Lothian buses and Evening News launch ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ campaign

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Lothian and Evening News team up to recognise ‘Random Acts of Kindness’

On Princes Street, most folk seem to be in a hurry to get to wherever they are going. Most are marching with purpose, heads down against the wind, seemingly anxious to get there before the heavens open and give them a soaking.

Sarah Taylor and Sarah Firth handed out various goodies to passengers

Sarah Taylor and Sarah Firth handed out various goodies to passengers

It is the kind of day when it is easy to feel that the world is against you. But the opposite is true as well. A warm smile or a friendly word from a stranger, an offer of help as you struggle to get the kids’ buggy on to the bus, a loan of a brolly to shelter from the elements and suddenly the world feels like a better place.

READ MORE: Random Acts of Kindness: How to nominate your Lothian buses Champion

Good deeds can transform your day. The phenomena known as Random Acts of Kindness has been well documented. There has even been academic research on the subject. The simple fact is that a kind act from a stranger does far more good than is immediately apparent.

Help someone struggling with their bags and you are doing far more than just making their trip home from the shops a little easier. You can change their mood, lift their spirit and ultimately transform their day. Then, they might do the same for someone else. It can set a virtuous circle in motion.

The launch of the Random Acts of Kindness Programme

The launch of the Random Acts of Kindness Programme

That is why the Evening News has teamed up with Lothian buses to promote Random Acts of Kindness and celebrate the good deeds done by their staff each day.

Whether it is buying coffee for a friend, lending a helping hand to a neighbour in need or simply holding the door open for a colleague in the office; it is often said that a little kindness goes a long way.

But in Edinburgh, it seems good deeds are spreading across the city, thanks in part to the selfless actions of the Capital’s bus drivers.

As part of the campaign launch, Lothian staff were on hand to give something back to passengers, passing out umbrellas, gloves, cosy socks and chocolates to surprised commuters waiting in bus stops in the city centre.

Kirsten Crawford, 29, from Corstorphine, was given a pair of gloves and said the random act of kindness “put a smile on her face”.

She added: “I was really surprised, you don’t expect something like that to happen every day, so when it does I think you value it more.

“I was just standing waiting for the bus on my way home from work and it was something that really put a smile on my face. I get the bus every single day and it is really nice to have the company give something back to the people who use their services.

“I think some people probably think Edinburgh isn’t maybe as friendly as other places, but little things like this really show what the city is all about.”

Margaret Delugosz, 25, was waiting to board the bus on Princes Street with kids Julia, four, and Boris, one, and said it was a “lovely surprise”.

She added: “It’s very nice to be given something for free, we have sweets, gloves and bus tickets, so they are all very useful, it’s very rare to be given that. The kids are delighted too.”

Friends Gloria Peddie, 78, and Georgina McKay, 74, from Bonnington said: “I think Edinburgh is a really friendly city, wherever you go in the world, you tell people you are from Edinburgh, they all say it’s fantastic.

“It’s nice to see that every day.”

They added: “The age we are, everybody used to help each other out all the time with whatever they needed, you see the difference nowadays. But I think that means you appreciate these little acts of kindness when they come along as well.”

Housing officer Gordon Cunningham, 57, from Prestonpans, who was handed an adult day ticket was pleased to be on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

He said: “It’s a fantastic idea, you don’t get a lot for free these days and I didn’t expect to be surprised when I got off the bus like this. I also didn’t think Lothian buses would be doing anything like this, so it’s a really nice feeling.”

According to Adam Moore, psychology lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, humans are prompted to perform good deeds for other people when they are feeling low, as a way of boosting our own self-confidence and make us feel better about ourselves.

He said: “The consensus seems to be that we do good deeds because it makes us feel good about ourselves, but people are somewhat more likely to engage in altruistic acts if they’re feeling a little down.

“Also, if people feel really good already, they tend to be less likely to do good things for others since they don’t need the mood boost.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com