Thursday, 19 August 2010

Thought for the Day: Are Strangers B******s?

Bless Radio 4! I have been panicking since posting yesterday as I did not have a planned topic for today's offering and inspiration was not striking.   And then I listened to Radio 4's PM programme and EUREKA!  A story about two brothers and a donkey settling a bet about the kindness of strangers by undertaking a walk across Northern England with a donkey instead of their wallets.  See their blog ( from where I've nicked this picture and click through to read about their journey and to donate to the Stroke Association if their trip inspires you.

And which brother do you think won the bet? The one who views fellow mankind with a warm and fuzzy feeling or his jaded sibling.  I have to say that it came as no surprise to me that it was the first.  In our guises of Grey Bear and Long Pig, Mr Lovelygrey and I  experienced this firsthand when we walked 650 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 1997. In spite of being equipped with cash and credit cards which we were more than willing to use, we frequently met 'trail angels' who fed and watered us and gave us lifts.  Oh, and I got a bar of soap as a gift from the particularly kind couple who rescued us from the middle of nowhere when Long Pig cracked a bone in the knee.  I'll forgive them their unsubtle hint about my dubious trail hygiene. Refusing to accept any payment they became our personal transport service for two days, giving us lifts between hospital and hotel and then driving us fifty miles to 'the Place' in Damascus Virginia, a hostel where we stayed (for free!) whilst Long Pig recuperated.

And so I urge you to undertake your own experiments to test the strength of human kindness.  You may not be disappointed as often as you think...or then again you could starve, dehydrate or get your lights punched out!  Oh...and resist the mean gremlin that lurks within us all and try out some acts of generosity towards strangers of your own.

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