This I Believe

Vivian - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on June 13, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I am confident

I have found that I feel so bad when strangers are mean to me. People I don’t even know, and probably won’t ever see again. I work as a lifeguard at a city pool, which means I shouldn’t expect the best of people .Unfortunately for me, I do. I expect compassion. Not in terms of pity, but in terms of kindness. I believe that everyone is capable of compassion. Does this make me hopeful or naïve?

Just this past weekend, I had a teenage boy spit at me and cuss me out. He made me feel so low and insignificant, all because I asked him to stop playing with the water fountain. Later that day, an older woman cursed at me because her daughter threw up. I have certain procedures I have to follow anytime a child injures him or herself; in this case a child swallowed some pool water and threw up. Well the mother was very hostile because she felt I acted like her child had a disease. In response to my “inconsideration”, she cussed me out. I felt like quitting my job that day.

The only thing that stopped me was the fact I was there to ensure the safety of these people and that just one act of kindness and gratitude from someone redeemed others’ disrespectfulness towards me. A simple “Thank You” was enough. Why is it that one person’s act of kindness takes back all those offensive comment heard throughout the day?

I feel we are so disconnected with our fellow human beings in this modern, technological world of ours. So disconnected, that a nod or smile makes all the difference in the world. We just want to feel noticed. Everyone, I’m sure, has felt this at one time or another. It’s just time for people to “pay it forward”, and they will.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” –Leo Buscaglia , author of Living, Loving, and Learning. I have had many different jobs, in which I have been required to interact with many different types of people and what these experiences have shown me is the uplifting power of human compassion. I am confident in my fellow man.