Grussgott – What happened to an act of kindness?

Briana - Melbourne, Australia
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Hey! Hello! Good morning! Such simple words but do you really hear them anymore? When I lived overseas, wherever I went someone would smile and say “Grussgott” the German greeting for good day. All I would be doing is going on my morning walk or shopping in the city or even on the bus. It is second nature to nod, smile and greet whoever you walk past/sit near or see and they generally greet you back.

We’ve all traveled on a bus train or tram at sometime, right? Well have you ever been sitting on your nice, comfy seat and seen any of these people standing, a pregnant lady, an injured or disabled person an older man or woman or maybe someone who is carrying lots of things? Have you ever got up and let them have your seat? If you haven’t this is what almost everyone else does.

When I take the train to school I see many people in these situations standing. Then I look around and see all the young, healthy people sitting down with their MP3 players blaring, relaxing on a seat and not even taking a second glance at the people who should have a seat. If you give up your seat good on ya! If you don’t have a think, don’t you think you should? They need it a lot more then you do!

The courtesies of extending a greeting or giving up your seat go highly underestimated these days. Why is that? I think it’s because we are all so wrapped up in our own thoughts. So selfish that we are even not aware of anything else going on around us, let alone of other people. We tend to walk around with our heads down to busy engulfed in our own little worlds and our own problems. Imagine what it would be like if everyone you saw said “Hi” and meant it. Wouldn’t that help us to feel better about life? In this world we don’t really realise how nice and reassuring a friendly smile and a word of hello can be.

So why don’t we do it anymore? Well the reality is people still do. But they tend to be the older members of the community. They are the ones who know that a smile is enough to make someone’s day. You may think that smiling and being friendly might cramp your style. But if all you care about is being “cool” and “liked” then won’t being friendly get you a lot further than it would being not friendly? The friendlier you are the better you will do in life and the better you will fell about yourself.

Next time you walk past someone smile, say “Good Morning”. Try giving up your seat on public transport to someone who needs it. Just small acts of kindness.