Yesterday, a hysterical, sobbing, puffy-faced me found comfort in a 10-minute long conversation with a man I'd never met before. It got me thinking about the times in my life when I've been bowled over by the unexpected kindness I've seen in the people we think of as strangers.
  1. Frank and Linda
    We met so many wonderful people during our hitchhike to Morocco. People who wanted to help the charity we were doing it for, people who wanted to rescue us from the danger they assumed we would be facing, people who were just interested in people and wanted some companionship for their long, boring journeys. But, without a doubt, the kindest we met were the French couple who took us in on our first night. Their willingness to let us into their home left the three of us pretty bewildered.
  2. The sexy man at Pisa station
    This guy gets a shout out for giving me two euros and a kiss on the cheek when I found myself penniless and incredibly late for a flight from Pisa to Manchester. To be honest, he could very well have been a total dickhead - my encounter with him lasted about 2 seconds. At that moment, however, his gorgeous face and those shining coins were exactly what I needed to see.
  3. Megabus Martin
    I have a very complicated relationship with the Megabus. By 'complicated', what I mean is that I hate it more than life itself, but can't escape the fact that a ticket from Leeds to Birmingham costs literally a pound. On one of my many, many Megabus experiences, I found myself sitting next to an old, Nigerian pastor who was still pissed from a raging baptism he'd been to earlier in the day. He was pretty weird, but his presence made the smelly bus journey a whole lot more bearable.
  4. The bloke who walked with me that time
    When I'm drunk, I do stupid shit. I try to talk to the wrong people, I try to be sick in the wrong places, I try and walk home when getting a taxi would be far, far more sensible. This one night, there I am, stumbling through Leeds (cold, drunk, once again puffy-faced and sobbing), when this guy on his way home catches up and starts walking alongside me. I didn't feel like he was trying to be macho or overly chivalrous, he just recognised that I was a fucking idiot and could do with a pal.
  5. The man I met yesterday
    Besides the fact that we both like cigarettes and second-hand sandals, Vinoo and I had nothing in common. This mattered very little, however, when I met him outside St. Martin's church yesterday. I was feeling totally hopeless, my confidence in my own skills had been completely shaken. Vinoo's words reassured me that I wasn't alone and that we learn from every mistake we make. He was very cool. I hope I'll always remember the brief moment we shared.