While walking home in a suburb of Athens I found myself struck by what I saw.
This happened only the other day, after Christmas, and it seemed to open my eyes to what Humanity is capable of.
Before I begin depicting what occurred let me set the context.
Greece, in case many of my readers are unaware, is still recovering from an economic crisis of epic proportions. Although on the road to recovery, the country still has a long way to go.
When we think of moments in history that involved such moments of crisis we often imagine social anarchy, chaos and desperation. I remember fanatically following the events in Greece in 2009 on the news horrified at the destructive protests that were occurring at Parliament Square. Tear gas, riot police, rioters in balaclavas battled it out in what seemed like a country that had finally lost its social cohesion.
This was all nonsense of course. Yes, riots did take place during the early months of the crash (they are still common occurrences) but daily life continues.
So, when I saw I what did, it gave me some respite with what currently seems to be a divisive and toxic time in recent human history.
The streets in Athens, like any European city, are narrow and long. The one I walked down was no different. A truck was trying to drive up the road but a parked car on the drivers right was causing obstruction. It hadn’t been parked properly; up against the curb that is.
The driver got out and tried to find some room for his vehicle to utilize so that he could continue his journey. To no avail. He sighed, as he looked behind his truck to see a long line of cars waiting patiently for him to move.
At this point, I was just surprised these cars weren’t blasting their horns, quite the contrary. Two drivers from the first two cars got out. I braced myself for a classic scene of volatile road rage with “HURRY THE F UP YOU …” “I CAN’T YOU …”. Instead, the drivers asked the driver what the matter was. He pointed to the parked car and said, unfortunately, his car was stuck.
Here’s where it got even more impressive.
Three men walking by, I’m not sure if they knew each other, went to the drivers and one of them pointed to the same car and said, “let’s move it then”.
Just like that, they all heaved and pushed wheezing as they did until the car was against the curb. The truck driver grateful drove on and the three pedestrians and two drivers went their separate ways.
A simple act of generosity of spirit on the part of the pedestrians combined with the patience of the two drivers not only prevented an ugly (and pointless) confrontation but also provided a much-needed solution; moving that car out of the way.
I know it may seem like something trivial given this happened in a random street in south Athens in a country many of you may not have any connection with. Yet, I still think there is something we can take from these six individuals; the generosity of spirit, patience and kindness.
It’s been a while since I’d seen something like that happen in a public setting. Imagine if this happened elsewhere. Merry Christmas to everyone, and a happy New Year.
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