link) talked about the subject of heroes behind the scenes; people who simply do the right thing, because it's the right thing to do.
But I have noticed it's getting harder and harder to be a good samaritan in this age. The need is out there, but you don't see people stepping up to the plate, rolling up their sleeves, and helping others nearly as much as you used to.
And I think I know why...
To show my point, I want to share two stories of me helping others. The first one happened while I was in college, the other happened this weekend.
Rewind back to the early 2000's. I was a sophomore in college and doing rather well for myself. I was on the Dean's List, was pretty well-known on campus, and life was good. One evening I was walking to the library for my normal study routine, when someone asked me for help. He told me he was new to the campus and was looking for the library. I offered to show him the way.
You read these types of stories in the papers fairly regularly. You see them on news reports. People take advantage of nice guys all the time. The words "I need your help" evoke a feeling in people that sometimes makes it hard to say no. Sadly, it leaves you vulnerable for attack.
Back to the present. This weekend I was out driving. It was raining pretty hard. An 8 year old comes up to me and asks "Hey mister, I need help. Can you possibly give my brother and I a ride home in the rain? We only live about a mile away..."
I say sure, and he signals to his brother (who, at this point, I couldn't see). Brother is about 20, and has a 60lb pitbull on a chain. I think it was going to be a couple of kids, but all of a sudden I'm taking home a ragged, pupils-dilated adult and his pet.
It was a quick drive, and none of the bad stuff happened, but the flashback of a gun knocking the wind out of me was enough to shake me up for a little bit.
I ended up doing my good deed for the day but almost drove off, leaving the kid and his sketchy brother in the rain. Not because I'm a bad person, but because there are bad people out there. One bad scenario like mine, and you get conditioned to be on the defensive. Was I quick to judge? Back in college, no. Now, yes. In both cases, expectation and result did not match.
I want to be a good samaritan. I like helping others who cannot help themselves. I like doing a good deed, just for the sake of doing it. The words "thank you" are the most precious gift I have ever received, and will ever receive.
But at what point do your defenses go back down? I don't know.
|With puppies, it's so much easier.|
My submission to Dude Write Ocho.