Karan Sharma

A Random Act of Kindness

3 minutes (682 words)

Last month, I did a wonderful trip travelling through the scenic landscapes of Switzerland. My wife and I were in Lucerne and had scheduled a day trip to Mt. Titlis for the next day but were wondering what to do that evening. After strolling along the Chapel Bridge and enjoying an amazing lunch by the waterfront, my wife and I collectively decided to book a Lake Lucerne cruise for the evening. It seemed like the perfect setup for a romantic date night, or so I thought!


We got the tickets from the information booth for the evening and went back to our hotel to freshen up and relax for a bit.

We arrived exactly at 6:45 PM, as mentioned on our tickets, and started to wait. Except, there were only the two of us waiting. We waited for probably half an hour, until 7:15 PM, which was the departure time. Knowing how precise the Swiss transport system usually is, I sensed something fishy. Luckily, I spotted Martin, a staff member of the cruise company, and asked him about it. He looked puzzled by my question and informed me that there was no cruise scheduled for today. Yep, not today, not tomorrow, and not for the rest of the weekend. It was Easter time, and all the cruise trips were cancelled. In fact, he was quite as puzzled as I was as to how the lady at the ticket counter even gave us the tickets for today. However, he told me that he couldn’t do much and suggested writing an email for a refund. I was a bit sad as this dashed our evening plans, but I thought, fine… Shit happens. It’s not the end of the world!

And then, out of nowhere, by pure serendipity, my wife spotted another member of the cruise—this time, in fact, the captain! She began to tell the captain about our ordeal. The captain, a very warm and kind lady, listened to my wife patiently and understood our plight! She apologized on behalf of her company and immediately offered a refund in cash for the tickets that we had purchased. We were quite happy, as following up on emails, etc., was something that I was not particularly excited about looking forward to during the other half of my trip. So we said yes, except she needed to go to the ATM to draw cash. We waited for her and chatted with Martin about random stuff! He told us some really fun stories about how Toblerone’s iconic packaging no longer features the Matterhorn mountain. He also shared practical advice on how to safeguard oneself against pickpockets in Italy(we were gonna visit it soon), and reminisced about his life in Zermatt before relocating to Lucerne.

Anyway, the wait stretched longer than usual, and I found myself wondering about her whereabouts. And then finally, we saw her approaching us. She told us that she hadn’t found a working ATM nearby, and had to go a bit far. But she didn’t come back empty-handed; she also brought us macaroons as a token of her apologies, a gesture that was incredibly thoughtful. She handed us 200 CHF in cash, covering more than the 180 CHF we had paid for our tickets. When we attempted to return the excess 20 CHF, she firmly refused to take it back. Despite our insistence on returning the excess 20 CHF, she remained steadfast, refusing to accept it. She encouraged us to use the extra money to enjoy a few drinks, suggesting it as a consolation for our evening plans being spoiled by the canceled cruise.


I am glad the cruise didn’t happen. Life has its own ways of revealing that kindness exists in every corner of the world, and serendipity can lead to the most memorable encounters! For most, it may not be a huge thing, but for me, it was a profoundly touching and generous act from a stranger who simply chose to be kind without any ulterior motives.

The lesson: Be kind to others, do no harm, and always pay it forward. :)


Tags: #Life