Time magazine recently had these words on the cover: “Hate in America.” My experience tells me that there is another America overlooked by the media.
For years, I’ve been impressed with kind people who step aside and let this 92-year-old stagger through, people who open doors and let me pass in front of them. On a recent trip from Durham, I stopped at the Walmart in Roxboro. Not knowing where to find what I was looking for, Harold Whitlow guided me through the store and helped me find what I needed.
During the process, I ended up in a part of the store unfamiliar to me. When I stepped outside, nothing looked familiar, not even my pickup truck. Gazing around, I noticed a young Black lady with her eyes on me. Finally, she asked, “Have you lost your vehicle?”
I replied, “I surely have,” and she said, “Be calm, we’ll find it.’
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After some looking, she suggested I get in her car to drive around the lot until we found it. At that moment, I spotted my truck.
I asked her, “Why do you do this for strangers?” She answered, “I’m a Christian who enjoys helping people.”
Last week I went to Ford Brothers to have my car inspected, during which time I read my USA Today. Then I went to Food Lion to pick up a few groceries. Before getting out of Roxboro, I realized I didn’t have my glasses or my wallet. So, I back-tracked to Ford, where they handed me my glasses. Then I headed to Food Lion. But before I could park, Mrs. Davis came out to my car window waving my wallet. She said her plan was to carry it home and call me from there. Being greeted with a pleasant smile while getting back my wallet, I knew I didn’t need to open it and check for its contents.
My wife, Marie, has had to spend a good deal of time at Duke Hospital due to poor health and often needs for me to find something for her. I’m not familiar with a lot of these things, so in Food Lion I seek out Brandy for help. She doesn’t point or tell me where to go, but rather she just takes off and beckons me to follow, though I can’t keep up with this young generation. I’ve studied their movement, and I think they must have a spring in the hip that barely lets their feet touch the floor. I expected a leisurely walk, but Brandy is much too busy for that and wastes no time getting right to the business at hand.
Yesterday, I had business in Yanceyville and stopped at Briggs’ Barbeque for breakfast. Wayne Clayton had an empty seat across the table and invited me to join him. After a pleasant breakfast, I reached for my wallet, but it wasn’t in my pocket. I had left it at home on the desk by my lounge chair. I asked Wendy to charge my breakfast, but Wayne immediately insisted on paying for it himself.
My conclusion is that we live in a beautiful world with many kind people, and this beauty and kindness seem to be contagious. So, instead of focusing on the hate in the world, I suggest we pause and focus on the beauty and kindness of people.
Samuel H. Winstead lives in Leasburg, N.C.