Sporadic Acts of Generosity

Michael - San Diego, California
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

While standing in line waiting to hop on the city bus, I witnessed something that awakened me to the potential of humanity. I observed an old woman struggling to get her bag up the short flight of stairs. Being the type of person that I am, I quickly reached out to help her, but at that exact moment an unknown woman dressed in traditional Muslim attire came back out of the bus to lend a hand. Meanwhile, two other people stood up to help, including a drunken woman, and a teenager who I suspected to be egocentric, and who had been busy texting on her sidekick. But, why is this significant?

We live in a world where everyone is so enveloped in themselves, that most genuine acts of kindness have been lost. Everyone seems to be looking out for themselves, because if they don’t they won’t survive, but people don’t realize that without each other, they wouldn’t survive either. Therefore, when I watch someone do something as simple as hold the door open for another, I see the true potential of mankind. I gain a renewed sense of optimism for the world that we live in.

I remember when my mom and I would ride the excessively crowded public bus. She would always remind me, “Be prepared to give up your seat if an old person gets on the bus,” and I never forgot to do so. At first, I only gave up my seat because I was forced to by my mom, but as time passed, I realized that it was the right thing to do. I developed a strong passion to help others in anyway that I could, and small acts of kindness were my first step in doing so. As I grew from a small boy into a young adult, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of life, at least that of my own, was to help other people.

The way I see it, there are only two ways to live. You can either live entirely devoted to yourself, and your own agenda, or you can live for others. When I witness sporadic acts of generosity, I realize that all of humanity is capable of leaving the realm of selfishness, and moving into selflessness. It becomes clear that we are still capable of altruism, and that there is hope for humanity. I believe that all human beings have an innate drive to do good for others, and something as simple as helping an elderly lady onto the bus, or holding the door open for a stranger is a doorway into the heart of our existence.