Nothing flat about the kindness of strangers
This week I was reminded that the default setting for the nature of most people is good.
The incident that sparked this happened on Monday when the car I was driving suffered a blowout on Al Khail Road in Dubai.
I managed to get it safely to the side of the road and I would have got down in the dust and changed the tyre had it been any old car.
Unfortunately, it wasn't any old car but a sports car I was test driving for the paper - one that is not equipped with a spare.
To confound my predicament I realised my mobile phone was plugged into a socket in my kitchen at home.
Things were not looking good.
And with nothing but roadworks around me, I guessed there was little hope of a Good Samaritan stopping to help a middle-aged, overweight Brit next to a flash car in 40C-plus heat.
How wrong I was.
I didn't come across one Good Samaritan, but five. Two offered to change the tyre (I explained the difficulty there), one lent me his phone and another offered to take the shredded tyre to the nearest garage to get a replacement. One chap even spent the best part of 30 minutes driving up and down Al Khail Road in the hope of flagging down a passing recovery lorry.
I was genuinely surprised at the lengths these people would go to for a complete stranger.â¨
Yet, why should I have been surprised? Why did I assume people wouldn't want to help?
I guess the answer is that we tend to remember the selfish acts perpetrated on us - being tailgated in traffic, someone queue-jumping at the supermarket, the taxi driver who refuses to take you a couple of kilometres... etc - and not the acts of kindness.
So perhaps the next time someone asks me to go through a door first or a waiter rushes out of a restaurant with the sunglasses I have left behind, I will be more appreciative.
Hopefully you will too.
Simon Pluckrose is Head of News at Al Sidra Media LLC, which publishes 7DAYSinDubai.com, 7DAYSinAbuDhabi.com and the newspaper 7DAYS