Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pay It Forward

My husband's very first Phd. grad student is currently on active duty in Afghanistan.  He has been in the reserves for years and is in his late 30s, married with a daughter.  He is a great guy and we worry about him over there.  He sends letters out through a mass list that are more informative of what's going on than anything you will read or hear on the news.  This part of his last email got to me.  It is something we should all do no matter where we are...........
I was walking down the road here and noticed a teen-aged Afghani kid walking along the trash bins with both arms full of stuff.  He was trying to open one, then another, as he passed along them.  Both arms filled with trash, he was having difficulties.  Several American Soldiers had passed him by with little notice.  I shouted to him and picked up my pace to a trot.  He looked a little concerned as I neared him…not sure what to expect from me – an American carrying a loaded weapon.  I stopped a few feet short of him and raised the lid on one of the trash containers.  His eyes lightened and he dumped his cargo, then he smiled at me, and raised his hand in a gesture of “hello and thanks”.  I nodded and raised my hand, returning the gesture.  Perhaps, just perhaps, this kid will remember this simple act of kindness if he is ever approached by the Taliban; perhaps he will think twice before being recruited for nefarious acts against the American Army.  One million simple acts of kindness that cost $0, will produce more good than a single act of generosity that costs $1 million…how do we get this point across to American Soldiers?   I have passed this kid many times over the past couple of weeks…every time he sees me, he smiles and waves, he remembers me…one more friend, and potentially one less enemy in this country.  Think of how you interact with the locals…every act on your part counts.

2 comments:

  1. God speed Scott...

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  2. Kathy, this is good advice for all people. Anyone you meet on the road, say: someone honking at you because you're sticking to the speed limit, then races around you, you just might run into at the dry cleaners (happened). I was the friendly one, hoping she would recognize that I was the slow-poke she sped around. See how quickly I take care of my business at the counter?, I tried to show her. No dallying, here! Either she didn't know, or she thinks she's invisible, because she feigned ignorance that we had ever interacted. The invisibility cloak is very common in this sort of "interaction." Scott is finding that this kid is not invisible, which is a great start....

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