The pleasure that Anet Richards experiences every time she hands out an overly generous gift or tip to a parking guard or street vendor has made her look at the world differently. But the decision to be so generous wasn’t really a decision – in a way, it was gifted to her.
While on a trip to London for a physiotherapy conference, Anet borrowed a couple of thousand rands from her friend Gary*. When she tried to pay him back on his return to South Africa, he flatly refused to accept the money. Anet argued with him until he suggested she give a R100 gift to anyone who she felt needed it, until the debt was paid up.
‘You will know who to give it to,’ he said.
The thought that she could hold on to the money without him ever knowing did cross her mind… Fortunately it passed quickly – and she’s been on a joyful journey ever since.
Anet started that very day when she observed a solitary lifesaver sitting for hours on the beach with his hoodie around his ears and a towel over his face to keep the sun and wind out. He was diligently focused on the waves and the crowd, and she witnessed him help a few people in strong currents. Anet approached him when his shift had ended.
‘I want to tell you a lovely story,’ she said, and afterwards handed him the R100. He hugged her, beaming in disbelief. ‘Are you sure?’ he as