He has the Madiba Magic

There are some days when I just can’t believe the genuine kindness of the fellow South African. Deep down we are a caring nation and that, I can vouch for. This weekend I was once again astounded by a random act of kindness.

I had been for a long stroll on the beach with Jade, a warm sunny day and slowly we trundled back towards Blaauwberg. As we got closer we heard a familiar sound ringing in the wind as it wafted down the beach. Jades little ears pricked, thirsty from the long walk she looked up at me, I knew what was coming.

“Daddy,” she said, “I am so thirsty and tired, can I have an ice cream”. My heart dropped, I had no money on me. I walked and thought for a while, what was I going to say. I tried the “it’s nearly supper” story; or “I will give you an ice cream when we get home”. Nothing worked, the little pleading continued.

As the bell rang louder so the children began to run from different directions of the beach to the ice cream seller, mothers in tow, excited voices began to get louder as the could no longer contain themselves, now climbing all over the cart. Then Jade bolted to the cart with the rest of the kids. Mothers queued to pay as the little kids chose their ice creams and then ran off in excitement to eat them. Jade just stood on the peripheral watching this, looking back at me with pleading eyes. I came up to her and again explained that I had no money, but nothing I said could console her as she stood with tears streaming down her face. As I sit here I can still see her little figure looking out to sea, tears streaming down her cheeks and dropping into the sand, quietly sobbing.

The excitement had stopped; all the children were quietly sitting eating. The ice cream seller looked up after repacking his cart, replaced the lid and stood back turning his head in the direction of this little sobbing figure, I felt so bad. He smiled at her and called her over, looking up she ran over to him, he lifted her up onto the cart and opened the lid.

“You can choose anyone you want” he said. I quickly walked up to him I explained that Jade can’t have one as I can’t pay for it. He looked up at me and smiling he said, “Sir, there is no bigger reward than to see a child smile, I know, I have many grand children. Don’t worry about paying; it’s a gift from me.”

“George, you once again proved, those who have the least in life are always prepared to give the most”. (Jade and I returned later, paid for the ice cream and presented him with a big plate of Sunday lunch).

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