Christmas is over, Santa Claus is back at the North Pole packing for his annual vacation at an all-inclusive in Mexico and the elves are lazing around, enjoying several months of low energy activity before the hard work of toy building for next Christmas begins in the early spring.
It’s heartwarming to see that the spirit of Christmas is still ongoing as witnessed by, among other things, the enormous outpouring of help, support and love for the dozens of Calgarians who found themselves suddenly displaced by a fire that tore through their condominium just a few days ago.
This time of year does bring out the best in people and we Calgarians are truly blessed to live in the city that boasts one of the highest levels of volunteerism in the country.
Calgarians are kind, generous and instantly available to lend a hand, offer a hug and make a donation the moment they learn of fellow citizens being struck by an unfortunate circumstance.
This willingness to help can be found in most communities throughout the year and I have often wondered what it is that prevents us, as a society, from practicing year-round kindness and patience.
The news media is constantly reporting on acts of violence and aggression committed by people who seem to lack any ability of controlling their own emotions. It seems for many, the default response to a perceived slight, is instant anger.
I recently witnessed an incident that was both infuriating and heartwarming at the same time.
I have a weekly meeting with a client at their downtown office and to get there I walk through a +15. (For those unfamiliar with the term, a +15 is a skywalk that connects high-rise buildings).
There is an elderly homeless man who for the past several years has spent several hours each weekday perched on a window ledge in the +15, with his ball cap on the floor, silently asking for assistance. I have never known him to be aggressive or, for that matter, to even engage in conversation. He mostly spends his time gazing at the floor. On more than one occasion, I have seen him count his money and then head to a close-by food-court and buy a burger.
Ten days ago, as I was walking to my meeting, I witnessed two young males walk by this man. One stopped and spit on him while the other loudly proclaimed “loser.” They then marched off, laughing loudly.
What causes people to behave like that?
And Then There’s Nice
Almost immediately, two young women walking by stopped to ask him if he was okay, sat down on either side of him and engaged in friendly conversation. I noticed one of them slipping $20 into his hand.
I have often stopped to talk with this man and, for the first time ever, I noticed a tear in his eye as he graciously thanked these two young women for taking the time to look after him.
Being nice costs nothing, is stress-free, feels good and helps make our world a better place.
Being rude, uncaring and aggressive achieves none of the above.
Join me to proclaim 2020 the Year of Being Nice.
Can I count you in?
Till we read again.