Random Acts of Kindness

It was a cold, dark January Saturday night, I was alone at home and feeling a bit sorry for myself and no amount of Emily in Paris could get me out of my funk.

I had gotten into the habit of muting my neighbours’ WhatsApp group because most of the time it’s filled with chats about cats and kids, and I don’t have either of those. But on this particular Saturday night, due to an update on my phone, the neighbours’ WhatsApp started blasting out messages.

One of my neighbours was experiencing chest-related symptoms, she wasn’t sure if it was a panic attack or a heart attack. She lives alone and so sought help from her downstairs neighbour. They called an ambulance, but it was going to take over an hour to arrive, so they were advised to prepare for the worst-case scenario and find the nearest local defibrillator.

So they put out a call for help on WhatsApp.

I was snuggled up in bed, but I couldn’t ignore these messages. It turns out there is such a thing as public defibrillators and we have one on our road at the entrance to a maternity clinic! I volunteered to go and get said defib, with the caveat that I had no idea what it looked like or how to use it. Another neighbour with better defibrillator knowledge than me also volunteered, so off we trotted, M&S PJ’s underneath our coats – not all superheroes wear capes.

We successfully arrived and delivered the defibrillator as the ambulance pulled up with the kindest and calmest crew just 20 mins after the call was placed.

That night, I learned a lot. I realized that on a lonely Saturday night, I could make a difference in someone’s life. I met a new neighbour, even though she wasn’t feeling her best, and reconnected with an old neighbour as we went on our life-saving mission. I learned that there is such a thing as public defibrillators, the next thing to do is learn how to use one.

I also learned not to be grumpy and mute my neighbours’ WhatsApp group. This was proof that it’s not just all about kids and cats, occasionally there are opportunities to step in and help someone in need and be part of a much-needed community.

As I am writing this, the breaking news on WhatsApp is that we are getting a coffee shop on our road, can’t think of a better way of bringing neighbours together, and if they make a super strong blend, at least we now know where the defib is.