I think people are inherently kind. If someone isn’t I find it’s best to consider first that they’re perhaps having a bad day.
I’ve found kindness in the most unlikely places from the most unlikely of strangers such as parking attendants (read my post Humbled by a Car Guard) and taxi drivers in peak hour traffic.
On the other hand, people I expected to be kind to me weren’t.
Like the time my car broke down on the double decker in the Joburg CBD on a Sunday afternoon. Roadworks had decreased 2 lanes to 1, and I was just in the way of everyone else.
Traffic cops pulled up behind me and wanted to know why I was stopped (duh!). After she put up my triangle, I asked her if she’d stay with me until my husband arrived to tow the car. Not too much to expect since I was in the way of traffic, people were getting upset and it needed some controlling.
And let’s not forget that controlling and easing traffic is also her job. She just shook her head, said, “No I can’t, just pray”, waddled back to her car and drove away.
Signs you've experienced the kindness of someone: 1) You leave feeling better than before. 2) You want to be kind back. 3) Initial surprise is followed by wonder.
The best way to repay someone’s kindness, after thanking them (if you can), is to pay it forward. Be kind to someone else.