NOT one of us was really prepared for the life changes that have happened since the coronavirus outbreak.

In the UK we were going about our lives, oblivious to what was about to hit, and the speed at which our lives would unravel.

Let’s face it, we were pretty complacent, with our well-stocked, 24-hour supermarkets, entertainment on tap and freedom to go and do as we please without worry. Now all that has changed. Now we can’t take anything for granted - not even buying loo roll or a tin of chopped tomatoes from your local Costcutter.

Sadly, this new way of living has brought out the worst in some people. Last week I joined a nine-strong queue outside Superdrug, awaiting a newly-delivered consignment of hand sanitiser. Unfortunately, only six small bottles arrived. With a restriction of two per customer, I imagined that the first three people in the queue would ignore this and each buy one, allowing six people to get one, but instead they each bought two.

Before sales of goods were restricted by supermarkets I saw people buying so much toilet roll they needed more than one trolley and one woman virtually clearing the pasta section in Tesco. “I ‘m buying for a lot of people,” she told me and another disappointed shopper, refusing to relinquish even one bag. We didn’t believe a word of it.

Some people are mind-blowingly selfish and really don’t care if they are depriving others through grabbing so much for themselves.

One Tesco was forced to shut its doors early after selfish shoppers invaded the hour reserved for NHS staff and some traders too have been exploiting this crisis, with some selling hand sanitisers at vastly inflated prices.

But amid all this mayhem there is kindness. ‘If you would like any help at any time in the future please do get in touch’ said a circular delivered to everyone in my village, giving contact numbers to ring for anyone who needs help.

Several people have already signed up to be on hand to do what they can to those who may be anxious, need shopping or just want to talk to someone on the end of a phone line.

My parents, who live an hour’s drive away, have been contacted by several people in their village, saying they are only a phone call away if they need provisions or help with anything at all.

And my daughter, who lives in south London, received a note pushed through her door from a community group set up to help anyone who feels cut-off or needs anything.

‘If you’re self-isolating you’re not alone’, it says ‘Do you need someone to run errands, do your shopping, cook food, walk your dog, pick up a prescription etc? We can help!’ That note made me feel better, knowing that there are people in her neighbourhood who she could turn to if need be.

People in rural and urban communities across the country are reaching out to each other to offer help in any way they can.

Amid the panic buying, I was also heartened to see a stack of food bank donations at the entrance to two supermarkets. It reminded me that, among all the ‘me, me, me’ behaviour, some people were thinking of others as they shopped.

There is a great deal of kindness in the world and, horrible though it is, this pandemic may result in us all learning valuable lessons about putting others before ourselves. The only way we are all going to get through this is by supporting each other, in particular those who are more vulnerable.

Now we know that life as we know it can change in a heartbeat, it may teach us to appreciate what we have far more than we currently do.