The kindness of strangers

The kindness of strangers

This story really inspired me. Maybe it could occur in any city, but the fact that it happened in a metropolis as big as London, where most people are strangers to each other and generally keep to themselves, such an act gains even more significance. A memorable account.

Will Roberts, Second Year History:

‘When I was twelve, my family and me were staying in Marleybone in quite a nice hotel. One of our nights there, at 4pm, the fire alarm went off and everybody rushed outside. It was pouring down in torrents. My brother, who was about five years old at the time, was crying because the situation obviously overwhelmed him. We had to stand outside for a while and wait for the fire brigade to come and check whether everything was in fact in order.

All the while, a homeless man was standing in front of the hotel. Out of the blue he came up to us and said: ‘I have this umbrella for you. Take it and use it for your little child’, after which he went off without uttering another word. Reflecting on it now – us staying in that relatively costly hotel, and him living on the streets – and then that warm, kind act of him, without him expecting anything in return – that gesture really made an impression on me and still plays a role in my idea of London.’

Camilla Nieman