This I Believe

John - Ballwin, Missouri
Entered on May 9, 2007

Strangers

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This saying has become a thing of the past. People in their busy lives think they don’t have time to hold a door one second longer for a stranger, or say hi to someone passing on the street. How would the world look if you did take the time to allow that person to have the last piece of pizza in the lunch line?

Relationships today are superficial; we don’t take the time to get to know the people that are in our everyday lives. Hundreds of people get on buses every day and see the same people sitting right next to them, but we won’t talk to them because it might be a little out of our comfort zone or maybe we’re a afraid of them not wanting to talk to us. But what if they do? What if that person is thinking the same thing you are? What if the person sitting right next to you becomes one of your best friends?

People these days feel like they don’t have the time to do extra things for other people. One summer on vacation, I was taking the elevator back up to my room, the door was closing and I could see a women coming. I didn’t hold the door, but she made it. That elevator ride was the longest, quietest, and most awkward rides I have taken. If I would have held the door for that lady I would have saved her the rush and I would have felt good for doing so, but that’s not what most people think about when in that kind of a situation. Most people probably wouldn’t have held the door because they don’t want to have to stand next to a stranger for ten seconds.

Most peoples first reaction when walking by strangers is to put their head down. They don’t want to have to talk to the other person because they might think it will be awkward and won’t feel comfortable. I remember one day walking through the parking lot to work, stressing about when I was going to get my homework done and just feeling bad. A lady was walking past me and we made eye contact and she said hello. For some reason that made me feel good, I didn’t feel like the stress was as bad and I felt like going to work. Those few moments can really have an impact on other strangers and change their day and yours.

The nature of people today makes it hard to be kind and courteous to others. People don’t open up and they stay confined to themselves when it comes to strangers. The next time I’m on a bus I’ll say hello, or the next time people need help with a door I’ll hold it. Lets see what would happen if the other “strangers” did the same.