Friday, June 29, 2012
I was traveling home from Atlanta today and had the chance to witness (and participate in) a number of examples of kindness to strangers. In the Atlanta airport, you take an underground train from the security/ticketing/baggage claim area to the various terminals. While I was on the train, I saw a woman, looking a bit unsure of herself, ask a stranger for some directions. Not only did the stranger explain where she needed to go, but he went out of his way to give her repeated explicit directions, letting her know what signs to look for, which way to turn, etc. Since I was getting off at the same stop as her, I also made sure she knew where to go.
I witnessed this same type of friendliness almost everywhere I went. Sure, most people were absorbed in their own journey and where they needed to go, but any time someone needed help, people were glad to assist. I also saw a great deal of politeness.
As I've noted before, it's possible that I'm seeing these things because I'm more attuned to looking for them. However, for those who think the world is mostly filled with rude and selfish people, I'd argue that the world is filled with a whole mixture of different types of people and that you'll see exactly what you're looking for. I'm consistently finding that most people are kind and generous and want to help each other.
By the way, when I went back through the toll I wrote about yesterday, I again paid for the person behind me. Once again, there was no sign of recognition from the other driver. I'm not quite sure what to make of that (probably nothing) so I'll leave it as nothing more than an observation.