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Janne Vanessche, of Belgium, and her boyfriend were fighting - a lovers' quarrel. The argument was over something trivial, but, to an outsider, things may have looked serious. When Janne fled to a nearby park to clear her head, she was surprised to hear an unfamiliar voice call out to her.
Janne shared this story of romantic intervention with Kind World, WBUR's series celebrating acts of kindness.
JANNE VANESSCHE: I was with my boyfriend, um, and we were walking home when we had a fight. It was over something very silly, something really insignificant, our opinions didn't align perfectly, but, you know how in the heat of an argument small things can seem very important, you know? From an outsider's perspective it must have really looked like a serious, terrible fight, and I decided that, you know, if I stay here now I might say things that I'm going to regret because I get caught up in arguments.
So I decided to cross the street and go into the park. It was about 11 at night, so it was dark, and I was just loitering around the park, you know, trying to calm myself down. And suddenly this person calls out to me, from behind me, "Hey, you know that he loves you, right?"
I got a little scared, naturally. Forty-something guy, park, at night, you know, all these red flags popping up, but there was something about his posture and the way he talked. He kept his distance.
He had come, like, quite a ways into the park just to find me. And he suddenly, he dropped my boyfriend's name, he said, "The guy, in the entrance, you know, the blond guy. He's waiting for you, and he told me that he loves you. Do you love him?" And I replied, "Yes, yes I do. And I really want to make things right." And he said, "You know, come on. Let's go back."
It felt so surreal. I'm not the type of person who likes, you know, the romantic movies and the romantic ending. I'm not that type of person, but at the time it really felt like I was part of one of those movies.
He took me by the hand, because I was still crying like a child, and he led me back to the entrance of the park to find my boyfriend. He said, "You know, alright, this fight is over right now, and you're going to kiss and make up." Which we did. I swear to you we had completely forgotten about the fight. It was just so meaningless.
You know, I was very moved, and I asked him, you know, "Why are you doing this? You don't know us. Had we been unreceptive to the things you said you might have, I don't know, gotten beaten up." And he said, "You know, I've been married twice in my life. My first wife, she and I, we fought a lot." And they ended up breaking up over a very small, unimportant thing, not unlike what me and my boyfriend had just gone through. He said it was like seeing a flashback.
And then he remarried, but it wasn't soon after that his wife was, sadly, diagnosed with cancer, terminal cancer. He said, "You know, we didn't fight a lot, but now that she's gone, all I can remember is wasted time, and, " he said, "it's just not worth it. If you have found someone special in your life, you keep them close and you do not fight over these small things, and I learned that the hard way."
His sole goal that night was to go into the park, patch things up between us, and make sure that we didn't fight over something so small again.
Kind World is produced by Zack Ezor, Lisa Tobin and Nate Goldman, and is a project of the WBUR iLab, celebrating stories of kindness and the profound effect that one act can have on our lives.
This segment aired on March 12, 2015.
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