This, ladies and gentlemen, may well be my new maxim in my life.
Cynical, I know... but I find it to be unusually fitting for so many situations... I'd like to share with you the one that really drove it home.
A little back story...
Just over a week ago, I had a delightfully light Friday in the office... primarily due to the fact that I was supposed to have jury duty, and so slammed the rest of the week in anticipation of being gone... only then I didn't have to appear... which was fine by me! So coworker N and I decided to work through lunch in order to leave shortly thereafter. The problem with that was that "shortly thereafter" ended up being 2:30... (sigh)... and I was famished. I decided to hit the nearest Taco Bell on the way home.
Now to the story...
I'm in the right lane on Thomas Road, a ways back from the Taco Bell, and I cannot figure out why we are at a dead stand still. The cars in the other lanes are whipping right on by. I move up a couple car lengths... and we're stopped... again. Another light cycle goes by... a couple more car lengths... then stopped. One more round, then finally I'm able to turn into the Taco Bell. But as I pull around the opposite side of the building to the pickup window, I can see the problem: a stalled car.
Now, to help you visualize it a bit better... said stalled car is barely past the driveway of the McDonald's on the corner, which is next to the Taco Bell... there are about 10 vehicles sitting behind the stalled car... the third in the line is a FedEx truck... and as I'm attempting to pull out of the Taco Bell, I'm close enough to see the faces of several drivers stopped in front of me... they are not at all happy.
So I finally muscled my way out of the Taco Bell and promptly turned into the McDonald's... parked my car... walked over to the stalled car... and asked the driver if she wanted help moving her car. She put it in neutral, stayed in it to steer... I pushed car and driver backward up the driveway and into the parking spot next to my car. All in all, this "random act of kindness" took about four minutes, including the pleasantries.
But here's my problem... this woman was stuck in traffic for almost 10 minutes (that I know of, possibly longer)... how is it that I was the first one to help her?? Surely... I hope to God... surely I wasn't the only person to think of this! If I who am short, fat, and generally out of shape can push both car and driver to safety, I'm sure there were others who were able. (Like the FedEx driver? One of his job requirements is to be able to carry 75 pounds, so I know he had the ability.) Did everyone else that had to go around her just not care? Were they really more content to be pissed off than to actually do something about it? What the hell's the matter with you people?!?!?
So here's the deal, folks: I'm not after your praise; I don't want your admiration; and I don't want you to think I'm a great guy for doing what I did. As far as I'm concerned, this is basic stuff... common courtesy that normally doesn't even warrant mentioning.
But what I do want you to do is this: be kind to one another. Convince me that my new maxim doesn't apply. Don't be complacent; don't get angry. Help someone who needs help. Do something to make a lousy situation better. Affect a positive change.
Good luck, everybody...