How a random act of kindness saved me on a drunken night in a new city

Lights in Seoul at night

I was saved by a random act of kindness on a drunken night in a new city. 

It was my first night and I couldn’t speak the language, which meant I had no idea how to tell the rather patient taxi driver where I lived.

Luckily I had remembered that my Korean care-taker (another lovely, kind human being who was assigned to make sure nothing happened to me) had written my address on a piece of paper which was stuffed inside my purse.

After a few minutes of confusion the taxi driver grabbed the paper out of my hand and gave me a thumbs up and off we roared. 

At some point when we got to the smaller narrow roads I recognized the shop that was near my apartment. It was my lighthouse and I had memorised exactly how to get from there to my apartment.

For reasons unknown to me and the taxi driver, we started having an argument.

I was insisting that he stop

because this is where I lived and he was frantically pointing to my address on the piece of paper and pointing up ahead. He was trying to stop me from getting out the car and I was insisting I was home. 

It was probably in sheer fear of being stuck in a car with a crazy, drunk foreign woman that he eventually gave up and let me out. But he was not happy about it.

I made my way up two flights of stairs, put the key in the lock, turned and pushed. Nothing happened. What? A little panic started to set in. I tried again, still nothing. I tried again. Nothing.

And that’s when I realised.

This was not my apartment

I wobbled down the stairs, walked into the deserted street and took a few minutes to get my eyes to focus. I looked at the building and it dawned on me that not only was this not where I lived but that every apartment block in the area looked exactly the same. 

There was no differentiating feature. 

How was I going to find my apartment?

I was alone, in the early hours of the morning, in a foreign country, on a deserted street, in high heels, with no idea where my apartment was.

I reached into my bag to pull out my purse because I thought if I got to the main street and flagged down another taxi I would show him the piece of paper and he would be able to get me to my apartment.

And this is when real panic set in.

There was no purse. 

I had left it in the other taxi.

I don’t normally swear but this was a good time to say, “ what the f@£$?”

I got sober very quickly

I was in this country as a professional and I definitely did not want to phone my care-taker on the first night to say, “I’m drunk and lost, please help me”.

The only thing I could think to do was get back to my lighthouse (the shop that had caused all the trouble in the first place) and trace my steps from there. 

And I swear to this day the sound of heels, clip clopping, clip clopping, gives me nightmares because that’s all I could hear in the still of the morning and it was giving me chills.

By some miracle I found my apartment

But still, I had no purse. No identity. No cards. No cash. 

I spent the next morning stressing and avoiding making the dreaded phone call to my care-taker. 

I was hungry and I was hungover and I was also having deep regrets about meeting up with my friends downtown. Just one more drink turned into too many.

In the afternoon I heard a knock at the door and all kinds of wild thoughts went through my mind.

Did we do something stupid?

I did a quick scan in my brain from the night before. 

Did I remember everything? 

I gingerly opened the door and a little Korean man I did not recognize was trying to push something into my hand. 

I looked down.

It was my purse.

Before I could open my mouth to say thank you he had run down the stairs and was gone. 

I had no idea what his name was or where he was from but he just handed me back my life. 

I had my identity document, my cards and the cash was still all there.

Mother Theresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love.”

I have never forgotten this random act of kindness, this drunken night nor this taxi driver.

Kindness is a habit of giving—of wanting to lift burdens from others or to merely provide a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. It humanizes us; it lifts us spiritually. 

And it is good for us and for our wellbeing.

One act of random kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. The miracle of kindness is that it is contagious and something we should all want to pass on and spread to many others.

On some level I will always be connected to that taxi driver. This is what kindness does, it connects us, in ways that are more powerful than we can imagine.

My mother went to the grocery store the other day and she decided to give the only cash she had, which was R100, to the car guard. She said she just felt compelled to do it. He cried and told her that he had 6 kids at home that were starving. 

Sometimes when we give what we think is a little, is actually a lot for the next person.

Let’s do small things with great love. Let’s be kind. And let’s stay connected.

With much love for you always


#1 secret to losing weight AND keeping it off

losing weight

The secret to losing weight and keeping it off, according to me, the former Jananda (family nickname for being overweight) and professional emotional eater, is to let go of your baggage.

What baggage you ask?

Maybe it’s the baggage you carry in your home. The things you have but don’t need.

Maybe it’s in the back of your cupboard – clothes you’re waiting to wear, clutter you couldn’t bear to throw out, outdated bags, old shoes  – all needing to go, yet hidden from sight.

Maybe your baggage is stuck in your body – old wounds, devastating grief and hurt words. 

Maybe it’s still in your head and heart – critical eyes and fingers pointing at you, picking on the scab of your scars and pressing on the bruise of your insecurities.

Maybe your baggage is woven through your social media feeds – old lovers you don’t need to keep up with but haven’t had the guts to let go, friends who bully you or jokes that make you feel less instead of making you laugh.

No matter where it exists, you probably know if you have emotional baggage.

You know because you are easily triggered. You know because the same series of behaviours crop up all the time. You know because you can sense it.

Something from your past is holding you back.

My baggage was stuck in my body and in my head and heart. 

My body was carrying grief that I hadn’t yet acknowledged – an ectopic pregnancy many years ago that caused a mountain of physical pain and at the time no emotional pain. The pregnancy was discovered and in 24 hours it was surgically eradicated.

And I use that word because it was like it was there and then it wasn’t. It felt like in a second, it was gone. My boyfriend and I had no idea what we were supposed to do – cry, communicate it to others, grieve, be sad or angry?

We chose silence

We never spoke of it and therefore it didn’t exist.

The only thing was it did. 

And only once I acknowledged that I had lost a life, a life that could have been a son or a daughter and only once I allowed myself to accept it and grieve it, was I able to let it go.

In letting that, and echoes of critical words, statements of unworthiness and projections of not-good-enoughness, all go, was I able to drop the physical weight.

And, keep it off.

In life we are taught to hold on

We are taught that perseverance is the ultimate feat of character and will. We are taught to never let go of our dreams, our ambitions and our hopes for our lives.

We are taught to stay in failing relationships in the hope that something will change. We are taught to stick to dead-end careers because it pays the bills. We are taught to sacrifice ourselves because it will benefit others.

The sentiment of holding on is often helpful but it is not always the entire picture.

Sometimes, letting go is the bravest, and most important thing you can do.

You will be summoned to regularly let go throughout the course of your life.

You will have to let go of past experiences and past identities – the ones that have molded your surroundings and your environment, all the pieces of who you became, that are not pieces of who you really are.

You will have to let go of old belongings, the ones that were owned by those old identities, that defined them, expressed them and created them.

You will have to let go of old relationships, people who understood and connected with the person you used to be.

You will have to let go of old emotions and traumas, those things that have kept you stuck and have held you back.

The releasing and re-growth process is inevitable.

We can try to continue to hold on but eventually we will have to let go.

Emotional baggage is stored in our bodies but it is also scattered throughout our lives. 

It is in the things that hold memories in our homes. It is in the old clothes we have stuffed at the back of our cupboards and it is in the expired friendships that we keep.

We can acknowledge and accept our pain. We can also let it go. 

We can thank our old clothes, old memories and old belongings and we can also let them go. 

We can start to build a new life

We can start to build a new life around the person we want to be by slowly letting go of the person we were. 

One day we’ll find that the emotions that were keeping us stuck and holding us back have started to neutralize. Not because we forced them away but because we acknowledged them, thanked them and let them go.

We start making choices that support our new lives. 

We eat and exercise to nourish our bodies. We create spaces that make us feel calm and cocooned. We dress in a way that elevates our style and speak in a way that supports our wellbeing.

Each time we choose a better future, we let go of the past.

We don’t let go of love when someone leaves, we let go when we learn to love again. 

We don’t let go of our past identities when we start disliking them, we let go when we wake up and find ourselves surrounded by a new environment, one that matches the person we are becoming.

We don’t let go of our fears once we know we have them, we let go once we show up – nervous, sweating, shaking and unsure but willing to move through them anyway.

Letting go is an important part of our wellbeing

We know what to do and we need to find the courage to do it.

I’d love to know your thoughts? Drop me a line below.

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As always, I’m here for you and rooting for you x