When we walked the pups last night, we saw Tess (the dog)’s dad. The three of us chatted whilst socially distancing ourselves and we were talking about the shopping fiasco we’ve got here at the minute with coronavirus. We said that the only thing we were struggling to find were eggs. He immediately said “we’ve got some, I’ll drop some off at your gate.” In the end, we walked back together and he ran in and got us 6 eggs! So nice of him.
I was traveling on a local train with my husband and our bicycles. It was the start of a week-long cycle tour of Suffolk. The Saxmundham train was a busy train. We sat at a table opposite a gentleman who was engrossed in sketching passengers on the train. My husband turned to me and said “You usually do that, why not do the same now?” I quietly explained that I had forgotten to pack my sketchbook and will have to get one. The gentleman overhead the conversation, and dipped into his bag and pulled out a brand new, Moleskin sketchbook still in its cellophane wrapper and gave it to me.
I was working at Glaxo Laboratories in Middlesex and had to travel by tube train from Uxbridge to Sudbury Hill every day. My husband Steve was away in the RAF and I was pregnant and had morning sickness – morning, noon and night. On the tube train there were a lot of businessmen going to work in the City. All in suits and carrying The Times.
Two stops from Sudbury Hill, I felt violently ill and was actually sick on the floor of the carriage. I managed to avoid the man sitting next to me but the chap opposite ended up with vomit on his trousers and shoes. He took me off the train, put me in a taxi, paid the driver and brought me some water. He was so kind. He never said a word about his suit and I never saw him again but I will never forget him.
I passed my eleven plus exam and was required to attend a very posh grammar school. I came from a poor background. My dad was a postman and my mum was a housewife. Consequently, when I started grammar school, I had a second hand uniform, was unable to attend school trips and didn’t have indoor and outdoor shoes which infuriated the Head Teacher.
During the whole time I was at the school, the head teacher made my life a misery. The final straw came when I had a nervous breakdown when I was fifteen. She said that I cast a shadow on the school’s reputation, that I was going nowhere and that I would end up being no good.
However, despite this, I passed 8 GCE ‘O’ levels and managed to get a position as Lab Technician at a British branch of an American company near where I lived.
After I had been working there for about three months, the managing director asked to see me in his office. I was terrified. No-one ever had personal interviews with him! When I arrived, he had tea and cake with me and told me that the head of the lab was very pleased with both my work ethic and general attitude. The head of the lab had said that this was quite unusual because I had been given a dreadful reference from my head teacher at the grammar school. The reference had arrived by request from the company several weeks after I had started at the company. The reference had been brought to the attention of the personnel department because it was so unlike the person they had got to know.
The managing director said that it was a huge disadvantage to me having such a negative start to my working life. In front of me, he tore up the reference and showed me a copy of a new reference that he said would follow me in the future. It was glowing.
I will never forget his kindness to me.
I was out in town in Liverpool one night at the height of my downward spiral. I was very close to rock bottom. I had taken too many drugs and drank far too much. I passed out with only my phone and wallet on me, both of which empty of charge and money. I awoke the next morning early enough where I could still make it to work if I was quick. I still couldn’t feel much as I was still clearly gone and in my dazed started to wander towards the train station, not sure how I would get on.
As I stumbled, I noticed a couple coming towards me: a girl and a guy, both Irish as I could clearly tell from their accents. I can’t remember their names, but they asked me if I was okay, if I needed an ambulance or anything. I told them I was fine and that just my phone was dead and I needed to get to work via the train with no money. They gave me a portable power bank and enough money to get me to work.
I swore I would pay them back one day I asked them if I could take their numbers just to be able to say a proper, sober thank you. They refused just saying “just promise you will do the same if you see someone in the same state.” That hit me. They weren’t doing it for praise or thanks. They did it to just be good people and for that goodness to be passed on! That helped me turn everything around and was the start of a new life for me!