Kindness Still Exists
We are so used to acts which are selfish and cruel we often neglect acts of kindness, why do you think that is? I have my own theories on this subject. Many selfish and cruel acts seem to be committed by high-profile people like legislators or stars so they make the news. Once in a blue moon a high-profile person will do something very kind, but the ratio of kindness to selfishness seems to be very small. One of the things I consider to be cruel you may not agree with, but I can’t help but feel this way when I hear our lawmakers claiming Social Security and Medicare have to be cut, because they costs too much money. Meanwhile billions and trillions are being thrown away on garbage weapons which don’t work or are inferior and the intense corruption which exists in congress. It is very easy for us to get jaded and forget about the good people out there like CEO Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments who took 90% of his salary and used it to give raises to everyone in his company. It is not a big company, but 30 of his workers will double their salary and the other 40 will receive a significant pay raise. The CEO made $1,000,000 and cut it to $100,000. Price thinks he can get back to his previous profits in about three years. Minimum pay for an employee of this company is now $70,000.
Just about everyone has heard of Jonas Salk. He invented the Polio vaccine and is called the father of biophilosophy. What many people don’t know about him is the fact it is estimated he gave up about 7 billion dollars to make the polio vaccine available to the world. Dr. Salk decided he would not patent the vaccine. Can you imagine a drug company doing this today, deciding we need a certain drug so badly they would let anyone manufacture it for the good of the world? Polio has been considered one of the most frightening diseases of its time. Children were the most susceptible. Dr. Salk was a great human being. There were many people famous people who had polio, among them were Itzhak Perlman, Donald Sutherland, President Roosevelt, Arthur C. Clark and others.
You never know who might commit an act of kindness. Witness what a Nazi officer did in World War II. Albert Battel was a member of the Nazi party and an Oberleutnant in the German Army. There was a Jewish ghetto in Przemysl, Poland and Battel was informed an SS unit was coming and they were going to take the inhabitants to a concentration camp. Battel ordered the only bridge to the ghetto to be blocked and then ordered his men to open fire on the SS if they tried to cross the bridge. He and his men must have known this would not be received well by the SS and especially by Himmler who was the psycho who was the head of the SS. When the war was near the end, Himmler ordered the arrest of Battel, but died before he could execute him. When the war ended Battel, a lawyer, was forbidden from practicing law, because of his former membership in the Nazi party. Here is the amazing part of the story, his superior Major Max Liedtke agreed with him. Battel was only able to save about 100 Jewish families before the SS got into the ghetto. He had loaded them into German Army trucks and put them in his men’s barracks and they were guarded by the German Army and protected from the SS. It is still a mystery to me why Battel was allowed to remain in the army and Himmler was waiting for the end of the war to punish him.
A dry cleaning store put up a heart-warming sign, it said “if you are unemployed and need an outfit cleaned for an interview, we will clean it for free.” How incredibly thoughtful of the cleaners. Sometimes people want to help others but don’t know how to go about it. Clearly this business realized they had something to contribute. One Subway store also put up a sign which read, “Free meal for the homeless every Friday 3-5 PM.”
A house had been robbed and much of the stolen contents was scattered around a street. A homeless man saw it and gathered up all the contents while it was raining. He found something to indicate who owned it and returned it to its owners. Just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean they are not a nice person.
In Colombia, war has been raging for over 50 years between the government and right and left-wing groups. One group, FARC has employed child soldiers. Some of these soldiers have grown up. FARC has planted many land mines in Colombia and the former child soldiers regret what they had to do and now that they are adults, some have volunteered to find the mines and dig them up. This has prompted some members of the rebel group FARC to join in for the good of the country.
While most factories in Great Britain were hell holes in the late 1700s. The owner of the New Lanark cotton mill in Scotland, Robert Owen decided to make things better for his workers. He gave them free nursery care, educated the children, gave the workers subsidized housing which was clean and did away with paying workers in tokens only good in the company store. He did open a company store but it sold items for only a little over wholesale to his workers.
What do all these acts of kindness prove? In my view it shows there are a lot of good people in the world, but their actions are not recognized as often as those which are derisive. An example of this might be an act by former President Bush. When he appeared for a speech before a ground of wounded vets it seemed like a nice thing until we found out he was paid $100,000 to do it and these vets were wounded in wars which took place while Bush was in office. Many of the vets had lost limbs and the event was to raise money to help them. Not much milk of human kindness there. Laura Bush had been paid $50,000 to talk to the same group the year before.
We have to remember for every one of these crass acts there are many kind ones which go unheralded.