This is a love letter to the security staff member who came up to me when I was weeping on a couch at the National Theatre. He crossed the foyer, enquired softly if he could help, and when I said no, he specified that perhaps he could bring me some tissues.

Two and half months later, I bumped into him in the corridor on my last evening at the theatre as I was leaving.

I’m glad that I stopped and asked him if he had been the guy who’d shown such kindness to a stranger; How was he to know that I had been working there? There had been no evidence. I’m glad that I got to remind him of his generosity.

He saw and heard me one afternoon in the past. I am very glad that I got to look back at him.

One thought on “Security

  1. You could have called this “The Kindness or Comfort of Strangers”.

    I don’t like that you were weeping, but I do very much like the story.

    Very many years ago I was playing a solo stupid small boy’s game, which was to pedal a bicycle very fast down a slope in a road so that without any more pedalling I had sufficient momentum to carry me up and over two subsequent small hills in the road. I overdid my pedalling and at the end of the two subsequent hills I was feeling *very* faint and had to get off my bicycle and sit at the side of the road. (I forget whether or not I succeeded in my game.) A woman in one of the nearby houses saw me sitting at the side of the road, came out, asked me if I was all right, and invited me into her house to drink a glass of water. That’s almost all I remember about it, except that she had a non-english accent. I think (at any rate I hope) that it struck me at the time that I was being helped by a stranger who was also foreign: almost literally a Good Samaritan.
    … She is perhaps best known for being the person who coined the phrases:

    “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
    [“Handy Tips on How to Behave at the Death of the World,” Whole Earth Review, Spring 1995, p.88

    “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

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