Oh Humanity

When disaster strikes somewhere in the world, if the media and celebrity is on board especially, suddenly you see the surge of donations and fundraisers everywhere.

But what about the everyday?  Where did that overflowing of generosity and kindness go?

Last week, my bus buddy was sitting with a bunch of other commuters waiting for the bus.  There was no room to sit so I was standing around the corner.  Once these folks got up to get on their bus, I moved in to sit down. There was a purse laying next to my bus buddy and I knew for sure that wasn’t hers.

I asked anyway, “That’s not your purse, is it?”

My bus buddy gasped. “Oh my gosh! I think that lady left her purse!”

A young Asian chick standing right by turned to me, “Oh yeah, she went on to that bus a second ago.”

My bus buddy and the Asian Chick kept looking at the purse and looked around.  None of them wasn’t going to pick it up, it seemed.

So I did.

The Asian chick put her nose to her blackberry and started walking away.  With much interest, my bus buddy watched me moving in to investigate the purse that laid right next to her.

It’s like watching “What would you do?” show on ABC.  This is the show that fake a situation to see how people would react.  At this juncture, it would’ve been a show where nobody was going to do anything.

I went through the purse, found a wallet with all kinds of IDs with no cash or credit card. There was a cellphone holder in the purse and fortunately no actual phone itself.  So at least she has her phone.  I found her insurance cards with her company on it.  While on my bus, I looked up the company and and called.  I told the receptionist I had recovered this lady’s wallet.  She gave me the lady’s cell phone number and took mine.

My bus buddy signaled at me from the back of the bus to see if I actually made a connection with the purse owner, and I nodded.

The following morning, the purse lady called me and we met at Starbucks.

Apparently, she was on the phone talking to someone the entire time and didn’t realize one of her many bags had slipped off her shoulder, and soon after that her batteries went dead.  That also explained why the neither the receptionist or I could get a hold of her that evening.

“Can I hug you?” she asked.  LOL.

Now, of all of this ordeal, here’s what  I don’t understand.

Both my bus buddy and the Asian chick were just staring at the purse.  Neither one was going to pick it up.  I mean, what if I wasn’t there?  They were just going to leave it there?

I mean, the Asian chick definitely was going to leave it there since my bus buddy sits right next to it, I’m pretty sure. She was already started to move away after she told us, people who stood next to the purse, that she had seen the owner left to get on the bus.

Would you want someone to look on by if that was YOUR purse?

This isn’t even Haiti, folks. It’s somebody you stood next to not more than 5 minutes ago.

I’ve seen this similar thing happen before.  Someone dropped something without knowing it. 10 people saw it and nobody was going to tell that person until one brave soul did.  A person came running to the bus yelling for it, 10 people turned to look and heard him but did nothing.  Once in a while, someone helped yell or wave or something but not always the case.  On the crowded bus, nobody was getting up for anybody.

Seriously. Where did the human decency and kindness go these days?  We’ve become such a “Me Me Me” society. I mean, even the giving to the disaster, for some people, it’s  because it’s trendy at the time, not about they actually care.

Thailand had a celebrity-packed fundraiser for Haiti with drew quite and outrage. Um, helloooo there are Thai people who need help just as much and you’re sending your money where?

The giving and the kindness suddenly become a hip thing to do; not THE thing to do.

I’m sure there are still decent human beings out there who would always do the right thing and step up to help.  I know at least 3 guys on my bus who would’ve given up their seats if the bus is full. I know that Brandon and Justin and his friends would step up to help those in need of help.

I mean, yesterday we were walking back to our car at the farmers market. A lady was loading stuff into the truck and there was a huge cart full of stuff on the floor next to her.  Brandon gave me the keys to the car and he himself ran over to the lady to help her put all of that into the truck.  Loads of people walked by doing nothing.

These little moments when a door is held open, a dropped item returned, or a seat given up that restores my faith in humanity.  These moments are what keeping me from becoming a complete misanthrope.  (Right now, I’m just a little bitter, heh.)

How about you? Have you seen any act of kindness recently? Or perhaps you’ve done something good yourself?


  1. Catalina   •  

    Purse lady was very lucky to have you there that day! I’m usually the one that shouts out, “Hey! You are forgetting something!!” It’s the motherly instinct in me that pops out.

    I agree with you, most people just don’t want to get involved in ANYTHING. It’s so weird.

  2. Ken C.   •  

    I agree with Catalina…purse-lady was very, very fortunate to get her purse (+ IDs) back; can you imagine worrying about identity theft, or trying to replace your various ID cards? You saved her from major grief.

    Your example [I think] will influence your bus-buddy, Asian-chick, and maybe others to do the right thing. Getting involved or being helpful can be a hassle…there may be unintended consequences [not everyone wants help, or you may be approaching a crazy person, etc.].

    But, it is the best policy. After all, we are all in this, together.

  3. Rene Lynch   •  

    Have you seen that “pass it on” commercial, it starts with one person doing something kind, someone sees it — and passes it on again and again. (It always makes me tear up”-) You are the living embodiment of that commercial! I think most people WANT to do the right thing — they are just embarrased of doing something stupid, afraid that someone will yell at them, accuse them of stealing, etc. So, well done: I think you’ve encouraged a busload of people (literally) to do the right thing next time.

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