This I Believe

Matthew - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: golden rule

It happens every day. People are constantly interacting with individuals they have never met. A stranger holds a door for someone else; a student helps a professor pick up the papers he dropped. It is these common courtesies in which I believe. By taking a few moments out of your day to help someone else, it can lift their spirits. And this help is contagious; how often do you see a person hold a door for someone else, only to see that person return the favor to whomever follows.

In what has become an increasingly hurried society, people often neglect to consider their surroundings. All it takes is an extension of the hand to let someone know that you care, and that you are willing for even the slightest of moments to put someone else first. I appreciate the “thank you’s” that come with these favors, just as I appreciate it when someone helps make my day a little easier. Just recently I saw a notice in the local computer lab for all students to limit cell phone use while others are working. It is disheartening that it took a posted sign for people to realize that they should be considerate of the needs of those around them.

My grandfather instilled his values in me. One of his key points was to always consider how your actions affect those around you. He was the type of person to open and hold doors for anyone waiting to enter a building or to help an elderly woman in the parking lot load her groceries. I have tried to continue in his tradition of courtesy, with the hope that his infectious personality would rub off on all those that were helped.

I remember distinctly the time that I was driving to work last summer and the battery in my car died. A fellow driver, someone I had never even met, pulled alongside my parked car and offered to jumpstart it. With no knowledge of me or my situation, this person took fifteen minutes of his time to help me get to work on time. In practicing this random act of kindness, he showed civility and concern for my predicament and was willing to ensure I got to my destination safely. In retrospect, this action helped me realize how important a little consideration and courtesy can go in improving someone’s day. And in the end, I believe everyone deserves to feel that type of comfort when going about their daily lives, if only for a moment.