Posts Tagged ‘civility’

You’ve seen the commercial, probably a hundred times now. 

Liberty Mutual’s Helping Hand Campaign

I feel great after watching it, and I think proudly to myself that I’m that kind of person.  Then I get out of my seat and enter the world — the message a faded memory, like the shadow of a dream. 

I become irritated and gripe out loud in my car at the driver who cuts me off only to be one car ahead in an endless line of cars barely moving on the interstate.  I walk past and laugh to myself at the person juggling their planner, computer bag, coffee and cell phone, which is open and pinched between their head and shoulder while they try to push the elevator button.  And on my way to a meeting, I rush around the woman in the hallway who’s dropped her wallet spilling change everywhere.

At lunch, I head to the dance shop to pick up my new ballroom shoes and find the owner talking to a tall, slender woman, tears streaming down her face.  I can’t help but overhear. 

“Oh, it was nothing really,” says the tall, slender woman.  “If she left the house she could have gotten sick.  Her doctor said dancing could be her physical therapy, saving her parents the cost and aggravation of formal therapy.  I couldn’t walk away from that; I couldn’t charge her family. She was one of my most passionate students.  Anyone would have done the same.”

The dance store owner looks shocked and begins shaking her head vehemently.  “No!  In fact, I think most people wouldn’t have even thought of it!”

I think of the commercial.  I think of my behavior of the morning.  And I am frozen as my inner Muses teach me.

How often do we come across people in desperate situations where help is a a godsend?  And how often do we come across people in a situation where help is a gift?  And what is the magnitude of help required in each situation?  Yet which are we more likely to participate in?  To pay attention to? 

Which has the most impact? 

Throw a large rock into a pond.  Throw a scattered handful of small pebbles in the pond.  Which has the greater likelihood of covering the entire pond with ripples?

That afternoon, I found myself acutely aware of the small needs of the people around me.  And I found myself reaching out to help.  Moments of my time, minimal effort.  Later that day,  I noticed one of the people I helped open a door for the cleaning lady, a warm smile spread across his face, and subsequently over hers.  Perhaps I was part of the cycle that caused that smile, that open door…

The thought froze me to the spot, for the second time that day.

If we are separated by six degrees and have three-degrees of influence, we might be able to change half the world.  And perhaps it’s these small moments and minimal outlays of effort that will be the key to doing so.

Liberty Mutual’s Let Go

I invite you to join my civility revolution.

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