She started crying… but they were tears of joy and gratitude.
I heard this story from friends of ours last month, when the Coronavirus crisis was just starting to hit in the UK.
Their daughter was in the queue in a local shop (maintaining a safe distance from other shoppers, of course). In front of her was an elderly lady who was trying to buy three loaves of bread, but was told she could only buy two.
She wasn’t being greedy: she was actually shopping both for herself and for some neighbours.
And she became highly agitated, knowing that none of them would be able to get to a shop again for some time – and might go without.
That’s when our friends’ daughter stepped in. She bought the extra loaf for this lady, prompting her grateful tears.
It was a tiny gesture, but in today’s stressful climate, this act of kindness meant the world.
I won’t deny it: I had a lump in my throat when my friends told me what had happened. Right now, we’re in a dark moment. Every day, more people are affected by Coronavirus, falling ill and even losing their lives. We are all worried about our own health, the health of our loved ones, and the health of this entire nation.
Meanwhile, everyone is shut at home, in lockdown, with all our normal routines disrupted and, often, children to homeschool and keep entertained as well.
Stress levels are through the roof, incomes are under pressure – and there is no clear indication of when things might go back to normal.
But if there’s any sort of silver lining to the current emergency, it’s that it is prompting a rush of good deeds and a sense of camaraderie, even amongst strangers.
Over the past week, I’ve also heard of another small but kind gesture from my colleague Alan, who – before the lockdown – met neighbours who he hardly knew, and heard from them that they couldn’t find Calpol for their child. The next day he was in central London, and popped into a chemist’s to find them some. "They were incredulous when I handed it over, because we really didn’t know each other,” he told me. “But the rush I got from giving it to them was even larger, because it clearly meant so much to them.”
And another colleague in our Guildford office, Jo, told me that she is part of a team of volunteers in her village, which has dropped in notecards with contact details for those in need. The most common response? People getting in touch to find out how they can help, too!
It’s heart-warming, isn’t it? Everyone wants to chip in and do their bit.
In this difficult time, I think we can all use some uplifting stories…
And that’s why I’ve decided that for the next few weeks, at least, I’m not going to email you about financial matters.
Rather, I’m going to be sharing with you inspirational moments…
…acts of kindness, and people going the extra mile to help their friends, neighbours and strangers.
And I’d like your help…
…because you doubtless have your own stirring stories.
So if you have a good example of someone going above-and-beyond to help others right now, please drop me a line and tell me about it.
I’d love to hear your story… and it might brighten our other readers’ day, too.
Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to share. And in the meanwhile, keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
PS. Many people are going through a challenging time financially right now, and I promise we are still here to help. For a series of resources on how to manage your finances during this crisis, please click here.
You will also receive regular financial tips and advice from the rest of the team at Punter Southall Aspire over email.
And of course, if you need more bespoke advice, our financial advisors are always here for you. Just get in touch and speak to our team.