save‘ others, and as the now frustrated other driver stopped waiting for me, screeching off to find another car park, I realised that he/she will never know the impact that their impatience had on me.

I pride myself in my practice of random acts of kindness, but never truly understood the potential impact of my actions. I can honestly say I am now far more considerate,understanding and forgiving of other people’s actions, motives and behaviour (both good and bad) and I now never underestimate the impact my behaviour, actions and words (both good and bad) can have on others.

Kindness is best reaction. That is all.

There’s a story behind every person

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