What a Little Kindness Will Do….

I had a funny incident this week. I’ve not been very well recently and often this inevitably leads to ordering out for food as I can’t stand up long enough to make a meal and still have an appetite by the time I’m done due to pain. We live out in the middle of nowhere and often people can’t find us and we get the wrong mail sent to our house etc.

On Monday night, which just let me preface is the only evening I get off without having to do anything before the weekend so its a good time for me to get some rest and get an early night, I was feeling partially beat so we ordered takeaway.

An hour goes by…then another 30 minutes.  By this time my phone has gone off about 4 times to remind me to take my pills. I have to take my medication at 7:30pm during the work week so I can fall asleep on time and so I’m not so groggy that I’m a zombie at work and I don’t wake up until I’m supposed to go to bed.  Therefore I always try to take them on time, hence the reminder, but by now I know there’s going to be no early night tonight.

We have ordered from this particular restaurant many times and since they have never been this late before we called them. Then the language barrier kicks in. Although I’m on module 2 in Danish I have a lot of trouble understanding spoken Danish, even words and phrases I already know, as the written and spoken Danish are almost two separate languages, plus I have hearing and memory problems.

The people at the restaurant have no English and try as I might I couldn’t understand a word they said. I strained to hear them and for the first time in my life someone spoke to me slower and louder in a foreign language in the hopes I would understand. (I’ve never felt so ignorant!) The only things I understood were the phrases ‘Do you understand?’ (Forstår du?) and ‘it’s a problem, not speaking Danish’ (det er et problem ikke at tale dansk) after I said I do not understand for the millionth time (Jeg forstår ikke). What made it worse is he had a thick middle eastern accent and I had the feeling that Danish wasn’t his first language either, so Danish was our lingua franca.

Then I heard something I did understand: ‘out of the house’ (ud af hus). As we are so hard to find sometimes we have been called to go outside and wave down the driver so they know where we are.  We say goodbye on the phone and I run outside without my coat in the night with the winter breeze (bad mistake!) standing watching as the odd car went by. Nothing…

Once my legs could bear it no more I came back inside. We call the website we ordered from which is a middle man for tons of restaurants in Denmark (http://www.just-eat.dk). They have live chat support and thankfully we got someone who did speak English. They called the restaurant then explained they had left the food outside, by our camping van…but we don’t have a camping van. So the middleman phones the restaurant back and they agree to send out a new order of food.

Now we have been told by some takeaway places that we are too far out the zone and been refused further orders. So trying not to get annoyed by the fact that someone’s carelessness had cost me a good nigh sleep I try to have compassion for the lad who will get an earful from his boss because he failed to do his job for a regular customer. I do this whilst at the same time a part of me wants to use this minor setback to get frustrated and indignant, when what it really reminded me of is just how full and tight my routine is; how much I pack into my day that such a small thing as a delayed dinner can throw off my whole week. I sit with that until I hear a car pull into my driveway, thinking it may be the last time they come.

Then I open the door. Not one, not two, but four delivery guys greet me with open arms and cheers! They all laugh, handing me a double order of food as they explain that a nearby street with a similar name also has a number the same as ours. We laugh and smile at each other and I realise, with irony, that I can understand what they are saying. I even join in a little.

As I closed the door and tell Ray what just happened we realise two things: they went to the house they had delivered to earlier and picked up the food they left on their doorstep and brought it with the new order. A small gesture of good will to make up for the inconvenience. And the other thing being that they brought all the delivery boys down to see exactly where we lived so they never got lost again.

From that moment on as we tucked into our meals and drank our soda, the mood couldn’t have been more different from the dreaded anticipation and frustration we had felt just moments ago. It amazing what a little kindness will do…

Niamh Brown



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  1. […] so I decided to write about it in my blog For The Hole Inside Everyone. The post is called ‘What a Little Kindness Will Do and it’s about how little thing can get under our skin or turn our day completely […]

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