The Kindness and Ugliness of Strangers

One day this week I had to take my dog to the vet to get his ear infection checked.  As I waited in my car for the vet’s assistant to take him to the vet, I noticed a mother and a daughter jaywalking across busy Burbank Boulevard at 9 in the morning, two lanes of traffic in either direction.  They had a golden retriever with them and stopped right near the bench next to my car; evidently, they had a vet appointment as well.

As I waited, I watched them in my right-side view mirror.  The woman in her 40’s was on a phone while the girl in her teens took selfies.

When the assistant came out, so did I and gave her my dog.  As I turned around the rear of my car about to go back in it, I heard a yell and saw that the woman’s dog somehow got out of its leash and was going fast into the lane of traffic where cars regularly speed by at 40 mph.

Instinctively, I went into the lane, holding up my right hand to slow cars down, using my left hand to guide the dog safely back to the sidewalk.

What do you think happened next?

Nothing.

Did she thank me for saving her dog from injury or death?

No.

She didn’t say anything nor looked my way.  It was as if I didn’t exist.

No “thank you” to acknowledge not only what I did in saving her dog’s life, but that I even existed in the same plane as her.  It was as if I was invisible.

I went back into my car and seethed about this for a moment.  I considered getting out and saying something to her lack of, what, being human.

But I resisted.  Someone like her is not going to learn to be kind, polite or humane by me snapping at her.  Evidently, ignoring the kindness of strangers is part of her DNA.  And with her self-absorbed teen-aged daughter by her side, she has already damaged the world by raising another person like her to mix among considerate people.

What rescued my hope in humanity a little were the kind words from the vet’s assistant who returned my dog to my car.

“There is something about his face, but he is such a nice, loveable dog!”  You see, just when you are ready to give up on people, you bump into someone nice. 

There may be only a minority of decent people out there, but each time you come across one, that person is worth 10 of the likes of that ugly woman.

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