Sunday, 2 September 2012


Altruism is is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness. According to Wikipedia it is also a motivation to provide something of value to a party who must be anyone but oneself. And I experienced such an altruistic gesture today that I feel compelled to talk about it. In comparison to my previous blog post, which left such a nasty taste and general icky feeling in the house, it is a pleasure to tell you about the act of random kindness from a stranger.

Yesterday, whilst out on a family walk to our Garlic Woods, we bumped into a woman with two beautiful dogs and got talking. The playful puppiness of the Golden Labrador and silky long ears of the Spaniel had the children in giggles, and squeals of delight as stick after stick was thrown. Chat, chat, chatting and more early morning pleasantries were swapped and somehow we talked about A learning to ride a bike. Out of nowhere this woman, who we had known for 10 minutes, offered to teach A how to ride, telling us that she had a passion for bikes and would like all kids to know how to ride them. You could say that this was perhaps not a true altruistic gesture as she gained some pleasure from teaching or wanting children to ride bicycles, but honestly, I was astounded and slightly dumbfounded and took her up on her generous offer.

So early on a Sunday morning, in slight drizzle and September mistiness, we met at a playing field. Bang on time, the lady turned up and gave over an hour of her time teaching A how to ride a bike. She must have gone up and down the field nigh on twenty times. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, A grinning and confidently riding at least 50 metres by herself. I tried to offer money, wine and sincere gratitude but she really was genuinely pleased to help and wanted nothing in return - and rode off in puff of wind seemingly, like Mary Poppins or some other such, lovely fairytale character.

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