About kindness

It is said “everyone comes in our lives for a reason”. I feel it and I feel fortunate to have met many people who showed me valuable lessons that I couldn’t learn from school. The very first one is about kindness. The most popular definition we usually use for kindness is to help people in need. But it is not just that…

One day, my friend picked me up on his motorbike, and we went out for dinner. After having dinner, he rode me home. On the way back, we saw some traffic police on the opposite side. He gasped, “OMG…so lucky …they didn’t see us.” When I still didn’t catch what was happening, he explained that he had turned off the lights before we arrived at the restaurant and forgot to turn them on when we left. I asked him why. He recounted an incident, when he was eating at a restaurant by the street, and a new customer on a motorbike with bright lights stared directly into his eyes, causing incredibly discomfort.



From that day onwards, he developed a habit of turning off his motorbike’s lights whenever he parked by a restaurant. In Vietnam, casual restaurants are often located next to the streets, and parking spaces are usually right next to the tables. Therefore, the incident my friend met is quite common. Most of people including me choose to just look away, but my friend he thought and chose to act differently.

My other friend renewed his passport when he returned to his hometown. We met up after he came back to Saigon, and he showed me his new passport. I noticed that one side of his shoulder was noticeably higher than the other in the passport photo. I pointed it out to him, and he acknowledged it. He even mentioned that he was there while the photographer edited his photo. He shared that the photographer was quite elderly and didn’t seem to be in the best health, as his hands were shaking throughout the editing process. I asked him why he didn’t offer to help edit it (because he is able to edit film and photos). He explained, the photographer was doing his job, and interfering might have hurt his pride – a sensitive matter for an artist. He added,  that is not a big deal for him, because he is not famous so no one really cares about his passport’s photo.

Now, as I share these stories, the term “quiet luxury” – all about quality over quantity, focusing on creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style – is becoming more popular. I’ve come to refer to what my friends did as “quiet kindness.” Because the people in the restaurant and the elderly photographer would never know how they were treated. My friends might have forgotten about these incidents as well, but this lesson will stay with me for a lifetime – that kindness is not just about helping someone in need, it can just be refraining from doing things we wouldn’t want to be done to us. Well, it sounds like a simple concept but not always an easy one to put into practice, isn’t it?








夕食後、彼は私を家まで送ってくれた。帰り道、私たちは対向車線に交通警察を見かけた。彼は “OMG…とてもラッキーだった…彼らは私たちを見ていなかった “と息を呑んだ。











私は、友人たちがしたことを “静かな親切 “と呼ぶようになった。なぜなら、レストランにいた人々や年配のカメラマンは、自分たちがどのように扱われたかを知ることはないからだ。





What makes people interesting… or not?