Archive for October 19th, 2022

October 19, 2022

“Small” kindnesses

by Rod Smith

The woman who checked me into South Africa at passport control in Cape Town last week could not have been warmer or more welcoming. Seeing in my US passport that I was born in Durban she added, as she stamped my passport, “Welcome home.” I was really tired and probably somewhat emotional but her welcome touched me very deeply, especially as I juxtaposed it with many harsh, confrontational experiences I’ve endured in several other countries including harsh encounters I have occasionally known on return to the USA.

I have spent a huge percentage of my free time at a bank. This is in an effort to update my checking account opened over 50 years ago. The complexities of living in the USA, generating a limited income in South Africa, and trying to be fully accountable to SARS, can result in mountains of bureaucracy and processes almost impossible to successfully complete from a distant country. I have known nothing but kindness and cooperation from men and women at The Standard in Worcester.

These experiences are isolated and perhaps insignificant. To me, they speak of goodwill and hope. They transform what can be cold and impersonal exchanges into humane memorable events.