Twenty-two years ago a 37 years old journalist Mike McIntyre felt his life was quickly passing him by. So one day he hit the road to trek from one end of the USA to the other with just the clothes on his back and not a single penny in his pocket. Through his travels, he found varying degrees of kindness in strangers from all walks of life and discovered more about people, values and life on the road in America than he’d ever thought possible. The gifts of food and shelter he received along the way were outweighed only by the touching gifts of the heart – the willingness of many he met to welcome a lonely stranger into their homes…and the discovery that sometimes those who give the most are the ones with the least to spare. He wrote an insightful book called ‘Kindness of Strangers’ based on his travel experiences.
The rail industry in the UK is piloting a new on-line service called Rail505. It empowers rail users to identify individuals on railway platforms who might be at risk of harm and provide them with resources to get help for these individuals. They have four 15 second you-tube clips on their website (Rail505.com) that are recordings from a CCTV camera. They are titled – shoes, bridge, sign and bench. Each of them is subtle and educative at the same time. Even if we think we can’t do much to help, there is always something we can do. Trust your instincts, says the website. The signs that someone is at risk from harm aren’t always obvious, but we all know when something doesn’t feel right.
“There was a time in this country when you were a jerk if you passed somebody in need. Now you’re a fool for helping. Gangs, drugs, murderers, rapists, thieves, carjackers. Why risk it? I Don’t Want to Get Involved has become a national motto.” – Mike McIntyre.
Time to talk. Time to change.