I’m no Christian, but I do believe in that “do unto others” shit. Be the good that you want to see in the world, that’s what they say, isn’t it? I’m all about that. I’ve always been about that, except when I was quite small, and something of a racist only child.
But! That aside, I’m into being kind. I’ve told you this before – it’s hardly a newsflash. I tell my children – every night, before they go to sleep – to be brave, and to be kind. They can do what they want (within State laws), provided they’re brave and kind. And they take their shoes off at the door. And they don’t touch my fucking windows. But apart from THAT, just be kind, kids!
Recently, this whole kindness thing has gone next level. Not with my kids, they’re still selfish little fuckers, but with my friends. And that, subsequently, has been passed on to acquaintances, and then the nice lady in the post office. Turns out that kindness is contagious! Who knew?!
It started a few weeks ago. I got a new job – which I’ve harped on about endlessly; forgive me – and, instead of a contract in the post, I received a pretty posy of flowers. That rocked. I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to receive a bunch of blooms delivered to my door. I loved that.
Because of that warm, bloom-induced glow, I sent a similar posy to a friend of mine who’d just had some shit news. That seemed to cheer her up, and cheering her up felt good. I decided there and then to do more cheering up, when necessary.
That got the ball rolling, and suddenly, within days, small gifts of kindness were pinging their way across the country, back and forth, here and there, amongst my friend group. This. Felt. Ace. I had a bad week, and found small packages of beads, chocolate and body scrub on my doorstep (separate packages – that’d be quite a random gift hamper), all accompanied by sweet little notes of support. You can’t do that on Facebook. You can show support, but you can’t repair a battered old doll, and hand it back with a bottle of wine and a scented candle. That’s above and beyond. That shit changes the world.
In return, we – Paul and I – sent out our own little gifts. A four-pack of beer for a work chum of Paul’s. A card for a kid whose mum said checked the letterbox every day, hoping for post. Profiteroles. Home-made sausage rolls. Hand-drawn pictures of recently deceased cats. You gotta think creative with this shit, but trust me, it feels good.
In a weird coincidence, as I was couriering sausage rolls across town, I was also listening to an old Scroobius Pip Distraction Pieces podcast, in which he was interviewing Danny Wallace. Do you know Danny Wallace? He’s a writer, sort of, and he’s done bits and pieces on telly, and for a while there I thought we were probably going to get married, because we lived near each other in East London and kept standing next to each other on the tube. ANYWAY, he wrote a book called Yes Man, and another called Join Me, in which he accidentally started a cult. I’d forgotten about this book, and about the impact it had on me when I read it in the early 2000s. Danny Wallace was telling Scroobius Pip that he didn’t really know what to do with his cult once he’d started it, so he settled on instructing his followers to commit random acts of kindness – or more specifically, random acts of kindness on a FRIDAY. Otherwise known as: Good Friday. Man, this took off. For a while there, there were enthusiastic folk running all over London doing nice things for surprised humans – and one con man, who scored a shit-load of money and a great story to tell down the boozer. Good Fridays – they warmed up cold London town, and changed my outlook on life, for a little while there.
I say – and hands up if you’re with me – we should bring back Good Fridays. Do nice shit for unsuspecting people who would benefit from nice shit. Make people smile. Don’t spend lots of money – draw a picture, write a card, pay for someone’s coffee, be really fucking effusive with your thanks when the post-office lady sorts out your driver’s licence. I mean, I don’t want to sound like Mother fucking Teresa here, but I’ve started leaving Facebook reviews for small businesses who offer a good service. Five stars! Costs nothing!
Little things – small acts of kindness – make a big fucking difference. Watch how they make people smile, and how you’ll smile in return. Go forth into Good Friday, lovely people, and report back!