Of rage and compassion…

Little Auckland has some of the problems its truly large cousins suffer from.

Sometimes it’s a comic opera of irritations and at others, flashpoints which could turn nasty. Road rage for example. Or more curiously – supermarket trolley rage. Come on, I hear you say. That’s silly – but not if you’re elderly, routinely civil and at the receiving end.

One middle-aged male shopper recently abused and bullied a woman whose trolley happened to collide with his.  He left her so alarmed by his angry outburst that she  forgot about the shopping and fled.

But then there’s also this:  At the local post shop the usual queue stood and waited.   To its side a grey-haired Polynesian sat on the only available chair.  He wasn’t sitting there for comfort – anybody could tell he wasn’t in the best of shape.

In the chill of winter he wore threadbare socks tucked into open sandals, and way, way worn track pants. He leaned his head on his walking stick looking on as others came and went from the counters. Noticing this, a corporate-suited Indian gave up his place in the queue and bent over to talk to him. After a brief chat, he helped him to his feet, took his arm and guided him to the teller’s window.

Nobody took the Indian’s man’s place when he returned. Nobody spoke. Then a  client two back from him in the queue tapped his shoulder. When he turned, he saw a man giving him a warm  smile – and a thumbs up.

All of which goes to show for every bad experience, there will often be a good one.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.