• Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Meta

Be the Change

My cousin Myra shared a grocery store experience.  On Facebook she wrote, “The guy behind me in a checkout line 3-deep yielded his spot to a fragile, elderly gentleman with two items.”  Following this young man’s example, Myra yielded her spot too.  The woman in front of Myra paid for the older gentleman’s milk and meat.  Myra thanked the young man for starting a cascade of kindness. He told Myra that his 95-year-old grandmother had just recovered from COVID, and he was showing his gratitude. Myra ended her post with these words, “Be the change, friends, be the change.”

            Joe shared a similar experience.  As he drove home after work, he thought of his never-ending list of home chores.  He topped a hill and saw a stopped car driven by a young man who seemed to be trying to start the car.  Joe drove past, but knew he had to turn around and offer help.  The car had run out of gas.

            Joe wrote, “We had to get the car out of the road, but being one month post knee surgery, I couldn’t push it.”  A few minutes later, four people stopped, offered to help, and pushed the car to a safe place on the side of the road.  Joe took the young man home where someone would get gas and drive him to his parked car.  Joe wrote, “Kindness and empathy can go a long way.  I’ve been where he was and to this day remember the unselfish example of those who stopped to help me.”

            I’m reminded of a time when Son and Daughter were young, ages 5 and 7, and we travelled on Highway 111 to visit my aunt in Livingston.  Suddenly, my Ford station wagon veered right.  I immediately pulled onto the wide shoulder and stopped.  The back right tire was almost flat.  Before I could begin looking for a jack and spare tire, a pick-up truck stopped.  The driver was unshaven, his hair unkept, his clothes were dirty, and he needed a bath.  He immediately offered to change the tire.

            I told Son and Daughter to stay in the car and I stood out of this man’s way.  Within minutes, he had replaced the flat tire with the spare tire.  I held out a $20 bill and said, “Thank you.” The man smiled, shook his head, and said, “Pass it on.  Help someone else.”

            A century ago, Mahatma Gandhi used nonviolent resistance to lead India’s independence from British rule, and he inspired civil rights movements across the world.  This quote is attributed to him, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  That’s a paraphrase. Actually, he said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”             Thanks, Myra, for reminding me that change is possible and that kindness begins with one person.