We are so bombarded with depressing, violent and combative news daily that it’s very hard to believe that the great things that happen in the world every day far outweigh all the negative things we hear and discern visually. The issue is we don’t have any kind of media that focuses on just good news all day long. Why? The usual excuse is, it won’t sell and people will not watch! People are drawn to bad news, a conclusion made by psychologists who refer to this as “negativity bias.”
Wow, what a view of the human existence – and to think there are pundits, psychologists and human behavior specialists who decide, without asking us, that that’s how we are and how we think. Really? Oh wait, they did a poll! Did they? When? Did anyone ask you? No one asked me!
Anyway, that’s not what this article is about. This series is to share my personal experience of the great things people do daily. This subject matter came to me tonight when a small act of kindness happened tonight in my neighborhood.
About a week ago, my neighbor (let’s call him Tom), said that his cars were having issues and if I would lend him one of my cars for several weeks. Without hesitation, I said, “of course Tom, do you need it today?” Now, you may be thinking, “wow that was a great thing to do,” but this story is about Tom and the great thing he did. What I did was not a great thing – it was what I call “the thing to do.”
I lent him my 1999 BMW that I have been tossed about keeping or selling. All the body side molding around the entire car were falling off and I had black duct tape holding all of them in place for close to three years that I kept replacing the tape when it fell off. Think of a car with tape flapping off the sides when the wind blows driving down the freeway – looks more like a feathered bird than a car. The BMW emblems around the car were also faded. Fixtures inside the car were falling off. Imagine a run-down 20-year-old car – you get the idea.
So as I try to do every night between 10 p.m. and midnight, I take my Jack Russell for a short run around the neighborhood. We set out running and about four houses down I see this lone light emanating from a driveway, and as I am passing by it’s Tom’s house and there in the semi-darkness, as I’m running by, it’s Tom sitting on a stool with my car in front of him. I stop.
“Tom, what are you doing out here?” I asked.
“Come see this,” Tom replied.
I get closer to the car and it’s in the middle of all these gadgets (I think they call them tools). Tom walked me around the car and said “look, here and here and here,” and I realize Tom replaced all the body moldings around the entire car. I realized he also replaced the fading BMW emblems.
“Tom, you don’t have to do that,” I said.
“It was nothing, I went to the junkyard and there was an old model with parts and I bought them and see this seat fixture inside the car? I’m gonna fix that shaking panel,” he responded.
It warmed my heart, I could not believe it and at the same time, he kept thanking me for lending him the car.
“Tom it’s not a big deal,” I said. What makes this moment more special is I looked around the garage and there was his car that he said he has to work on to get it back on the road, and yet, still he’s so grateful for my car that he is working on my car before his own. He was just so happy and kept thanking me.
As I’m leaving to continue my run, he said he was going to clean and wax the car and send me pictures.
I get home and I come through the door and I tell my wife and my daughter how great people are and how great our neighborhood is and I tell them this story. I asked my daughter, “I am going to start my first blog, how do I do it?” – and seeing she’s smarter than me, she came up with this article idea instead.
It’s my hope that we see and hear more stories like this daily and more frequently, but even if we don’t, that does not mean they are not happening. Just remember they are happening. We live in a wonderful world, it’s just up to us to get to know the real world we live in and be a part of doing something great every day.
What can you do every day to make the world more of a special place than it already is?