In Japan, if you wanted to go anywhere outside of your home right now, you’d need to have your mask on. Convenience stores, restaurants, and public transportation all have written reminders requesting the public to put their masks on.

Even before the pandemic, people in Japan were already well-versed in mask etiquette. It’s common to turn up to work or school in a mask if you had a cold or any sort of illness that other people might catch.

Of course, Japan isn’t a perfect society, and if you walk around for a while, you’re bound to spot maskless people every now and then. In these cases, the store’s staff might come up to them and ask them to please wear a mask, or if they’re outdoors, they might be given some stares by people around them.

Recently, Twitter user Yayoi Umino (@uminyo) shared a different type of response to a maskless person on the bus, something which was retweeted by and surprised thousands of Japanese people on social media.

According to Umino, they were on their way home from their part-time job when a maskless old lady got on their bus. The driver asked her, “Do you have a mask?”, to which the old lady responded with, “Oh! Oh no! I can’t get on the bus without a mask?” and started to appear panicked.

As if on cue, several passengers rummaged through their belongings until another elderly woman handed the maskless old lady a mask saying, “Please, take it!” Umino then ends the Tweet with feelings of relief and writes, “I’m surrounded by kindness!”

Despite the briefness of the whole interaction, reading Umino’s story can be a good reminder that while we’re all still separated by this pandemic, there are still acts of everyday kindness we can do to others even with the distance.

By - Jen Laforteza.