Random act of kindness


This post has been shared internationally, hence some strange references.

Hi there fellow kind humans. My name is Jess and I am trying to help a colleague. He doesn’t know I’m doing this and he hasn’t asked for help, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it. 

I live sunny South Africa (no, we don’t ride our elephants to work or keep lions as pets?? we use cheetahs to travel and have giraffes as pets, they keep the trees trimmed back ??)

So, this colleague of mine Paul is a young man, 30ish has 2 beautiful little kids aged 3 (little baby Girl) 5 (beautiful baby boy) I wouldn’t call him a friend but you don’t need to be someone’s friend to be kind. I would say, has become my work friend. He’s always polite, quietly spoken, so respectful and a wonderful dad. He’s a hard worker, brilliant at what he does, management love and respect him, in fact I don’t know anyone in my company that would say they don’t like him. We chat at work, you know, the general chit chat and what he told me a few months ago has broken my heart. His wife, who I think they were high school sweethearts, are now going through a divorce. Short explanation… she doesn’t work, she has zero ambition to work (even I was sending her CV around early last year). This has led her to drinking, not being at home in the evenings, staying out all night, having affairs - you get the picture. Paul has really tried to help her but she must also want help herself 1st. They then agreed they should separate. She moved in with family or friends and left the kids with Paul, which he had no issue with as he is the only bread winner in the house and knew they would be happy and safe. 

Back in August she asked if he could drop the kids off for the day as she would like to see them … oh wait, after she left him and her kids, she proceeded with divorce proceedings but has been incredibly dishonest about the character of Paul… back to her wanting to see the kids. So he drove 50 odd km’s so they could see their mom, she gave him a time for later that day when he could collect them. So off he goes, a few hours go by, he goes back now to collect them and they are GONE! His 2 kids, the ex wife and the ex mother in law. He called and called with no answer. Then phones were off. I think he went to the police station (unsure) but he called his lawyer. I’m not sure the period of time that went by where he eventually heard from them and found out where they were. So we live inland in a city called Johannesburg and she was now in coastal city, 1000kms away. Bearing in mind we are still in the thick of covid, kids school lives have been disrupted for the last 2 years and then add this in to the mix, having to witness their parents marriage and everything they’ve ever known, falling apart. Again, unsure of time period and exact details here but I know he flew down to go see them and as he landed he was issued with a protection order. (Local flights in SA are NOT cheap) Now, he’s just landed in a different city to see his kids but he can’t because of this order. I AM NOT SHAMING ANYONE HERE, I am speaking what has been told to me and I obviously don’t know every detail, I don’t want to, but I listen when he needs to talk…. my heart bleeds for this boy and his kids, she could’ve at least allowed him to spend time with them before issuing the protection order. I can’t remember all the legalities and semantics that followed but what I remember him saying whilst she was living in the different city … ( he has since found out more horrid stories)

Remember she doesn’t work, she doesn’t have a matric/high school diploma and not having that makes it incredibly difficult to get a decent job or any job of that matter! Being their dad or just a decent human, he calls his kids at night (if she answered) so he could say goodnight, 95% of the time he called, the ex  (with her kids) was drunk, sitting in a bar or shabeen, driving drunk with the kids in the car at all hours of the night (a shabeen in SA is the local pub of a community but usually in an informal settlement, where it really is so unsafe for kids to be especially if their mother is drunk - it would be dangerous for the mother AND the kids) if the kids weren’t with her, she left them at home alone and she would go out with her mom or friends or alone I am not a parent but I am an aunt and even just an aunt to all my friends kids, family or not, you do not endanger lives of children like that! Who knows what else went on?! Let’s fast forward a couple months to this week… late in the evening, Paul gets a call from her saying “you have until tomorrow to come fetch your sh!t” 

Naturally he books the first ticket, chats to his lawyer, and by the next morning he had his babies in his arms and brought them home, the very next day he had them back in school, I asked him why so soon and he said it’s what they know and just wanted to get them back into a healthy routine again. 

A little bit about Paul, that I know. His immediate and extended family are supportive and live close by. Paul works in the drawing office, he does detail designing. Now I have no idea how much he earns but what I do know is that most Draughties get paid per hour on a contract basis. No work = no pay. We work for an amazing company that is so family oriented so I can imagine there was leniency and just pure empathy given to him with his time off however, from what I know about Paul, and I think most humans are like this, we don’t ask for help because we’re embarrassed, or our pride is bruised, or we think we’re the only ones  etc … especially because this is a very personal matter. So I don’t know if he is getting support elsewhere but I do know he won’t ask. 

What sparked me to ask for this donation was this: 

On Wednesday he asked me if I knew if anyone I know wants to buy a Sony PS5, brand new. He had won it in a competition and was keeping it for Christmas for his son but with all the flying up and down, lawyers fees etc etc he needed the money urgently. So he sent me pics of it, I posted on my social media and within a few minutes a friend called saying she wants now! My heart was so relieved. I briefly explained the situation she was then even more eager to take it. What a win hey?! 

So I call Paul, I told him and, look, he isn’t the most expressive guy, but he could not stop saying thank you. The money was transferred immediately and my mate will go past and collect it today. 

While all of that was going on, I had received a message about the PlayStation from another colleague Sarah, who knows Paul but she didn’t know my advert was for Paul. 

I didn’t say it was for Paul but I gave a brief overview of how bad the situation is and she suggested we get a crowdfunding going. Sarah has already agreed to put money in my account as her contribution and this is post/beg/plea is the next step. 

Personally, I don’t like asking for money, but at work or with friends I am that one that rally’s to get money for a colleague’s birthday or a friends special occasion. from 1c to thousands of rands/dollars, I do not care about the value, it’s the fact that you care. My favourite saying is from Ellen Degeneras “Be kind to one another” 

I really try live that way. When I do do any charity drives or donation begging ??, it’s for the animals so this one is a little different for me. 

I would like to receive as much a possible and what I would like to do it’s get his kids school fees for next year paid up upfront and get them their new informs for the new school year in 2022. Those monthly costs are high and if we can ease the burden and take away one less thing to worry about, why the heck not! If there is any extra cash left over, it will be used for legal fees. I think he is also behind on his mortgage, so I would like to clear any arrears. The last thing he needs is to lose his home. 

When I spoke to him last night I asked the kids are and he said calmer but traumatised - he is pro therapy and we will be looking in to that too. 

I thank you all for reading this, if you aren’t able to donate, go give your little one an extra long hug and say a prayer for Paul and his kids. If you are able to donate THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart - if you are ever in South Africa, let me know. 

I will keep this story updated on the progress. 

Thanks again all you kind humans


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