One of the interesting things about travelling and living in a variety of countries is interacting with people, be it as a long term friendship or as a quick brief encounter.
One of the things that has really caught my attention here is how strangers can be extremely kind. Kind for no reason and not wanting anything in return. I have three examples from recent weeks which have highlighted this. I must say I have not experienced this in any other country…..so far.
1) Bike Shop – I bought my fat bike from a local bike shop. After a few weeks of heavy use it needed the gears adjusting plus the front breaks were sticking. After around 45 minutes working on the bike, it was ready to go, when I asked how much, I was told not to worry about it. I returned a few days later with a puncture, once again, this was done free of charge and no matter how much I argued for them to charge me something, they wouldn’t accept a penny!
2) Children’s Play Area – We took Katja to the mall to buy her a couple of things for our flight to Australia, as we had some credit left on the card for the kid’s amusement park we took Kati in and let her have a play on a few things. As we were leaving she spotted one of the machines that you put credit on and it has an arm that you have to try and fish a toy from it, no idea what they are called but they are actually quite addictive! Anyway, Kati wanted a toy from it but after several attempts it was clear I was getting nowhere quickly. Out of the corner of my eye and to my left, I could see a lady (in full Qatari dress) using a similar machine next to me (this one had small footballs). This lady was obviously luckier than me or was better skilled at it. She managed to get a ball in a couple of attempts. She then called Kati over and very kindly gave her the ball!
3) The zip! – For her birthday, Kati was given an Elmo bag which she absolutely adores. She was very upset and sad when the zip on it broke. We took it to a shop in the mall and asked if they changed zips. The lady looked at it, called her colleague and told us to come a bit later as they weren’t sure of they could do anything. We came back about an hour later and he presto, the bag had a nice new zip. When I asked how much, they wouldn’t accept any money for the repair, they just smiled and said that’s OK sir, hope your little girl is happy!
Ever since arriving in Qatar we have encountered numerous acts of incredible kindness (some from strangers who we have never seen again, others from people who we are proud to call our new friends!
As my final entry for 2014, I shall leave you with this final thought:
“We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.”