What cost kindness..? Gavin Lambe-Murphy

Recently I was a guest on Talk Radio Europe, to discuss bullying and online trolling. The sudden death of TV personality Caroline Flack was enough for people to sit up and take notice of a situation that has been out of control for quite some time. For years,  I’ve been on the receiving end of online trolls, as well as, certain mainstream journalists, who felt it was okay to write negative, and sometimes very personal things about me. People I have never met, with such serious dislike for me. How can it be that someone can bother you so much, having never met them in the real world?

To read these articles online, can bring you down. Especially when complete lies appear, and others can comment as they see fit. So, for years I have opted to ignore it all, even when people made it their business to draw my attention to the various hatred out there.  In the days following the radio interview, I saw many people change their social media profiles to include a “Be kind” logo or message. While all awareness is good, it made me think, we need kindness much closer to home, than online. Start by being kind to those we encounter on a daily basis. Be kind to the man you pass on the street, smile. Be kind by simply holding a door for someone. Be kind by biting your tongue, when someone does something to annoy you. We never know what’s going on in anyone’s life, so why add to the stress?

As the week unfolded, I found myself lunching at the Marbella Club Hotel, a place that’s been a firm favourite for many years.  I was due to meet a lady who wanted to ask my advice on curating a serious art collection. She arrived, and let’s say,  was noticed by the other diners, who turned as she walked through the room. Head-to-toe in Hermes,  with enough sparkle to make Harry Winston jealous, on paper she was typically Marbella. While she wanted to collect art, it was clear she already collected compliments. However, within moments of saying hello, I realised that there was a problem. Something that I was unable to handle.  As the waiter approached the table, she was blatantly rude towards him. Cold, dismissive and snobbish. Why, oh why, do certain types of people feel it’s okay to treat waiters, or anyone, in such a way? As if by putting them down, they’re building themselves up?

I watched for as long as I could bear, as she spoke at the charming, smiling waiter. Her tone, as if he’d asked if her Birkin was real!  After the first course of lunch was complete, I whispered across the table “this isn’t going to work.”  Bewildered, coldly she asked what I was talking about, her rudeness now directed at me. Calling for the bill, I explained that I couldn’t stand to remain in her company, and how I wouldn’t feel right about helping her source an art collection. Yes, my words were harsh and final, but I felt that sometimes there are situations, where one must be less kind to certain people, in order to offer kindness to those who deserve it most. Even if that kindness costs you a tidy commission fee.

Author badge placeholder
Written by