On Wednesday, I was having dinner with a friend when I received a call from a total stranger. He informed me that my wife Ruth had fainted at a carpark in the neighbourhood while walking our dog.
We immediately rushed to the carpark to find about half a dozen people surrounding her. I could see that they were not just curious bystanders. Many were actively helping her.
Ruth was by that time alert and seated on the kerb, with a doctor attending to her. There was also a nurse.
A man offered Ruth his bottle of water, and others were looking anxious for her well-being and asked how they could help.
All were strangers in the neighbourhood who chanced to be sharing the common space at the same time, which was very fortunate for Ruth.
It could have been tragic if she had fainted in the dark alone.
Ruth said she had felt faint and sat down at the kerb.
Then she had the sensation of fading away into darkness, and she heard a shout as she was falling backwards. Someone then held her up before she hit the ground.
These neighbours by chance chose to be friends by choice. They stopped to attend to her.
It was a timely neighbourly act of kindness that saved her from hitting her head and other consequences.
Who says we are not innately kind? My wife and I are very thankful that kindness stepped up when she needed it.
I hope we will express our kindness all the time in good as well as in bad situations.
It makes a whole world of difference and, in her case, could have meant the difference between life and death.
William Wan (Dr)
Singapore Kindness Movement
First published in The Straits Times – September 9, 2016