A few weeks ago, there was a day I too learned that being good, when faced with bad, eliminates the ugly.The Good: July 27 – 12:30 p.m.
I was truly pleased when my friend Kendra Perry called me to see if I would contribute my time to a group of kids in an after-school program she was running. They were working on comic books this summer to promote literacy. The kids were very receptive and had a lot of fun. I’ve always felt that the act of creating art is an effective way to exercise the trouble shooting portions of the mind. Actively creating art improves decision making skills and builds confidence.
The Bad: July 27 – 3 p.m.
Later that same afternoon, I was scheduled for a root canal repair. I was prepared for drama. Everything was fine until half way through the procedure. As he was drilling and grinding, he kept squirting blue liquid into the hole in my face. Suddenly the syringe cracked and the liquid poured directly into my nasal cavity and left eye. At first I felt a drowning sensation but then it began to burn. I heard the doctor say as I rose to my feet in pain, “That stuff is pretty much Clorox! Are you okay?” For whatever reason I felt a need to make him feel at ease immediately. Thirty minutes of rinsing and gargling, I returned to my dental chair all the while trying to let them know I was not angry and that I understood it was equipment failure and a rare occurrence. I immediately evaluated my impression of the doctor: his excellent bedside manner and empathy during the process before the syringe broke and after, and the fact that it clearly wasn’t intentional or avoidable. He even went to the extent of calling my Lasik surgeon to make certain my eye would be okay. I headed home.
The Ugly: July 27 – 5:50 p.m.
On my way home I noticed an accident. The damage was significant to both vehicles. A man stumbled out of the smaller car and went into the back seat to reveal a baby carrier. Hands bloodied he pulled the baby out of the vehicle and stumbled toward the sidewalk. I pulled over and ran down to them as I called 9-1-1. The man was clearly in shock and appeared to have two broken thumbs. The baby seemed to be fine. The dispatcher had me check the child and give her a synopsis of the situation. After running into the Walgreens nearby, I handed out cold drinks for all the accident victims since we were in Henderson in July and, thus, it was about 110 degrees. I got into my car and left once the firemen arrived. Why is this ugly? The entire time this was happening, other people in vehicles surrounding the accident were honking and annoyed about the traffic jam.
Is it honest of me to think that I am doing as much as I can for my community, just because I contributed an hour of my busy schedule to some inner city kids when there are others who contribute so much more? Did I react civilly to my dentist because I wanted to be seen as a calm and understanding guy? Am I better than the angry “honkers” because I pulled over to help others in an accident? Isn’t it likely that they regretted the honking once they discovered the reason for the delay as well as noticing that a child was involved in the accident?
Regardless of all these instances, the most important lesson to learn is that most people are innately good, and when problems arise, it’s typically the result of unfortunate circumstances. This is why we should all take a moment to take a step back and assess a delicate situation from all sides before we pass judgment. Empathy is key.Alex Raffi is the Creative Director for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org