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Show a little kindness and make me smile; Stylish. Sophisticated. Sassy. She can spell all these words.

Byline: Dawn Collinson

IAMA GREAT supporter of the random act of kindness.

You know, the little thing which happens when you're least expecting it - often at the hands of a total stranger.

Most people, I suspect, have good hearts but lack the opportunity to show them. So it's likely that if that chance occurs, they might just grab it.

The thing which stops more RAOK is that they may be either not appreciated or misinterpreted. If only we could be sure that our gestures would be well received, we'd probably be lashing them out left, right and centre.

For instance, as I was driving home from work the other day, in the pouring rain, I saw a woman standing with no umbrella at a bus stop. It crossed my mind that I should pull over and offer her a lift.

But then, hot on the heels of that thought came its antidote - the one which said, what if

A) She likes using public transport and lectures me on carbon emissions

B) She considers my offer horribly patronising, implying she can't afford a car and so gives me an ear-bashing, or

C) She has been driven to a homicidal rage by having wet sandals. In that split second, the moment for another RAOK passed by. And so did I. Of course I don't always adopt this attitude, and I have been know to venture the odd one when I've been pretty confident of avoiding a backfire.

But sometimes you never can tell. For the record, and for anyone who might be considering me a worthy recipient of a RAOK, let me make it clear - I'm ready when you are and will almost certainly be pathetically grateful.

Take Sunday, for instance, when I was on the receiving end of one as I was queuing to was hmy car at one of those self-service jet washes.

I normally get stuck behind the sad Charlie who's paid a tenner and is determined to get his full half-an-hour.

I arrive one minute in and have to wait interminably, listening to the radio and drumming my fingers on the steering wheel, while he waxes his wheel trims and buffs his number plate.

But not this time. This time I met a man who was a unusually chivalrous, a knight amongst polishers. And no, before you ask, it wasn't a pensioner.

I'm pleased to report he was actually rather good-looking and appeared to have his own teeth.

With five minutes left of his time, his ca was done, so he offered to wash mine.

I was thrilled. This isn't the sort of Thing which happens often. Like crisp snowy days, gentlemanly gestures are something of a rarity and so are to be made the most of.

While they are victims of global warming, for me it's quite the opposite. I am, it's fair to say, noticeably less hot than in the past.

Nevertheless, there it was my RAOK of the day. No apparent hidden agenda and if there was one then it remained hidden, so that was fine.

It made my day and made me wish I'd done mine.

Promise not to lecture me, shout at me or batter me to death with a soggy shoe and I might just stop next time.


DRIVE ON BY: But be kind ... and don't splash them!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2008
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