24 April 2020

The kindness of strangers

It’s the 3rd of April at 8am.  Getting up, my partner Jess, who is 8 months pregnant with twins,  notices dampness in her pyjamas - her waters broke overnight.  I take her to the hospital right away, but due to Covid I am asked to leave.  

Our car is packed full of cardboard - masses of the stuff.   Full car boot and full back seats in our car are packed to the brim as we've been getting ready for the twins arrival and had loads of cardboard from furniture packaging etc.   I am now really concerned about emptying the car so the car seats are usable (the single most important Dad job - get the babies home safely!).   I've been carrying the cardboard around for weeks but due to Covid all dumps in Glasgow are closed.  I drive to the dump next door to the hospital and sure enough, it's closed.   Bins at home are full too.  I've no choice, so I get out the car and start dropping the cardboard next to the front door of the dump.  

A large, burly man comes running out of a building - shouting at me - ‘you cannae do that, I'll call the Police! That's flytipping!  We’ve got CCTV!’

I look at him in desperation.  Just dropped my partner off at hospital, she's giving birth soon.  I don't know what to do - bins full, car full, need to get the car ready to take the babies home.  We're expecting twins, I need the back of the car in use!

There's a barbed wire fence between me and him.  We're like enemies.  He's just shouted at me.  He looks angry.  We look at each other for what feels like a minute.   I see him thinking.

"Ok, just this once. Throw it over".  

I start lobbing bundles of cardboard over the fence.  He whistles and waves his arm to some colleagues.  A big dumper truck thunders up behind him and loads the bundles into the back and they are whisked off.   I thank him, he nods, and we go our separate ways.

This story is about the kindness of strangers.  He was under duress.  Covid must have been a hard time for him at his work.  He listened and showed kindness.   It was a small thing but it meant a lot to me in that moment and allowed me to prepare to bring home my newborn sons.   He listened and backed down.   I appreciated that enormously.


Picture of Martin Izod

Martin Izod