On Christmas, looking back at acts of kindness and compassion amidst the pandemic

Christmas is a time for giving, and SocialStory recalls 2020’s kindest acts by ordinary people who went out of their way to help another.
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Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” 

– Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip.

2020 was a year of gloom, one that seemed to suck out happiness. However, the trying times led many to perform many acts of kindness to aid the helpless and underserved.  What better way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas than to recall these acts of selflessness?

So, to spread the warm cheer of the festive season, SocialStory brings to you stories of ordinary people who went out of their way to help another and stole hearts around the world.

The octagenarian and his cheque

Among the many who came forward to fight the coronavirus pandemic was an 82-year-old man from Kolkata.  

Subhash Chandra Banerjee, a retired college professor, stays alone in a flat behind Dum Dum International airport and survives on his monthly pension. He waved down from his window to officers, who thought he needed some help during the crisis. When the officers went up to find out more, the man said he wanted to contribute money to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the advice of the officers, he contributed Rs 10,000 that he had saved from his pension to the PM-CARES Fund

The mask sellers of Kochi

While the initial days of the pandemic saw a lot of panic buying, resulting in a dearth of essentials like masks and sanitisers, Thasleem PK and Nadheem sold surgical masks at his shop in Kochi for just Rs 2.

This gesture gained a lot of attention as they stood out against the many pharmacies across the world that were taking advantage of the rising demand. Thasleem, the proprietor of Cochin Surgicals in Kochi, was not looking to profit in the time of crisis and they sold over 5,000 masks in the first two days.

She stood guard over an open manhole during the rain

After a doctor lost his life when he fell into a manhole in Mumbai, a flower seller was keen to avert any such accidents in the future. Kanta Murti stood next to a manhole that she had opened in Matunga on August 4 to let excess water drain into the sewer.

On that day, continuous rain led to waterlogging everywhere. Vehicles were floating in the water, which was entering low-lying houses. So, Kanta went to the road, and opened the sewer so water could drain out. She stood near the manhole for seven hours, warning vehicles to steer clear of the area.

The RPF constable who helped a child

The Shramik trains saw thousands of migrant labourers travelling back to their hometowns. On one such train, from Belgaum to Gorakhpur, was a woman with her four-year-old child, who was hungry for almost two days.

As the train entered the Bhopal station, the baby’s mother, Shafiya, requested Railway Protection Force (RPF) Constable Inder Singh Yadav to help her get some milk. He rushed to a nearby kiosk outside the station to get her a packet of milk when the train started moving.

In the CCTV footage that went viral, Inder was seen running on the platform with the milk packet in one hand, and his rifle in the other. His efforts were fruitful and he delivered the milk packet to Shafiya through the train window.

The 85-year-old ‘Idli Amma’ who stole hearts

Amidst the shortage of food, many NGOs and individuals came forward to help migrant workers who lost their livelihoods. An 85-year-old woman from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was one of them.

K Kamalathal, fondly called Paatti, Paattima, and ‘Idli Amma’, made idlis for these workers despite her business losses due to the lockdown. Many people came forward to help Kamalathal with raw materials so she could sell these idlis at a very low price. She said some migrant workers also helped her out.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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