A simple act of kindness

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Hello and happy new year from behind the lens.

The year that was 2020 was described surprisingly well in the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, written in 1859 by Charles Dickens. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” It was almost prophetic. Let’s hope that things start to improve soon and that 2021 is a better year.

During times of extreme need and uncertainty such as we’ve seen over the last 12 months or so, the kindness that people show to others is heartwarming. From the inherent courage, caring and kindness of frontline fighters (fire, police, rescue, medical staff) to volunteers in Lifeline, food trucks, and hostels, to the “everyday citizen” who will sit and write letters to people stranded at home with no contact during COVID, the list is endless, and far too broad for me to fully give credit in this piece of writing.

I would like to share a very small kindness that was shown to my Mum in “the spring of hope” that has just passed. It was a small thing that really gave her a sense of community and was no doubt repeated hundreds of times this year across all communities.

My Mum is 79 years old and has emphysema – not a good combination of risk factors during COVID, but she was determined that it wouldn’t stop her from doing as she pleased – like going to the supermarket, paying bills at the Post Office (she doesn’t like paying online), picking up a magazine, or going to the bank (to get the cash to pay the bills!). That was in the early days of COVID when no amount of lecturing or using scare tactics worked on her. She’s tough, like so many of her generation had to be.

Then one day the warnings from her family and the TV coverage did work, and she relinquished her freedom to shop when and where she wanted to, and stayed at home (most of the time). As summer approached it was time to book in the pest controller for the yearly spray at her house. This man has a long-standing relationship with Mum whereby he brings his sons to spray for bugs and spiders, and he and Mum drink cups of tea and share gossip and catch up on the happenings in their families. Not bad when there is a 20-year age gap. I’m sure they both look forward to it immensely.

This year they took a step to the top of Mum’s pedestal and will forever remain in that spot. It was something so simple, yet so purely kindhearted, that I actually think she might have popped them into her will to keep thanking them after she has gone to the “tea and gossip station” in the sky.

What could they have done? you ask. The simple act of kindness was this:

The morning that they were due to work at Mum’s place, Kyle rang Mum to let her know what time they would be there (and to let her know that his Dad, Steve, would arrive first – and possibly to have his cuppa ready), and before he hung up, he said to her “before I come to your place Mrs Ferg, would you like me pick up anything that you might need? Milk, bread, papers, groceries?” He explained to her that he would like to do this for her so that she wouldn’t be going out and risking her health during this unsafe time. Now, no doubt this offer would have been made to many of their clients – they make it their job to know a bit about each of them and form friendly relationships – but Mum didn’t think about that, she just thought about the kindness shown to her by a young man going about his daily work, who showed genuine care and concern for her wellbeing. She felt special, and humbled, and so blown away by his simple, but kind, gesture.

The number of people that Mum has told this story to (and now this includes you!) has done untold good to their business. It could be a marketing strategy if one were to be cynical in any way, but no! The fact is that Steve, Kyle and Connor from Don Watts Pest Control are the real deal – country boys who care and give back to their community. Human nature at its finest. Well done boys, and a huge THANK YOU from our Mum. You made her day and cemented her respect for you forever.

This type of offer from Steve and his boys is not a one-off. During COVID Kyle and his partner Kasey were also giving back to their community by asking people to nominate someone in need and they were giving them beautiful hampers of goods to help get them through a tough time, and to show some compassion to others. It’s not a marketing ploy or a way to get themselves noticed; it is simply and genuinely KINDNESS. Look these guys up if you live in the Dubbo area, and maybe drop them a “like” on Facebook to support their wonderful community spirit. (2) Don Watts Pest Control | Facebook

What acts of simple kindness have you witnessed that confirm your belief in community spirit?

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