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Random acts of kindness uplift the Internet

A ride offer, a hug for an upset worker, wishes for a bullying victim restore faith in humanity

NO TRAIN? LET ME GIVE YOU A RIDE

It has been a rough ride for commuters who have had to cope with several train disruptions and delays this past week.

For frustrated commuters, it meant joining the long queues for buses or cabs, or paying more to get to their destinations with surge pricing by private-hire car operators kicking in.

So, two passengers were pleasantly surprised when they ended up paying less than the usual cab fare.

Facebook user Nurul 'Izzah Khamsani shared her encounter online. She was stranded at Jurong East MRT station when a signalling fault disrupted train services on the North-South Line and Tuas West Extension during the evening peak hours on Wednesday.

"I called for taxi a few times until I finally got one. I saw a frail old nyonya waited for taxi but no taxi came; either private cars or on-call taxis," she wrote in a post on Singapore Kindness Movement's Facebook page.

She approached the elderly woman and, in a happy coincidence, they were heading to the same destination - Yishun. She offered her a ride.

When the ComfortDelGro taxi arrived, she explained the situation to the driver. "Along the way, he stopped the meter, restarted it and said there was a discount because he said I helped the aunty and I was going to visit my mother at the hospital," she wrote.


Commuters at Khatib MRT station waiting after a signalling fault disrupted train services on the North-South Line on Wednesday. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

The cabby, whom she identified as Mr Koh Chong Poon, gave them a $16 discount. "He was so kind and we are so touched."

Her post made the rounds on the Internet, with netizens giving the cabby the thumbs up.

The word also got around to the folks at ComfortDelGro who tracked down the kind cabby.

The driver said he was inspired by the passenger's kind act and wanted to do his part. "She was actually going to visit her mother at the hospital but had made an extra stop so that she could send the elderly woman home," he was quoted as saying in a post on ComfortDelGro's Facebook page.

"It was the least I could do to reward my passenger for her kindness."

After a bad week, that's an uplifting story the car-less population needed to keep calm and travel on.

GIVE THE MAN A HUG

What happens when a man walks into a police station and points a knife at a cop? Cop pulls out gun. Tense stand-off. Man gets arrested.

Except that none of that happened when such a situation occurred at a police station in Bangkok, Thailand.

Police officer Anirut Malee defused the tension with an unusual choice of weapon: a big hug.

A video of the incident, which was caught on CCTV, went viral recently.

The 45-year-old man, who had a knife with him, walked into the Huay Kwang police station in Bangkok on June 17. According to reports, the former musician who became a security guard was upset that he had not been paid for days.

In the minute-long clip, the man, who was not named, started brandishing the knife at Mr Anirut when he saw the cop approaching him. Mr Anirut kept his cool, sat on the edge of an office desk and started talking to him. After a brief conversation, the man inched towards the policeman and handed over the knife.

What the cop did next caught the man by surprise. With his arms stretched wide, Mr Anirut walked towards him and gave him a hug, which lasted a whole 30 seconds. Watch the video here: http://str.sg/4aGy

Mr Anirut told Thai media that the man was upset because he had not been paid for three days. Adding to his frustration, his guitar was stolen.

"I heard him out and sympathised. I said I had a guitar to give him and suggested we go out for a meal together," he said.

  • NOTABLE TRENDS

  • NS50: All national servicemen who put on their uniforms got to travel for free on public buses and trains on Friday as part of a year-long NS50 campaign to thank them for their contributions.

    HKSAR20: Hong Kong yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of its handover to China with much fanfare, including a fireworks display costing a record HK$12 million (S$2 million). President Xi Jinping also made his first visit to the city as China's top leader.

    BEDOK: The Indonesian maid being sought for the double murder of an elderly couple in their Bedok flat last week was arrested in Jambi province, Sumatra, on Tuesday.

    Detectives tracked her down to an Internet cafe where she was checking online news about the case.

No charges were pressed against the man, according to reports.

Mr Anirut's unconventional approach earned him praise. Some compared the incident to fatal police shootings in the United States. "America take note, this is how to handle a delicate situation, no need for guns," said a netizen.

Another concluded: "Sometimes, all you need is a hug."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLLIE!

The Internet can be a nasty place.

But it's not all trolls and angry people. Ollie from Britain, who is turning nine on July 5, found lots of love - and loads of birthday wishes - online.

His father, Mr Chris Hope-Smith from Leeds, had put up an appeal on Twitter for birthday wishes for the boy who was struggling with bullying. He wrote in a series of tweets last Thursday: "Strange request. Anyone know anyone famous/well known who could send Ollie a positive/9th birthday message. The bully keeps saying to him that everything O has, he has bigger/better/more often... Just would love someone to tell him he does mean something."

His wish was answered. Birthday greetings poured in from people - including celebrities - after his message was retweeted more than 14,000 times.

Australian actor Russell Crowe, who was among those who responded, tweeted: "Hey Ollie, heard it was your birthday. 9 years old eh? Congratulations, Happy Birthday!"

The boy even got an invitation from the England football team: "Fancy coming to see us in September? Let us know and we'll make it happen."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 02, 2017, with the headline 'Random acts of kindness uplift the Internet'. Print Edition | Subscribe