This week I had an experience that restored my faith in humanity and the basic goodness of people. Two specific events led to me to feeling this way.
San Francisco undertook a massive community H1N1 vaccination effort for thousands of city residents. All vaccinations were free and they did thousands of the vaccinations over the course of just a few hours. 400+ volunteers (non-paid) gave up their entire day to help with this effort. Both non-medical and medical volunteers wrangled thousands of people through a brilliantly organized public health effort. Everyone was astoundingly helpful and caring. The thousands of people lined up for their vaccinations were orderly, friendly and the community feel was evident. The volunteer doctor who gave me my shot chatted with me briefly. He had just come back from volunteering his medical services in Haiti. I could sense he was a truly generous, good man.
I then left the auditorium where the vaccinations were being given and read a book on my Kindle (blatant product plug – I love my Kindle) in the park across the way as I waited for my partner to finish getting his shot. As I sat there and read, I watched a young family of husband, wife and two small children walk through the park. They walked around with big smiles on their faces and when they encountered someone who looked homeless, or otherwise looked like they needed some cheering up, the father and mother handed the children sandwiches and told them to go ask the person if they wanted a sandwich. Some of the faces on the people getting the sandwiches lit up. They were touched by the generosity. The children giving the sandwiches smiled back. The parents beamed as they watched their children carry out the social giving they were trying to engender in their children. It was a lovely thing to watch.
So, anytime I feel we’re doomed as a culture, or I feel otherwise negative about the future of humanity, I’m going to remember these moments. I get all warm and fuzzy when I do, and that’s a good thing.
I hope you have moments like this in your life. It’s my holiday and New Year’s wish for you that you do.