The Benefit Of Kindness
The Daily Stoic for October 17th, “The Benefit Of Kindness”.
“A benefit should be kept like a buried treasure, only to be dug up in necessity. . . . Nature bids us to do well by all. . . . Wherever there is a human being, we have an opportunity for kindness.” —SENECA, ON THE HAPPY LIFE, 24.2–3
I’ve mentioned before how making a good deed for a random stranger really lights up your day. It makes you feel better, and it’s contagious. Other watching you will definitely feel better and feel more inclined to do a good deed for others.
The Benefit Of Kindness
As an example, yesterday I needed to get back to Madrid via train but, to get to the train station, I needed to take two different buses. When I was at the bus stop I realized I only had 1€, and the bus did cost 1,85€.
This initial bus stop was far away from the city center. There were no ATMs nearby so, until I got to the second bus stop, I won’t be able to get enough money for the ride. While I was thinking about that, the bus stopped and I got in. I described the situation to the bus driver and offered to pay him any possible way. In Spain -specially at the south- you cannot pay by credit card, only cash.
The bus driver was really kind and told me “give me all the money you carry and you can get in”. So I gave him 1€ and took the bus.
… And Karma Strikes Back
Then I got down, thanking him, and went straight to the ATM before going to the next bus stop. After getting 20€ and being robbed by Santander 5€ in fees (never get your money out of a Santander ATM if you use Revolut) I went to the second bus stop and waited for the second bus.
In my mind, there was only one thought: I was going to pay 0,85€ extra to the second driver to pay back for the favor of the first one.
When I got in, the driver told me that they don’t accept 20€ bills. This person was really awkward. I had the money, my debit cards, and a small fortune in bitcoin on my Ledger, but the man didn’t allow me to get in the bus.
I had to actually go to a pub nearby, buy a bottle of water, and get change to have coins to pay the next bus, that arrived 40 minutes later.
Apart from the obvious archaic public transport system in Spain, the lesson here is: there are kind people, and awkward people. The second driver could have taken my money, as he had plenty of change. Even if I had have to carry hundreds of coins, it would have allowed me to get to the station comfortably instead of running because I was going to miss the train.
I definitely want to be part of the first group of people, not the second one.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The Benefit Of Kindness”, teaches us an important lesson. It’s important to be kind and nice to people, even the ones you don’t know. Because when you need that kindness, it’s good to meet someone like the first driver I met, not the second one.