In praise of good peo­ple

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

THIS is the fourth time this has hap­pened: a stranger spon­ta­neously pre­paid our Timmy’s or­der be­fore we got to the drive-thru win­dow!

I am new to Win­nipeg, hav­ing only moved here the first of Oc­to­ber, yet the ci­ti­zens of this city re­peat­edly chal­lenge the idea that city dwellers are un­friendly. In­stead, peo­ple smile and speak on the street, hold doors open for each other, yield park­ing spots, and yes, ap­par­ently ran­domly pay for strangers’ cof­fee.

I am stunned and hum­bled by this, and it re­minds me how im­por­tant even the sim­plest ges­ture can be to make a dif­fer­ence to some­one else, even if you never know it. He will never know it, but this gen­tle­man pos­i­tively im­pacted three peo­ple with one small act of kind­ness.

Both of my adopted “daugh­ters” (univer­sity stu­dents board­ing with me) have ex­ams to­day. They both stayed up very late (one even pulled an all-nighter) study­ing and we all got up ex­tra early. I drove them to­day to give them ex­tra study time in the car, but we were all groggy, quiet and a bit sullen. We pulled through Tim Hor­tons on the way to ar­ti­fi­cially bol­ster our­selves with caf­feine, but the gen­eral tone in the car was gloomy and ap­pre­hen­sive. (I’m nail-bit­ing over their ex­ams too.)

Yet, as the server at the win­dow waved away my debit card, ex­plain­ing the truck ahead of us had al­ready paid our or­der, you could phys­i­cally feel the change in all of us, in the at­mos­phere, as the re­al­iza­tion of his un­ex­pected kind­ness dawned on us. Sud­denly we were awake, filled with ex­cite­ment, ready for the day and oh, so happy. What an enor­mous in­flu­ence one per­son’s good­ness can have.

Thank you, Good Sa­mar­i­tan. You re­mind me I have this same po­ten­tial for im­pact on ev­ery per­son I come in con­tact with, known or stranger, ev­ery day — and it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity, too, to make sure I leave those I meet bet­ter and hap­pier than be­fore I crossed their path. Even if it’s just to smile and say hello, it makes a dif­fer­ence. If I want to live in a pos­i­tive world, I have to work to make it that way.—

Donna-Lynn Baskin

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