I was in Seoul last week enjoying delivering workshops for a global organisation. The sessions were really inspirational as they involved working with their top 40 managers, helping them think about the impact of personal style on how they worked together.
Global issues really concern me and in my work I do as much as I can to help people connect positively across cultures. There are no teams that I work with these days that are monocultural.
So it was with sadness that I woke up on Thursday morning to hear of the awful deaths on Westminster Bridge outside the London parliament. This was particularly poignant for me as for eight years in the 1970s I lived 200 yards from Westminster Bridge, in fact my morning fitness jogs took me over Westminster Bridge past parliament and back over Lambeth Bridge.
So my day was filled with sadness about these deaths, and also about the hundreds killed in Syria by American bombs which got much less press attention. One man alone, Subham Ibrahim, lost his wife and 3 daughters, as many as were killed in the London attack. It says so much about our priorities that the London deaths received non stop coverage while the Syrian death's coverage were negligible.
In this mood on Friday I walked out for lunch in downtown Seoul. And then an amazing thing happened.
Out of the blue I was approached by a stranger, Marisa Mendez from Spain. She was carrying a flower. She approached my friend and I and asked if we knew the way to the British Embassy. We didn't. When we asked her why she wanted to find the British Embassy, she replied that she wanted to leave a flower of condolence for those killed in London. She had lived happy years in England and had great memories of English people and so wanted to do her part in sending condolences from the Spanish people.
I shared with her that I was English and we both decided it would be appropriate to take a picture together indicating two countries joined in remembering these awful atrocities.
It was a real special event for two strangers to meet in a country not their own and share an intimate global moment of remembrance.
Compassion truly is borderless and global.