You may have seen over the weekend that I didn’t do very well at the whole ‘camping’ thing whilst at Camp Bestival. I think I’ll write separately about why it didn’t quite work out for me but, in the meantime, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) that happened that picked me up just when I was feeling really down.
I knew the weather was going to be bad on Friday night and as I sat in my (oh-so-small 2 man tent), listening to the rain begin on Friday afternoon I made the executive decision we should leave and go home. The plan was that we’d go into the main area to pick up a quick snack (I couldn’t cook on the stove because of the rain – I didn’t have any cover), and then see if we could book a FestiTaxi (basically a buggy with a trailer on the back) for later that evening to take us, and all our belongings, back to the car in 1 go.
However, because of the rain, everyone wanted to use a taxi to take them back to their tents. Now I’m not calling them lazy … but our needs were TOTALLY greater than theirs!
So a taxi wasn’t an option.
Plan B was to hire a trolley ourselves that would enable us to fit everything in so we only had to go back to the car once. We had 2 small trollies but trust me, the trek back to the car park (UPHILL) is the last thing you want to do when you have a migraine.
We queued for over 20 minutes only to get to the front of the queue to be told that they didn’t have any trollies available that they could hire out for an hour. The truck full of trollies told a different story but hey, who am I to argue?
As we walked, rather despondently, back to our tents, ready to begin the marathon packing up session, a man walked alongside us carrying his own trolley. He’d obviously been luckier than us.
We then had the following exchange:
Him: “Excuse me, but I was behind you in the queue for the trollies. Did you only need one for an hour or so?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m not feeling great so need to get home.”
Him: “I’m only down the hill from you, you’re more than welcome to borrow mine.”
Me: “Are you sure? That would be SO helpful, thank you!”
So he left his trolley with us and went back to his tent. Five minutes later, he came back but with his friend in tow and said they were here to help us!
So for the next twenty minutes, the four of us packed everything up and filled the trolley! The only thing we couldn’t figure out (and I doubt we’re alone) was how to get the pop up tents back in their bags and by now, I really didn’t care. I wanted to go home so badly I just told him to leave them.
I handed him my crate of beer (I’d only had the one beer upon arrival) and offered it as some form of payment for their help – I think they were quite happy with that.
Not only did they help me pack, they then took the trolley all the way to the entrance for me. When I explained that the security guard said he’d let me drive my car to the bottom so I could load it up, they wouldn’t hear of it and took the trolley back to the car for me! Bearing in mind it was at the top of a big hill, I couldn’t believe how kind they were.
And not only that …. when we got to the car, they even packed the car for me!
How awesome was that?!
I couldn’t thank them enough and as I shook their hands and thanked them profusely, they mentioned just passing another RAOK onwards. I explained that not 20 minutes before I’d bumped into trolley man, a woman had fallen over in front of Dexter and I and we came to her rescue, picking her (and her toasted sandwiches) up off the floor and helped her down the hill.
So it seems kindness really does pay.
Once the two guys left the car, Dexter and I couldn’t wait to be on our way. I began charging the phone so that we could get the Sat Nav up and running, but as I reversed the car and began to drive to the very top of the hill so that we could find the exit, disaster struck!
The grass was slippery from the rain and the car was so heavy, it wouldn’t go up the hill!
I asked Dexter to get out to make it a little lighter and I tried a bizarre zig-zag driving technique to see if that worked – it didn’t. We were stuck.
I could have cried! We were so close to being on our way and failed at the last hurdle. I didn’t know what to do.
I got out of the car and looked across the car park and thankfully spied two men and a woman getting out of their car. I shouted across, explained, and asked if they wouldn’t mind helping me.
They came straight across, pushed us up the hill and we were off!
The ride home was uneventful and, after leaving Camp Bestival at 8.30pm, we finally arrived home at 12.30am. Exhausted but happy to be home.
So camping might not be for me, at least not this year, but those kind strangers made me feel thankful to be a part of a festival like that where people can be so generous.
Would I go again? I’m undecided. I certainly wouldn’t go in a 2 man tent again! But there’s something special about a festival atmosphere like Camp Bestival … and I think that’s worth experiencing again.