This I Believe

Joseph - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I don’t feel as though I’m changing the world, but I do feel that I’m making a difference. I’m not picketing for peace or to save the whales or anything like that. I’m just a regular guy living my boring life. But, I’m also a guy who happens to want you to have a nice day. I’ve found that sometimes, the little things in life make all the difference; and I believe that I can help.

It’s something that’s always lurking in the back of my mind waiting for the right moment to reveal itself. It’s not like I think about it every morning when I’m brushing my teeth, like: what good deed shall I do today? It’s more of a spontaneous action. For example, when you’re in the Left Turn Only lane and you need to go straight but nobody will let you in, I want to be the guy that lets you go in front of me.

I like going a little out of my way for strangers sometimes. I’ll never let a door slam in your face. I’ll pick up things for you that you’ve dropped and even if it’s money, I’ll give it back. I’ll hold the elevator. I’ll smile at you. It’s a tough world out there and there are way too many people who are miserable and need just a tiny bit of help to make them smile.

I once lost my ATM card. In the most stupid way possible: I left it sticking out of the ATM for anyone to find. I didn’t even know that I lost it until I got a call from a stranger who had found it. He said he found my ATM card and wanted to return it to me. It was the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me. He didn’t steal my money, he didn’t just walk by the card and think, “I’m too busy to deal with that; someone else can find it.” He actually looked up my name in the Penn State student directory to find my contact information.

I think the biggest problem I used to have is apathy towards other human beings. With work, school and family, I often found myself uncaring about everything that wasn’t work, school and family. I would often let opportunities to “be nice” pass me by because I didn’t want to take the time or responsibility for my actions. The fact that a total stranger had the opportunity to take advantage of me but chose to pass it up, was almost a new awakening for me. I wanted to become one of those people: someone who makes someone else feel the way I felt that day. He made a difference, and that day I realized that I could do the same thing.