It’s the little things in life that make a big difference.

A nod from a passing stranger, an eye-twinkling grin from your coffeeshop auntie, a friendly pat on the shoulder from a nearby colleague.

Or perhaps a T-shirt that quietly serves double duty as a pillow.

A reader of The Pride sent us a puzzling photo that warmed our hearts when we found out the story behind it.

Reader Vani Saki told The Pride that she recently saw a tired couple with a sleeping child on the bus. The couple was so exhausted that they didn’t notice that due to the momentum of the moving bus, their little girl’s head was rhythmically bumping against the pole.

The man seated behind them noticed, however. And quietly fished out what looked to be a brand new T-shirt, complete with price tag, from his shopping bag and fashioned it into a little pillow for the girl’s head. And he did this without telling the sleeping girl’s parents.

This little act of kindness kept the knocked-out little girl from literally getting knocked out.

What made Vani’s day, however, was the fact that the kind commuter never bothered the parents of the little girl. He didn’t put them on the spot (“Excuse me, your child seems to be getting a concussion.”) and he didn’t ask for recognition (“Excuse me, look at how kind I am!”).

He simply saw a chance to be kind, took it, and didn’t make a fuss about it.

Vani didn’t tell us what happened at the end of the ride, but it’s this type of quiet thoughtfulness that really made our day.

Simple acts of kindness

It is the simple acts of kindness, done without fanfare, that define who we are

Every day we are presented with different situations that put our character to the test.

During these instances, do we choose to make a difference or do we filter what we see?

It starts the moment we get out of bed and face the day. Take for instance, thoughts that run through our heads on a typical Monday as we head to work:

Should I say a word of thanks to my mum who prepares breakfast every morning without fail? Should I hold the lift for my neighbour, who is rushing for work? Do I remind a maskless stranger on the street to put his on or offer him one of mine? Do I greet the auntie from whom I am buying breakfast at my favourite coffee shop?

These choices may seem insignificant but choosing to take the greater path could mean much more to another person.

Kindness starts from a young age

Little Ashlee Teo
Image source: Ashlee Teo / Instagram

That is why we also appreciate how one family has gone about inculcating politeness and a sense of appreciation in their children from a young age.

Little Ashlee Teo has an Instagram account, where she and her younger brother Alexander (whom she calls Didi) post little thoughts about their life as kids. One of her recent posts describes how the two siblings make it a point to greet familiar faces they see every day.

From the bus driver who takes them to school, to the gardeners in the school compound, to the workers they see at construction sites, to the frontline heroes in the ambulances and fire engines they pass on the roads – they all get a friendly wave.

While not everyone notices two tiny hands waving, the siblings aren’t discouraged, posting (I’m sure with the help of Mummy or Daddy) that “Not everyone is friendly towards us, but we still try to be nice and kind everyday. Especially the people in these jobs that are taken for granted… The world can be a better place if each of us put a little effort, and it starts from us! A little kindness goes a long way.”

Sometimes, there is such a thing as a free ride

Driver free ride
Image source: u/rootedandgrounded / Reddit

This week, we also saw how a kind driver stopped to give a lift to a couple stranded without a ride after a visit to a farm in Lim Chu Kang.

Daryl, the Good Samaritan driver, could have simply driven past the couple trudging wearily by the side of the road but instead chose to stop, talk and then go out of his way to give them a lift to the nearest MRT station.

He saved the young couple from being late for dinner with the girl’s family (cue extra gratitude from the boyfriend!). The boyfriend in question was so touched that he took to Reddit to express his thanks:

“Bro if you’re reading this, I never got your name and number but I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks. You saved me from an embarrassing situation and we managed to make it for dinner with her parents. We could have been stuck at a bus stop in the pouring rain along Lim Chu Kang Rd had you not come.

“My girlfriend was especially moved because like most Singaporeans, you could have moved along and carried on your merry way. Instead, you invited two strangers into your car and made a detour at your expense and time.”

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With the many situations we are presented everyday, we have the choice and power to make someone’s day and put a smile on their face.

Just as these three encounters have shown us, spreading joy and kindness can be a simple yet rewarding affair. Do you have your own story to tell? Write in to share them with us!

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Top Image: Vani Saki / Facebook