09 January 2009

Do the Right Thing

HELP!Image by Rickydavid via Flickr
I read today that a 28 year old woman is missing in New Zealand after showing up at a service station in a distressed state and asking to use their phone. Her request was denied, according to reports, because she had no cash or eftpos card.
I would guess that the service station probably has a policy that if people asked to use the phone they would have to pay for it. It makes sense. They run as a business, and they have to pay for their calls. There isn't much margin in selling petrol, so they wouldn't want to be out of pocket. But surely, in a situation where someone was obviously distressed and unable to pay, wouldn't you bend the rules?

What is wrong with us, as a society, that when someone obviously needs our help, we are more concerned with what we will get in return than in doing the right thing?

Why do we choose not to help someone in need:
  • Are we too busy with other things?
  • Do we feel that we don't have enough ourselves to be able to share what we have?
  • Are we expecting someone else to do it?
  • Do we not care?
  • Do we think other people will judge us as weak if we show kindness or concern?
Why do so many of us choose to ignore the obvious pain of other people, of the planet, of our communities instead of doing what needs to be done to make a difference? Often its only the smallest of things – a phone call here, a kind word there, a couple of dollars, or just a couple of hours – and they make the world of difference.

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