Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever thought to answer it for the sake of others who might need it more than you do? Of course, not. You only think about yourself.
“A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its throat. Ever think about that? No. You only think about yourself.”
I wrote this story right after it happened to me in Colombia on 6th September. I was in Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, waiting for my flight to Medellin. I was at the gate, sitting and looking around. When you travel alone, that’s what you do. Unless you’re a Facebook freak and keep looking at your damn phone and scrolling down. I was the only foreigner, it was my second week in Colombia, but my Spanish was already much better.
Then, a woman in my sight line bursts into tears. She notices I saw her. I’m embarrassed and look away. All my attention is now focused on her. I start again looking around but every time pausing at her, still crying. The more she was crying, the more I wanted to cry, and do something. But I’m in Colombia and my Spanish is still not at its best. What am I going to say to a stranger woman and in Spanish? I hesitate. I hesitate more. What can I tell her in Spanish, or what can I do?
“I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone.”
That was the green light. I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone? If you know me a bit, you’d know I don’t care what people think about me. I take out pocket tissues, prepare my sentence in Spanish, and start walking towards her. Somehow I haven’t written down what I told her, but it was very simple. Something like, “is everything ok?” or “can I help you?”. She nods to tell me she’s ok and I give her a tissue. I don’t feel comfortable sitting next to her, she might want to be alone and I could see before she was communicating with someone by voice messages. I leave and don’t feel like sitting where I was before. I decide to buy cheese balls. I wasn’t hungry but thought I could offer her some. I buy 3 cheese balls, go back to her and propose her one. She refuses. But after insisting she accepts and takes one. I propose more tissues (in Spanish) and she laughs about is as she would definitely need some. I give her a big smile, tap her on the shoulder and go back and sit.
A couple of minutes later, an old woman next to me, and her big family (around 15 people) burst into laughter. I look at them, and her husband had weird eyeglasses with fake eyes on them. It was so funny and random, I couldn’t stop laughing either. Plus, their way of laughing out loud was contagious. I turn around to the (crying) woman as I wanted her so badly to look at the scene and have a good laugh about it but she didn’t look back.
I don’t know and will never know why this woman was crying. And that’s not the point.
But what I know is we human beings have lost all sense of community and savoir-vivre. In this small airport of Colombia, where I’m the only foreigner, surrounded by a bunch of Colombians, no one took the time of talking to this young woman and check whether we can help? It’s almost certain we could have not, but at least asking wouldn’t have cost anything to anyone. Plus, compassion has killed nobody.
I have to admit I don’t remember if this was my first time in this situation. And if it was not, I’m not sure how I have reacted in the past. But I hope from now on, me, and you, will react differently and help any person in need.
This is the world we live in. We are so individualistic and selfish. We tend to forget our brothers and sisters from another mother and father. We are a society where by default we reject and repel each other. Yes, we do. And the more we will, the less chance we have to live in a peaceful world.
I read once the human reflex when a baby falls is to catch him back. But when an adult falls, on the contrary, we move away and let him fall.
Something to think about. Have a good day dear reader. And make this world a better place.