Compassion in action
He was very drunk and he was approaching us on the train.
I need to use a phone charger,’ he slurred, trying hard to balance himself as the train swayed. I avoided this young man’s unfocussed gaze and looked busy. Stu on the other hand looked up.
‘Sorry mate,’ said Stu, ‘I’m charging my phone.’
A few seconds passed as the young man computed Stu’s answer. He furrowed his brow and tried again. “But I need a charger, my phone’s dead…’ he spoke with agitated urgency.
I gazed more deeply at my computer, trying to be anonymous, but Stu looked up. Then with a slight pause answered with an, ‘Ok,’ and unplugged his phone. ‘Plug it in here’.
The man’s face lifted with a smile. He lunged forward as if he was about to give a hug, but instead handed Stu his phone.
I wanted to escape, the last thing I wanted was to start any kind of connection with a wierdo, yet here was Stu extending a hand of friendship with a drunk stranger. My head swirled with ‘what if’ thoughts
- ‘What if he gets violent?’
- ‘What if he starts arguing?’
- ‘What if he vomits everywhere!’
As a myriad of scenarios rattled through my head the young man headed off, leaving his phone charging) to lie down by the toilets.
Ten minutes later, as I made my way to the buffet car the same man recognised me and smiled goofily. ‘Is that your husband?’
‘He’s a legend.’
‘Yes he is.’
This time, rather than a potentially violent person I saw a very drunk, vulnerable youngster I felt a wave of compassion and love crash within me. The susceptible young man was completely oblivious to his vulnerability. I returned to my seat feeling differently..
After an hour (the man had since reclaimed his partially charged phone) I turned to Stu and asked, ‘Why did you do that?’ I was curious about why he hadn’t just turned the young man away. Stu looked at me and paused before answering.
“I have no idea’ he admitted with a frown. “I could analyse it, but the truth is I don’t know’.
I smiled and sighed deeply.
To me this was an act of humanity in action. Thousands upon thousands of similar inconsequential acts are taking place all the time all over the world. These are the moments where one human being reaches out to another and connects.
I am so grateful to have seen this seemingly insignificant incident on the train. It reminds me of the humanity within us all.
About Liz Scott & Stuart Newberry
Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are Coaching Skills trainers and 3P practitioners. They help develop coaching cultures within schools and organisations. Liz & Stu use their understanding of the 3Ps within their training and are experiencing great successes and results in the organisations they are working in. Download an Introduction to the Three Principles here.
Want to de-stress in just 28 days? Recharge on the Run is a FREE audio series (delivered to your inbox daily) that will help you discover your inner peace of mind. Find out more about Liz & Stu at Liz Scott Coaching and Training