The Happiness Lab Delegate's Guide Chapter 2 — Kindness | Page 5

The Good Eritrean could get up to. He accelerated past. It had been an eighteen-hour shift at the hospital for the doctor who next drove down the road. She was in no fit state to do anything but keep awake long enough to get home and to crawl in to bed. Compassion flared momentarily as she drew closer and saw what a state the businessman was in, but she simply couldn’t face yet another patient. Reluctantly, and with a heavy, guilty heart, she drove past. An Eritrean asylum seeker, who by law shouldn’t have been working at all, was doing night-delivery work, reckoning that it was probably the safest way to go undetected. It was terrible money of course, way below what they called the “national living wage” – but then he’d really work for anything when the alternative was sitting around all day going quietly mad. When he spotted the businessman in trouble he pulled over, helped him ever so carefully into his van, and drove to the nearest hospital, thinking it was quicker than calling an ambulance to such a remote spot at this time of night. When he got to the hospital he gave the businessman his mobile phone and his last £20 and promised to return the next night to see how he was. After all, he himself had been on the wrong end of violence like that back home – although that had been ordered by the government. Now which one of these three – the JP, the doctor, or the Eritrean – proved to be a neighbour and showed him kindness? And what does that mean for you and for me? by Nigel Rooms O ne night a businessman was driving down from Birmingham Airport to Cardiff. The flight from the conference had got in late and there were no trains at that time of night. He was tired and thought the back roads might keep him more alert. Up ahead of him on a long country road, probably built by the Romans, he spotted a breakdown and someone waving him in to the lay-by. For a moment he considered driving on, but thought better of it and pulled in. The bonnet on the other car was up and the driver beckoned him over: “It’s knackered, mate, and I’ve no breakdown cover – you couldn’t give me a lift to town could you?” The businessman was just about to say, “Of course,” when he was struck from behind – back of the head, then kidneys, and a couple of kicks in the ribs as he went down. He heard a rib crack then felt it break a fraction of a second later. There turned out to be three of them; they rifled through his pockets, taking his wallet and phone, spotted his laptop and sales gear in the car and took them all. They then fled, laughing into the night, but not without first making sure the businessman was in no fit state to drive by administering further violent blows on him. Slowly, and in pain, the man propped himself up against his car hoping to flag down a passing motorist. A magistrate was driving home after a truly convivial Rotary Club dinner, saw the man up ahead, and remembered the kind of people he dealt with in court and what they 02 23