Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Big Act of Kindness On Our First Day In India


--by Yasmin, posted Jun 18, 2011

On my first visit to India with my partner, Barry, we met a really nice woman on the plane who was flying from Canada to India to move back with her family in Chennai. Talking with Uma, a dentist, who had been trained in England, made the long flight from the US go by much faster.

When we arrived in Chennai, we learned that our bags had somehow not made the trip with our plane. As we filled out the missing luggage forms, we couldn't help noticing the mountain of unclaimed baggage in a corner of the terminal. Would we ever see our belongings again? This was not an auspicious beginning to our 6-week trip.

It was now 4 a.m. Saturday morning. The officials had told us there was no point in checking to see if our bags had arrived until Monday. What should we do next? As we stood there wondering, Uma came over. Learning of our predicament, she said, "Our driver will soon be here to pick me up. Come home with me."

We exited the terminal and entered the steamy early morning scene outside. A throng of people awaited their loved ones, calling their names and gathering them into warm embraces as they reconnected. Within minutes, Uma said, "There's our car!" We piled into the small sedan, already crowded with family members who had come to welcome Uma home. 

At the house, we showered and rested and Uma's family took us in as though we had known one another forever. They fed us delicious Indian meals, took us on tours of their city, brought us to their favorite temples and a chapel high on a hill overlooking the city, dedicated to St. Thomas. On Monday morning, their driver brought us to the airport, where we were happy to find our bags, safe and sound.

The next year, we returned to India and our first stop was to visit Uma and her family, who have become lifelong friends. What a gift her kindness was. In my very first moments on Indian soil, I learned an incredible lesson about the soul of the Indian people.

Uma's friendship to two strangers with different-colored skin began a trip of a lifetime. Everywhere we went, we encountered the warm, generous spirit of the Indian people. Uma had begun a chain reaction that we did our best to pass on wherever we went.

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Readers Comments

sethi wrote: Uma and people like her have lots of abundance within them. God bless them. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience.
enpai wrote: Beautiful story of kindness that is beyond rich or poor. Love and kindness has no boundaries.
arundebnath wrote: It's a story of kindness. Uma belongs to a rich family and can surely can afford an act of generosity without much hardship. Being an indian myself living in a relatively comfortable life in the west and travelling many times back home i can vouch for yasmin that there are many a umas in india who much worse-off [financially] than uma who would offer their kindness to anyone even at the cost of their own meals. I'm really humbled by the generosity of those "poor" umas in many parts of india.
groria mgaya wrote: Am very happy for your card
Joy wrote: Many blessings to you and uma and your families. What an amazing act of kindness. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing
Aung wrote: I loved reading your story. I'm going to india in january for a wedding so i was extremely interested in reading your tale. Wonderful. Heheheh i'm still smiling with absolute delight.
Namaste wrote: Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm traveling internationally today and just read it on my phone, and though my hotel shuttle was delayed 20 mins, i'm now more focused on how grateful i am my bags arrived safely and i got though customs rather
Swiftly. How wonderful and kind of uma! Blessings
Yasmin wrote: Thanks for your comment, aung. I hope your visit to india is wonderful! I feel sure the wedding will be unforgettable.
madeusmile wrote: Wow! Uma really went above and beyond to help. What a great lesson.
Yasmin wrote: YES! She is an Earth Angel and we are forever grateful!

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