I had an incredible night of even just 2 incidents last night, they made me feel so bright, but mostly just bright about a little spark of kindness I was privileged enough to experience when so many things are happening in the world to make anyone feel down.
I was traveling back from my induction week for my new job with social enterprise Localgiving and needed to grab a taxi for the short journey to Victoria Coach Station in London, because of my bags. I was travelling to Edinburgh on the night bus and was chatting with the my taxi driver a little about what I did and where I was going on the sleeper bus. When we arrived at the station I realised I had very little change and so had to give the driver a £20 note. He asked if I had a fiver, but I apologised and tried to rumble around to see if I could work out something with the change I had. Instead though as I was counting 5 and 10ps, the driver handed me back my £20 and simply said:
"You go and get yourself a nice coffee or something for your bus journey, this one is on me."
I was stunned really and didn't really know what to say except thank-you of course, but I wondered why me? It was such a lovely gesture and I didn't quite know why I deserved it. Then on the bus, the driver who was the same one who drove me down from Scotland, gave me a spare pillow on the packed bus, just because it was there and it left me thinking 'why me?' again.
As my friend Celia pointed out to me however, I should pay it forward and I couldn't agree with her more. I've spent the day doing anything I can to do just that. I always think helping a mum with a pram on stairs is something everyone should do, so any time I see someone struggling with a pram I'll offer to help and I did so today in the train station in Edinburgh, then made sure an elderly lady didn't leave without her brolly off the train she almost left, given it was raining quite so much in Glasgow this evening, to which she thanked me, but she really didn't need to. I suppose if everyone paid it forward, the world would be a great place.
The biggest piece of luck, care and the best gift I have ever been given for free though, was my brain surgery that changed my epilepsy beyond belief on the NHS. It was such a huge gift to be lucky enough to one of the 5% eligible, that it made me think, "could I ever really pay that forward?" I wonder then if that's why I don't feel I've done enough to deserve to carry the Olympic Flame, but I'm so glad I paid that forward by gifting the Torch in trust to Ward 7 in the Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh. I hope, for the kids to take selfies with, or use apparently as the milestone for children re-learning to walk to at the end of the corridor. But it will never really be enough in my eyes, so I'm going to try and keep paying it forward by raising money and challenging the stigma of epilepsy through my cycling and anything else I can do frankly.
As for the the five pound taxi fare, well I did get a coffee, but it was out of my own pocket...
...the taxi fare has been match funded by me and inspired by the driver, has been donated to the London Taxi Drivers' Fund for Underprivileged Children.