WE WERE JUST about to turn away from a bus stop in Aberdeen, when we realized that we couldn’t take the bus. My friend and I forgot our student cards — for the first time! — and we didn’t have enough change.
At that moment, we encountered a lady who’s new to town, and was asking which bus goes to the casino. We tried our best to help her out until she asked how much it would cost her. “Two to three dollars, we’re not sure, we usually use our student cards,” we said, and we also told her that we forgot them this time but we’ll see how it goes.
“Now I’m worried about you guys, I’ll go get you change,” she said while running to the gas station nearby. She came back in a minute, we begged her to keep her money, but she put 6$ into my pocket and walked away.
My friend and I were overwhelmed by her kindness. She doesn’t know us. We don’t know her. All we know about her is that she’s a great person whose actions are louder than words. And we spent our day talking about her. We also realized, the whole day was going really well for us.
Yes, that lady was nice. “This is Ihsan,” I said. Ihsan is an Arabic-Islamic concept of integrity, perfection, and doing good to others. So, we were lucky to meet such a kind person. But, was it really luck? What if we didn’t forget our cards or run out of change? We wouldn’t have seen her kindness. If we were there one minute later or earlier, we wouldn’t have encountered her. That wasn’t luck; the whole situation was meant to happen.
What if we hadn’t forgotten our student cards or run out of change? We wouldn’t have experienced a stranger’s kindness
“Why us?” we asked while thinking, this could’ve happened to someone else. Someone else could’ve been in our situation. She could’ve asked one of the other people who were at the bus stop. “I think our positive energy is attracting all those good incidents to us,” my friend said. That could be because of the positive affirmations we placed that morning.
After all, we said that we really hoped she received such kindness back in her life. “Karma” is the last concept that came into the discussion. Good Karma will find its way back to her for sure. She will receive Ihsan because of her Ihsan, and because what goes around comes around.
That train of thought went to a circle.
How are these concepts different?
Some Arab cultures believe in Ihsan, and that doing good to yourself and others will deploy righteousness.
Some Indian and Asian cultures believe in Karma. Good Karma indicates that good intentions, actions, results and influence are always tied together.
Some Western cultures believe in the statement, “What goes around comes around.”
Some people involved in the New Age would call it, ‘The Law of attraction’ or ‘Positive Affirmation.’
Different ways of describing the same concept, this is how I see it now, but they all won’t change the fact that our bus stop friend was a great person.
Nada Alsalahi is a Saudi Arabian student enrolled in the Journalism program at Thompson Rivers University.