People Are Good. An Immigrant Reminded Me Of That.

I’ve been selling a lot of things online lately, in preparation for my upcoming downsizing move. When I say “a lot”, I’m not kidding. I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of what I listed where, for how much and who was interested. It was nearly a full-time job. I entered into this with great trepidation, as I was anticipating loads of scammers who would be trying to rip me off. What I found was totally the opposite.

Take Giancarlo. I was selling a figurine that he was interested in buying. I sent him pictures, described it and finally he said he wanted to buy it. “Great,” I said. “When can you pick it up?” Well, it seems Giancarlo lives in Pennsylvania, so that was not an option. “OK,” I said, “I’ll send you an invoice and you can use a credit card.” Again, Giancarlo doesn’t have a card and wants to pay in cash. Rightttttt…… All sorts of bells and whistles are going off for me. See, just what I suspected – scammers! But, I thought I’d take the bait. “Fine – I’ll send it to you when I receive the money.” He agreed. And the next day he sends a photo of his envelope and the money being put in it. Nice touch, I thought. And three days later, I receive said envelope, complete with the money he said he was going to send. I’m blown away.

But that’s not all.

After Giancarlo receives it, he tells me that I forgot to include a piece…and he was right. He offers to pay the shipping charge. What? Who does that? Then he goes on to say “Janet i’m peruvian – sorry for my english. In the picture I saw that the figure it was imcomplete. But you send me a figure complete. But if the figure is complete is must be more.”

What???

He insisted on paying me more and in a few days, another handwritten envelope from Pennsylvania appeared, complete with another $20 bill.

Faith in humanity restored.

On the radio the other day I heard someone say “People are good. Isn’t that sad that we have to remind ourselves of that?” Yes and no. I think I was taking that for granted. In this time when meanness and indecency grab the headlines, I am so much more aware of the little gestures of kindness that come effortlessly every day. I notice the people in New York who stop to help others get on the train. Those who will chase someone down the street to give them their dropped glove. The smile as someone holds the door open for me. And I, in turn, am more kind to others.

There is goodness everywhere, even in these dark times. How much you see depends on what you are looking for. As the quote ascribed to Gandhi says** “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Look for the goodness. Be the goodness. We need it.

** Gandhi actually didn’t say exactly that. What he said was “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”



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