I was in my dream destination, Rio de Janeiro, for an art project. I was so excited and tried to pack in a lot of sightseeing. I visited this busy market area with electronics, fabrics, knickknacks and all else.
By the time I was heading back, it was rush hour and the streets were crowded. Maybe I was just too tired or maybe it was the badly potholed pavement, but I tripped and landed face flat in a spectacularly way. How embarrassing! I was on my own and was in pain too. Before I could figure out how to get up, two Brazilians rushed over and helped me up. They lifted me, straightened me and collected my bags off of the ground. They smiled, patted me and walked with me a few meters to make sure I was okay and wasn’t feeling like an idiot. We parted with big waves and tchau-tchau. They were so sweet.
I have fallen before in the same way in Tokyo too. No one helped me and I felt pretty dumb.
Just someone being there to help me up and laugh the whole thing off was the nicest thing to remember the warmth of Rio de Janeiro.
It had been a long day of errands across London. I was at my favourite Camden Town sushi bar sitting on a high stool enjoying a glass of wine and my favourite sushi meal. All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. My head started swimming and I had an excruciating pain in my chest. I have a clear recollection of thinking “This is it and I have so much more to do and say”.
The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor in a pool of blood and a diminutive, very serious looking Japanese girl in a black and bloodstained apron was kneeling close beside me–bandaging my head with a long white towel, then holding my hand and murmuring in my ear over and over again: “It’s ok, you’re going to be alright”.
Two ambulance staff arrived and got me up. They walked me ever so gently to a waiting ambulance. Their cheerful banter as they conducted some basic tests to check whether I had had a heart attack reassured me that I was no longer about to die. I was soon at University College Hospital where over the next three hours I went through multiple further tests to see whether I had suffered any serious brain injury and finally had my head wound stitched up. The medical conclusion: a piece of sushi has got stuck in my throat and, to my great good fortune, been unstuck by my fall.
The care and kindness I received from the porter who wheeled me in from the ambulance, from the two nurses and the three doctors who treated me, including the senior consultant in charge of A&E that night, were extraordinary.
I went home in a taxi happy to be alive and truly thankful. Hurray for the NHS!
The next day my head was very sore, but I was well enough to return to the sushi bar with a large bunch of flowers for my little Japanese saviour. I simply said to her:” This is a small token for your extraordinary kindness last night”. She replied: “Thank you, but I was just doing my job”.
Retrieving my boat from the river, I forgot to apply my handbrake to the car. Unfortunately, it rolled into the river. I was in a very difficult situation. Several on-lookers did nothing to help. One boatman came to help and he gave me a rope and he rang a friend to help. His friend turned up, a complete stranger. He helped me tow the car out of the water and to
recover my boat.
I had two wet £10 notes in my pocket and gave them to the man. He looked at them and he gave me one look saying it was too much. Not sure myself he had driven 20 miles, spent an hour with me, and helped me out of a mess. A very kind man!
When my big orange dog was badly bitten — grrr — two lovely friends gave him some big bag of anchovies wrapped in yummy ‘hammy’ chews. This made him very happy, he forgot he had a sore leg. It was very kind and thoughtful and it made him happy. I’ve written ‘happy’ three times, but it really did!!! Made him smile.