Project 24

Read and share stories of compassion and generosity as part of Kaldor Public Art Project #24: Michael Landy’s Acts of Kindness. Over 600 stories of everyday acts of kindness have been collected from across Sydney and 200 have been included in Landy’s ambitious installation across the Sydney CBD. Read all the stories here, share them and contribute your own.

Acts of Kindness focuses on the simple everyday gestures of kindness that take place in a busy, bustling city and often go unnoticed, from someone offering a bus seat or helping a stranger to just sharing a kind word or a smile. Acts of Kindness provides an opportunity to recognise these fleeting exchanges and to share stories that would otherwise be forgotten. Find out more about the artist and project.

*Please note: published stories do not use real names.



 

Stories:

I was feeding my little boy who is 7 and has cerebral palsy some chips at a shopping centre. My son is in a wheelchair and is considerably dependant upon me for everything. I was feeding him some crisps which I crush and feed him with a spoon, this way he gets a treat like the older children, when out of the blue a kind man came up to me with a $5 scratchie. Handing it to me he said, "I appreciate what you are doing!" I was so over whelmed by the beautiful gesture a tear came into my eye.


My mother was very upset about her little dog Suki that had recently died. She was walking past Town Hall one day, crying, tears running down her face. Out of the blue a young man (about 20 years old) came up and kissed her on the cheek. She's never forgotten that kiss!


After a long night's at the Opera House, I returned to the Opera House carpark and went to pay. I realised I'd lost my wallet - no money, no ticket and no way of getting my car out. While I was standing at the paybooth, looking very agitated and upset, an elderly couple in the queue asked me what was wrong. When I told them the problem, without hesitation they offered to pay the parking fee. I ended up sorting out the problem, but their generosity was greatly appreciated.


I fainted on the train on my way to my very first day at a new job and dropped a folder containing all my personal details to give to my employer (including my address and bank details) which was left on the train. A kind man called my employer and informed them of what happened and then sent my documents to them in the mail!


I had ordered my take away dinner and was waiting for it at Bill and Tony's. I was having a bad day, a bad week and I'm sure it was probably raining. When I went to pay and collect my food, the restaurant owner told me not to bother as the old man that had just left, already paid for me. He thought I needed cheering up. I don't remember what was wrong that day but I do remember leaving with a smile.


I saw a baby bird struggling in the middle of a busy road. While attempting to grab it a huge semi trailer was looming toward us. I gesticulated madly for him to slow so as not run over me or my injured friend. The truck pulled up to the loud sound of air breaks and the driver began gesticulating at me. I thought he was angry but instead he was waving a leather glove at me to help pick up my feathered friend. He helped me pick the baby bird up and I got him to the vet for attention. This happened in Epping Sydney on Norfolk Rd.


We were watching a band play when I realized my wallet and my camera had fallen from my handbag and were gone. I felt ill at the thought of it and was just starting to think about calling to cancel my cards when the dj announced someone had handed in a wallet and a camera. They even returned my chewing gum! Unreal - thank you strangers!


After a busy day running errands in the city I got home and realised I didn't have the expensive face cream I had bought. I was annoyed at wasting so much money and assumed I'd left the bag on the bus and that I would never see it again. Just over a week later I got a parcel in the mail from Mecca Cosmetica, where I'd bought the cream; apparently, I'd left the bag in a nearby shop and they'd returned it to Mecca Cosmetica who had my details on their database and posted it out to me. Faith in humanity restored!


Picture my third day in Australia as a new immigrant. I called a friend of a friend out of extreme loneliness and a sense of "what have I done?". He suggested we meet in the city for coffee. Beyond lost and confused in a Sydney bus from South Coogee, I asked a lovely old woman where I needed to get off for my destination. She gave up trying to explain it to me, as none of her landmarks meant anything to me. The old dear stayed on the bus, well past her stop, to make sure I didn't get lost!


The opportunity to meet one of my favourite writers was only made possible because of an act of kindness from a Sydney Opera House staff member. At the conclusion of his event she kindly passed my small gift (and fan letter) to the author. Moreover, a short time later she went out of her way to personally escort me to where he was signing books for a very small gathering. I virtually 'floated' home with my book signed, a photo, and a reminder that kindness is always a choice.


I was lost and confused. New to Sydney, navigating my way from a job interview across town in painful new shoes and during peak hour hustle, I got off at the wrong train station (Martin Place). A kind smile from a station attendant across the concourse put my mind at ease. His simple gesture of opening a side gate to the correct platform and making sure I knew where I was going was heart-warming. Thank you.


I was rushing to my last day at a longterm job and didn't realise I'd dropped my wallet at Sydenham station. I got a call at work from a young man who worked at a printer's in the inner west. He had it and held it for me, contents intact, until I could retrieve it. I was so grateful and relieved as it was sad to be leaving my job and I was so distracted that day.


Driving to referee touch footy one evening I drove over a wallet. I reversed & picked it up, checked the contents, some cash, credit cards/Uni student card, but no drivers licence or contact details, apart from details on the cards. I contacted the credit card company who passed on my number. A young lady phoned & I was able to drop the wallet off at her home after the footy. She had placed the wallet on the roof of her car & driven off. The thing was that the family ran a Chinese restaurant in the next suburb & shouted my family & I a meal for the return of the daughter's wallet . The funny thing was that this restaurant had been sold to this family by a client of my father , who as a plumber had worked there many times & I had gone to school with the sons of that past owner.


There was a down syndrome boy on my bus every morning and he always liked sitting on the same seat on the bus except one morning when some young teenagers would not let him and started calling him names. Then one of the other female teenagers took his hand and said you can sit next to me it was nice to see him blush :)


On the ferry on the way to work one sunny day, the Captain stopped the boat because a whale and her cub were cavorting in the water. We all gathered on the deck to watch, mesmerised. No-one expressed impatience to resume the journey to work - we were united in the wonder of this unexpected natural phenomenon. After a while the Captain fired up the engines and we headed in to Circular Quay. It is a memoryI cherish - an act of kindness by the Captain for all the ferry commuters.


When she realised that a young artist we know was too drunk to get home and no taxi wanted to take her my wife who is prone to acts of kindness insisted on us driving her home. The taxi drivers had a point but we managed to get the car clean eventually. 


Two homeless men were sitting drinking cask wine outside Central station and singing the "Ma na ma na" song from The Muppet Show. They could not remember how the song went to the end until a very well dressed businesswoman stopped and joined in, helping them with the rest of the song. All three were killing themselves laughing at the end of their joint performance. I was smiling all day after that.


 

i live in an area where different cultures are rather segregated from each other, i was walking home in the rain when i came across a lady from a different culture, carrying very heavy bags, struggling along and i offered help to carry her bags, she was suspicious at first, but she gave me a huge smile, we walked along together, and i felt a part of my community.


My 7 year old son and I recently took a trip to The Rocks Markets so that he could spend the $15 he had saved on some coins for his collection. He spent some time before deciding upon three, only two of which he could afford. After deliberating he chose two, but could hardly bear to put the third back. A gentleman next to us, who had been present the whole time, took the coin from him, looked at it admiringly and handed it back to him. "I'll buy that for you" he said, and he did. That $10 coin is one of the most treasured in his collection.


This was my 1st day in Australia, and this was a Sunday. I had only euros and 2 AUD with me when I was at the station, trying to understand how was the ticket machine working. An old couple who recently went in France (my country) tried to help me out. Seeing that I did not have enough change, and that it would be hard to find a bank opened on a Sunday, they gave me a 20 AUD note, and ask me to return to them the following day, when I would have change my euros. This was unbelievable! I did gave them a 20 AUD note back as promised and they then became really good friends and a real support for me here.


On a very wet and windy day last winter I walked past a very elderley and obviously frail lady standing outside a doctor's surgery. She looked lost. I asked if she needed help and she said that she thought she had a doctor's appointment but the surgery was closed. She was waiting for the rain to ease to walk home. I drove her home. She said that once in a while you meet an angel, and that I was one. This has stayed with me - that small AOK can make such a difference, and never be afraid to reach out.


We were driving on the Hume highway at Yagoona a few years ago .. when my husband suddenly pulled over. He did not anwer me when I asked him "Why did you stop"? He got out of the car and walked towards the medium strip and walked this rather large German shepard who was pacing the strip trying to cross - Al walked up to the dog and simply walked him across to saftey - it was a lucky day-for this dog !


My father was working as a chicken farmer. He had a friend who did this job in a different part of Palestine. One day my father�s friend tried to deceive the company my father had the contract with by telling them my father would not pay them for their feed. They believed him and wouldn�t send the feed to my father�s farms. My father tried to solve the problem but he couldn�t. Strangers, who heard what his friend did to my father, gave the company a one million dollar guarantee. My father thanked them very much and received the feed.


I was sitting at a cafe in Rozelle, after recuperating lost energy after travelling two and a half hours by train (due to trackwork) to get a gift for my sister's birthday. That day was my sister's birthday and the gift was only available at Rozelle. It was then that I realised that I had left the address of the gift store at home and seeing as though I didn't have a smartphone I couldn't look up the address (it was one of those days). Whilst paying for my meal at the counter I asked the waiter if he knew of the gift store, he did not. A fellow customer at the counter at that exact moment chimed into our conversation and said, 'I live on the same street, I'm actually heading home, I can walk you there if you like.' I accepted his kind offer. Along the walk we had a pleasant conversation and then parted ways- he to his place and I eventually (thanks to the kindness of a local) found the gift store. P.S. My sister loved the birthday gift!


Once I was at the corner shop and a lady wanted to buy some milk but was one dollar short. I offered her some money so she could buy it she was very satisfied and grateful.


I am a single mum and found a beautiful old concrete pot on the street. Having managed to get it into my car I wasn't sure how I'd get it out and up the passageway home. A friend who lives around the corner helped me and offered his muscles whenever I needed them. It was kind.


I was walking to school with my grandmother.There were lots of houses being renovated along that street. There were builders turning up everywhere. One of the builders was almost running and he seemed to be in a rush. He was carrying so many planks of wood, it was amazing! Even though he was suffering under the weight and was in a rush, he stopped for us to go through.


I was catching the train by myself to meet my friends in Newtown a couple weeks ago and I started to feel really sick and fainted. A lovely woman and her husband saw me looking really distressed and crying so they helped me off the train at Central Station and took care of me for around half an hour, and got me medical attention, until my friends could come and pick me up. I was so overwhelmed by their generosity and kindness.


I was on the bus to the city, as we were half-way there, an old lady got on the bus, she went to take out her wallet from her hand-bag, about to pay for her fare, realising she had left it at home. She became very upset, explaining she was going to the city to see her daughter who lives in Singapore and has come to Sydney for a business meeting. A business man sitting at the front of the bus kindly gave the lady $50. The old lady's face lit up in happiness. I thought how kind that man must to do that for a stranger!


My husband helped a 13 yrs old girl attacked by two pitbulls. His actions (while holding and protecting our 2 yrs old) prevented a possible very sad outcome. He's our hero!


My mum is kind to me. She takes me shopping, to the movies and to visit my cousins. She helps me do my homework. She makes my lunch every day and she makes sure my lunch is in my bag.


I was feeding my little boy who is 7 and has cerebral palsy some chips at a shopping centre. My son is in a wheelchair and is considerably dependant upon me for everything. I was feeding him some crisps which I crush and feed him with a spoon, this way he gets a treat like the older children, when out of the blue a kind man came up to me with a $5 scratchie. Handing it to me he said, "I appreciate what you are doing!" I was so over whelmed by the beautiful gesture a tear came into my eye.


I was in a coffee shop in the city which I'd never been into before, having just been to a medical appointment nearby. I had my small son with me who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. He has normal intelligence but is functionally very low so he screams when he gets bored, and it doesn't take much to make a 7 year old boy bored! Seeing that I was having difficulty juggling both him and my coffee, a lady came from behind the counter and offered to play with my son and take him for a walk while I drank my coffee. Ten minutes to myself was a rare priveledge, indeed!


This is about the 'Thursday Angels' as my mum calls them. She is blind so can't do this. My Dad died suddenly, he was her carer. I have to work so my Mum is alone a lot. The Thursday Angels are a wonderful group of ladies who pick up my Mum on Thursdays, take her to golf and then out to lunch. Yes she plays golf with them. They have done this every Thursday for almost two years now. A continuous act of kindness from the heart.


My brave cat was recovering from an operation when he got startled by some fireworks and dashed off up the street with his lead attached to his collar. Crying and upset, some strangers who lived on the same street helped me search the area until we found, two streets down, a young girl standing in the street outside her house calmly holding my cats lead with him sitting at her feet. She was and still is our angel.


On a trip to the local library, my grandson and I walked past a cardboard box full of books that had been placed on the pavement for "dispersal", a common practice in Marrickville. Rain was imminent. I had a plastic bag in which to take a bundle, but was upset about leaving the others to the rain. A man, who appeared to be in his early 30s and doing it tough, was passing by and seeing my distress at not being able to save the books, took off his backpack and said, "use this " and walked on.


I live in the inner-city (Surry Hills) and have recently befriended an elderly lady who feeds two ownerless marmalade cats every day - rain, hail or shine. What's remarkable is that she comes from her housing commission flat two streets away with the food and cleans their bowls before it's served. But the best thing is that she has paid to desex the cats. She has named them the two brother cats 'December' and 'Teddy'.