“Do unto others…”

Bare with me as I rant on humanity.
I have been around the world and seen a lot of things… some good, some bad.  Today I had a day which caused me to ask What the hell is wrong with people?
Excuse me if the language is strong or the message makes you feel uncomfortable.. but What the hell is wrong with people?
I am going to assume that if you take the time to read this blog, at some level you agree with the Scout Oath and Law.  You may not agree in total, but we can again assume that you believe that people should be helpful and that we have an obligation to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Right?
Ok.. so lets go from that point then.. we agree at least this much.
Today in the fair city of weirdness (I am glad to say I do not maintain an address within the city limits of Portland) I witnessed to acts that almost got me throwing punches.
First.
The city of Portland has a rather larger transient community.. call them hobo’s, bums, homeless, whatever, the fact is this population has made Portland home.  I am not opposed to this.  Portland has many outreach organizations, shelters, and government sponsored (paid) opportunities for these people.  This has in one way or another made Portland a desirable place to be homeless.  Before I go any further.. please know that this post is not in any way shape or form bashing those that find themselves in these dire straights.  There are many reasons for one to find themselves on the streets and I have the utmost compassion for those in real need.
The story here is how one of Portland’s finer citizens treated one of these folks out on the street. 
I was at an intersection waiting for the light to change.  It was a rather long light, so I found myself watching as a BMW pulled up next to me.  A pan handler approached the BMW with his sign asking for “Anything helps” .. you know the typical verbage on your average Portland pan handlers sign.  The man holding the sign looked like a fellow just down on his luck.  He was clean and dressed in modest clothing.  With him was two kids, I would guess 10 and 14 years old.  They looked embarrassed to be standing on the corner begging.
Then I heard yelling coming from the BMW.  The pan handler said “Thanks anyway” and turned around.  This is where I lost it.  The driver of the BMW then asked, in a loud voice, if the guy wanted a drink.  The man turned around just in time to take a large drink thrown at him.  It soaked him from about the belly to his knees.  The look of shock on the kids faces brought my blood to an immediate boil.  I threw my UPS truck into park and jumped out of the driver’s seat.  I ran up to the driver of the BMW and asked “What the hell is the matter with you?”  He looked at me with a surprised look and then the light turned green and he sped away.
The pan handler had moved back to the curb and told his kids that it was time to go.  I jumped back in my truck and pulled over to clear the intersection.  I had a couple of oranges and a banana in my truck, so I gave it to them.  I told the guy I wished I could do more.  He said “I understand”.  Looking at those kids my heart drop.  I have three at home and would never want to be in that position.
Now to be honest, I probably won’t be down at the shelter tomorrow handing out blankets or serving meals, but I would never treat someone like that guy got treated today.  I know that there are lots of “Street People” that have made that their choice.  Drugs, addictions to alcohol, run aways, many have made the choice to live off of the generosity of the people who pay taxes, give freely of time, talent, and money.  But then there are those, like this guy and his kids that just got a hard knock.  
Second.
I had to fill my truck up tonight on the way home.  Yep, $100 later I thought I may be standing on the corner with a sign, the penalty for driving a F150 I guess, but it holds 21 backpacks and so I will keep on driving it.  I’d rather pay the $100 then let the Prius lobby win!  Anyway, I pulled into the gas station and braced for impact.  As I sat there chatting with the attendant (yeah in Oregon we can’t pump our own gas) A lady pulled up, rolled down her window and started yelling at the attendant.  I thought for a minute, what the heck is she yelling about?  The attendant said he would be right over and started walking toward her car.  Well by now you could hear a pin drop and all attention was on this loud mouth lady.  She said she needed her car filled up and she was not about to pay $3.90 a gallon.  The attendant politely told her that with her Safeway card she would save 3 cents a gallon.  “3 cents!” the lady yelled.. “What the *&$# I am going to do with 3 cents?”  This is where I finally had to ask, “What the hell is wrong with people?”.
After the 3 cents tirade she began a barrage of profanity and berating this young man the likes I have not seen since basic training in the early ’80’s.  The attendant stood silent and took the verbal beating.  Finally, I had enough.  I got out of my car and asked if there was something that I could do to help.  She snapped her head in my direction and told me to mind my own “F'” ing business.  I informed her that she pretty much had made this everyone’s business with her loud attitude.  I asked her to take it easy on this kid.. he’s just pumping gas, doing his job, he doesn’t set the price of gas.  She then warned me to mind my business.  I told the attendant to get his manager and that may he could work something out with this lady.  She told him that he needed to start pumping gas and let loose with a bomb shell of profane words.  As the manager arrived, I turned to her and asked “What the hell is wrong with you”.  The best part of the story is that as she got in her car and drove away.. the back of her car was filled with bumper stickers proclaiming her faith.  “God is my copilot” and “WWJD?”  I am sure he would not have acted like her.
I got home tonight and thought about this incredible day of humanity.  I thought.. naw.. this is just a freak thing… but then I thought, if I saw two of these acts today.. me.. all by myself, how many more are happening everyday all over?
It makes me upset.
What the hell is wrong with people?  At the outset, I assumed that if you read my blog, then you believe in at least parts of the Scout Oath and Law.
“To help other people at all times”, “To do my DUTY to God and my Country”, to be “Helpful, Courteous, and Kind.”  And at the end of the day something that every major religion on Earth preaches.. “To do unto others as you would have done to you”.
Simple.  So what the hell is wrong with people?
I really mean it when I say…
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on ““Do unto others…”

  1. mikedelam

    Get ‘em. Undo what you can, like you did, and teach better behavior!

  2. It kind of shakes your faith in humanity when you see things like that twice in a day, doesn’t it? Remember though, the bad people are louder and more obvious than the good people. You didn’t see the few cars who did give that guy money, or the hundreds of people who fund and operate the shelters. You didn’t see the (hypothetical) car that drove to that gas station, bought gas, took it back to a driver who had run out and then refused payment.

    Sometimes it seems the jerks are in the majority, but we Scouters have the privilege of sending boys in blue and khaki uniforms to do good things and help remind everybody that that is not the case.

  3. maxredlines

    That was no lady. But as Ancient said, the bad ones stand out.

  4. Scoutmaster J

    I think people are going to be shocked when they find out what they will have to answer for when they get to the other side. When I think about the Sermon on the Mount regarding “the meek shall inherit the earth”, I think of the people down on their luck and treated like garbage here… they are the ones who will be raised on high in the hereafter!

  5. I had an interesting conversation about judgement and heaven and hell with some of the new scouts of my troop on the last camp out. Religion aside… It was interesting how these young guys viewed eternal life.
    We talked about what gets you where and while we agreed on what behavior gets you where, there was some discussion on how that is determined.
    Now.. again, religion aside, because I have to be honest with you.. I don’t think the major religions really get it at the street level. Far to much time worrying about money and who’s right… anyway.. What every one agreed on was that every morning and every night we judge ourselves. People that do bad know that they are doing bad… no matter how they justify it.. I think that we know the difference between right and wrong. Looking in the mirror an individual can tell where he is heading.
    I think the best way to teach this to Scouts is a trip to Wal Mart. Just people watch for 1/2 hour you will see everything from the very best to the very worst in people. I know that has become cliche, but it is what it is. I can not begin to tell you how many times I have stopped fights, child abuse, and theft while at Wal Mart.. it drives my wife nuts. I am no crusaider.. but.. I am not afraid to step up and say something either.
    Ok… so that’s not the best way.. the best way is to be a great example of right.
    Thanks for the comments.

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