After a hard day's work and a rush through the friday night traffic I got home around 7pm. By 8:30 I was on my way to Basingstoke for a weekend of socialising with friends and stopped at a Shell station for fuel. When attempting to pay I inserted my debit card in the reader and it was promptly declined. I insisted there were ample funds in the account and suggested the teller tried inserting the card a second time. Declined again.
I asked directions to the nearest cash point and was told of a location 10 minutes walk away. Walk because I was told in no uncertain terms to leave the car at the station.
To say I was annoyed is an understatement. The inconvenience and delay I faced when I was sure it was the station's card reader at fault made it that much more irritating.
As I went to the car to get my jacket a young chap ran out of the shop and called me over. He offered to pay my bill and told me I could transfer the money later.
"But it's a fair amount of money, £42" I replied.
He said "that's Ok, no trouble" .
As we walked back into the shop I gave him my iphone to enter his phone number. We exchanged numbers and he paid my bill. I offered to transfer the money there and then but he said he was running late and on his way to meet his girfriend in Farnham.
James, a person I had never met before was trusting me to the point of incredulity. Despite my insistence he gave me a few minutes to transfer the money he again reitterated how late he was and that I could do that later.
We went our separate ways and I felt humbled and at peace with the world. The selfless act of a total stranger had turned an annoying incident into a pleasent one.
Later that evening, after telling my friends about James' act of kindness, I texted him, thanking him again for his kindness and asked for his bank details.
To my surprise James didn't reply until next morning. This is what he wrote:
"Morning Joe, not a problem at all, doesn't hurt to be human, just hope you got to where you needed to be. (account details) Have a lovely weekend buddy..."
I transferred the money and sent him a message of gratitude, to which he replied:
"thank you Joe, really appreciate that mate, couldn't just leave you stranded. Hope you have a good weekend mate, take care"
I had a wonderful weekend, thanks to James generosity. The prospect of walking through dark alleys in a strange neighbourhood at night in West London to an unknown cashpoint wasn't my idea of a good night out.
James, a stranger who offered to pay my bill so as not leave me stranded, has reinforced my belief in humanity. Kindness really is all around us.
Thank you James, once again, for being kind, generous, and most importantly, for demonstrating the special human quality I admire the most.