Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Freezing of Kindness

You may remember the story of the 93 yr old man who froze to death in his home in Michigan after the utility company shut off his heat for unpaid bills.

There were implications story of how heartless the electric company was.

A follow up story shows that the electric company sent 6 separate letters over a two year period to the gentleman. It has also been discovered that the elderly man tried twice to pay his bills at his bank, which couldn't accept them.

This isn't the electric company's fault. This isn't the elderly gentleman's fault. It is the fault of every single person that knew him, especially any family members. Even the ones who served him at the bank deserve some guilt thrown their way.

What the hell is wrong with us? Friends and family didn't notice it was freezing in his home and offer to help him??? Shame.

Let's just say for argument's sake that they either didn't know, or that he made some excuse for them. It wouldn't surprise me. For years I delivered meals on wheels for the elderly. It's heartbreaking how neglected an elderly person can be.

I would deliver meals to people who had family nearby who could have easily made lunches for their parents or grandparents, but just didn't want to take the time.

But you don't have to be a friend or relative to have helped this man. Did the bank tellers not see that this man was old and confused? Could they not have offered to help? Perhaps taken the bill, had him write the check there and found a stamp for him and mailed it themselves. Would that have been so hard?

The last time I was in Washington D.C. I was riding the metro and an elderly lady got on. She was looking a the map on the wall of the train and she was obviously distressed. I waited a moment for someone to ask her if she needed help since this was my first trip and I didn't know the metro at all. But it became clear no one was going to help her.

So I asked what was wrong. She was completely confused about what train she was on and where to get off. I found out what location she needed to get to and asked out loud to anyone if they knew how to get to that location. Someone told me. I explained to her that she needed to get off at a certain stop soon and that I would alert her to the stop at that time, but then she had to catch another a certain color train to her location. She seemed relieved, but was still uncertain, I could tell. So when the time came I got off with her and waited the few moments it takes for the right train she needed to come. Luckily she needed to get off on the first stop, so when she got on I told her to get off the very first time the doors opened. I told I would go with her if she wanted me to. She said no, and was so grateful for my help. She left and I got back on the next train. It took me all of 10-12 minutes to help her.

I'm not trying to toot my horn here, I'm just trying to figure out when we stopped caring for those venerable members of our society? Maybe people just figure the govt should take care of things, it's not their problem. Maybe it's a part of the culture of death. I don't know.

We are losing our way here my friends. Depending on the government more and more. We are only making it worse.

The government cannot and will not ever replace simple human kindness, but it can make us forget that that is how we are connected to one another.