Peter audits a neuroscience class at Boston University. He is the oldest of the sixteen students in the class. The others are young enough to be his grandchildren.
In class on Tuesday, his nose started to bleed profusely. As he pinched his nostrils to try to stop the bleeding, he did not notice that the student sitting next to him left the room until she came back and handed him a box of tissues. Peter was impressed enough by her thoughtfulness to tell me about it.
Two days later, he and I were sitting in a large auditorium where we are auditing a class at a different university. We arrived late and couldn’t sit together. He was in the row behind me, and I was not aware that he was having another nosebleed. The young man next to him did notice, left the class and came back with a handful of wet and dry paper towels.
Two small acts of kindness to a stranger made me feel a little more hopeful about the future.