Slipping and Sliding

I live in the Mid-West.  I live in a place where it snows.  It is a fact of life that when it snows, there will be ice.  Ice can sneak up on you.  Sometimes you think the ground is clear and it isn’t and in a blink you can find yourself on the ground.   That is what happened to me today.  I was walking out of Best Buy after purchasing a replacement television for our basement.  I wasn’t going too fast.  I just hit the ice right and  bam, there I was on my butt.  I lay there on the ground for a minute composing myself and doing a quick mental inventory of my parts.  Other than my ankle, it seemed like all systems were go.  So I gingerly pushed myself up into an upright position and hobbled to my car.

I was not at my car before two worker bees were outside sprinkling salt on the ground.  This is great because the next unsuspecting soul will not meet my same demise.  I pulled my car up, got out and asked why no one came out to see if I was ok?  No one asked me if I was injured or offered me a hand up.  The response was, “We didn’t know it was icy out.”  Well duh you didn’t know it was icy out, but that wasn’t what I asked.  They loaded my television in my car and I drove away.  Not one inquiry about my physical well-being.

This irritated me.  I called the manager.  I told the receptionist what happened; she apologized, but didn’t ask me if I was alright.  I told the manager the story; he did not ask me if I was ok, until I pointed it out to him.

It got me thinking: have we really reached a state of such disrespect or perhaps fear of law suits that we can no longer take a minute to offer our hand to help up another person?  If someone slips on the ice, can’t we ask them if they are ok?  Or take that minute that was spent getting salt to scurry out and offer me a hand up?

I shared this story with my kids, and my oldest explained to me the concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.  He said that part of the concept is that G-d made the world broken; it is why bad things happen to good people.  I had never really thought about it in those terms, I always had thought about it as doing good deeds.

Today’s experience really drove home the message for me.  The world is broken if a reasonable adult cannot take a minute to ask another adult if they are injured after a fall on the ice.  I think that we have become so disconnected and afraid that we no longer take a minute to see if anyone is ok.  I’m not sure what has driven us to be this way.  But, my challenge for everyone is to think, what you can do to make the world a better place.  I for one will stop and help someone who has fallen on the ice.  But, maybe it is also holding the door for the person behind you, or saying hi or complimenting a stranger.

Habits are formed over 20 some odd days.  February is a short month.  This month I am going to try and do one kind thing for another person every day.  Maybe I will develop the habit of making the world a better place.  Want to join me?

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2 thoughts on “Slipping and Sliding

  1. I’m someone who always asks if folks are ok, if they need a hand. I’m that guy offering to give directions to tourists looking confused on the corner or crowded around a transit map. So I was disappointed when I read what happened to you, SLP, and made a mental note to up my game.

    Then, this morning on my way to work, I slipped on the T. It had snowed and our subway’s floors were wet and slippery. As I laid on the floor (seriously, my fall was glorious and over the top), I was amazed that folks were staring at me from their seats, but not one person extended a hand or asked if I was ok. As I looked around for something to hold on to, to pull myself up, a passenger actually moved away from me (I grabbed the bar next to his seat). As I limped away, still nothing. And, like you, it left me with a horrible feeling of “what’s wrong with people?”

    I hope your new habits February is going strong. I’ll be joining you. And I hope to figure out a way to get my fellow public transit commuters to join in too…

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