I continually find myself amazed at the everyday kindness of people on this big blue marble.
The other night I found myself in line for tickets to a ballgame. Handing a coupon to the clerk on the other side of the ticket window, she found herself in the situation of telling me the special seats were already sold out.
“Hey,” came a man’s voice behind me, “we’ve a buy-one get-one-free coupon you can have.
Turning around I found a woman searching through her purse to find a coupon for someone they’d never met until minutes earlier.
Here we are, both wearing shirts supporting opposing teams on the field, yet seeing right through all the superficial noise to help out another.
I know most people might consider an unyielding faith in others as ridiculously naive, but my experiences have led me to believe in the best in people around me.
Over the years I’ve met people from a near as next door — and as far away as the opposite side of the planet – only to discover we share a set of nearly identical values. We love our families, we want the best for our children, and we like to help others in need. Granted the definition of ‘need’ can vary from situation to situation, but inside most of us feel natural urge to help others. But I am convinced, hidden in our DNA, is a special gene designed to cut through everything our conscious tells us and allows us to act on in a universal human manner.
There is an old (and confirmed) story from the Second World War where the German fighter pilot, upon seeing an Allied B-17 mortally disabled, pulls off his guns and escorts the enemy plane across the channel to safety.
I know this is not the same as offering a coupon to a stranger in line at a ballpark, but I believe this ‘human’ gene is in all of us – fighting to overcome the prejudices and influences of the world around us.
This is, after all, one big blue marble. And historically speaking, mankind’s time occupying this orb is only a minor blip on the radar. Like most things, there will be a beginning and ending date for our existence. The difference we can make, however, is how we choose to treat each other in window of time. Our legacy can be one of helping and caring for those in need or one of cold selfishness over borders, resources, and power.
An hour later I found myself with an opportunity to help another and return the favor granted to me earlier. A father with his three daughters was looking up into the seats trying to figure out where they’d been sitting before they’d left for a run to the concession stand. Seeing his frustration, I reached up and waved to him and pointed to the seats ahead of me. Corralling his family, he led them up and across to their seats.
After sitting down and getting the girls situated, he turned and offered me the first handful of peanuts from his newly opened bag.
He didn’t have to thank me or offer to share his food. But inside, I believe this ‘human gene’ pushed through the clutter of daily life and wanted to make a connection – however minor it might be.
And that it is just little moments like these that will always serve to remind me of why I will always believe in the human spirit.
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