Culture Of Kindness Prevails

Thanks. I mouthed the word and waved my hand as I drove my car through an intersection in South Wheeling a few days ago. I’d arrived there at the same time as a woman in another car, but she motioned me to drive on first.

At the next intersection, it happened again, thanks to a kind gentleman in a pickup truck. Minutes later in a parking lot, a third motorist stopped and gestured for me to pull out in front of him.

Three more times that afternoon, the same thing happened. Local folks, probably in just as much of a hurry as I was, delayed their own trips for a few seconds to be courteous to someone they didn’t know.

It happened at every place it could in six consecutive situations.

Many motorists aren’t like that in many other areas, including most big cities. Kindness, courtesy and friendliness there can be viewed as weaknesses or threats, not virtues.

There’s more to local folks, of course. If there’s someone close behind us as we’re going through a door, we wait to hold it open. If a stranger in a store drops something, we walk 10 or 15 feet to pick it up. If we see someone clearly in trouble beside the road, we stop and offer assistance.

We smile and say hello to complete strangers we pass on sidewalks. They reciprocate. If we notice a neighbor struggling to lift something heavy, we go to help.

Most of us don’t turn our heads and walk past the Salvation Army kettles or the Toys for Tots collection stations at Christmas time. When the United Way sets a goal, we unite to meet it.

When rainstorms and floods ravage our neighbors’ homes, we put on our boots and help them clean up.

And when there is danger, local heroes – often volunteer firefighters – rush into it to save others, just because they’re neighbors.

Not everyone around here has kindness as a mindset, of course. And good people can be found elsewhere, too.

But here in our area, there seems to be a culture of kindness, by and large. That makes it a true pleasure to live here.

Thanks, neighbors.

Myer can be reached at: