LESLIE CRISS: Humanity needs renewed supply of kindness

By LESLIE CRISS / NEMS Daily Journal

“What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.”
– Cleveland Amory

“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.”
– Caroline Kennedy

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”
– Albert Schweitzer

Last weekend in Birmingham, I had my first ride in a Toyota Prius. And a fine ride it was.
However, everytime we’d stop at a traffic light, I thought the engine had died and needed to be restarted.
Not so. A quieter ride I have never had.
The Prius belongs to my old and dear friend Melanie, who explained like a pro all the car’s bells and whistles.
While we were riding through her city’s terrible traffic, she told us a story about a recent roadway encounter.
Let me preface this by telling you that Melanie is one of the kindest human beings you’d ever meet. To know her is to understand that.
Several weeks ago, Melanie was stopped at a traffic light. When the light turned green, she started slowly and cautiously, making certain vehicles facing the red light actually stopped.
A driver behind her honked.
Melanie checked to see if it was someone she knew. It was not.
She proceeded forward, only to continue to be honked at by the driver behind her.
Catching another red light, the honking driver pulled up beside my friend and Melanie glanced over to see a woman, a stranger.
Melanie rolled her window down; the woman beside her followed suit.
“Why are you blowing your horn?” Melanie asked.
Here’s the response: “Because you are an idiot and driving like an idiot and if you voted for Obama, that’s also showing your lack of intelligence.”
OK. Before you take issue with me, this is not a political column. Please substitute any other name or issue for Obama and the story’s the same: Rude is rude.
We have turned into a society of impatient, angry and mean-spirited people. And that’s just plain wrong.
What happened to empathy? Forgiveness? Compassion? Kindness?
I hope it’s not too late for us to find those things we’ve lost.
Have mercy.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.