The kindness of strangers

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.  Blanche Dubois has been committed to a mental institution and utters this signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away.

It is the kindness of strangers that is the most uplifting and purest form of altruism.  It is this that allows us to take solace from tragic events, stories of the unconditional kindness of strangers that emerged from the victims of 9/11 and 7/7 counteracts our despair.  There is also the nagging doubt, would we, in the same circumstance, find similar courage.

On a more mundane level, it is one of the joys of travelling the Western Highland single track roads, the opportunity to interact with a complete unknown who has taken the opportunity give way, to ease into the passing place, to give you priority, to make your passage, however briefly, that much easier.  You wave your appreciation and most will acknowledge with a wave in return – we proceed, uplifted.

And then there are those who give of their time and energy without even realising.  I feel I owe these two girls a debt of gratitude.  They are street performers on Las Rambla, Barcelona and I have used their image on a whole variety of occasions, even on business cards.  Whoever you are and wherever you are now, thanks for your uplifting bizarre performance.

The lyrics are courtesy of Robert Allen Zimmerman and the observant will appreciate that the words don’t match the song title – poetic licence.  Mr Z, an unlisted passion since I was 12 – from the timeless joys of Blonde on Blonde through to Not Dark Yet and beyond.

And then there are those strangers who ‘like’ my blog or even take time to post kind comments – thanks to you as well.  I proceed, uplifted.


  1. nature789 · July 29, 2012

    I like this post. The kindness of strangers can restore the faith one may need at that very moment. Pay it Forward in a sense. Your sentences flow, thank you.

  2. Debbie · September 12, 2015

    I like being a kind stranger. When you see someone in need, there is no distance, only human compassion. Except when you see professional beggars. thats a whole other story. Those street performers in Barcelona are now world famous, courtesy of the kindness of a stranger who was moved in some way by their performance. And then again, there’s Mr Z. its always amazing travelling to places from books or song.s….

Leave a Reply to nature789 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s