I’m not going to get into a lot of the details to protect the other people involved, but I want to tell you a story about a person I met on Tuesday. I met her Tuesday afternoon and we had approximately 15 minutes for “idle conversation.” I introduced myself and apologized because I said I’m good at pronouncing Dutch names (Tom, Paul, James, John, etc……) but I wasn’t sure how to pronounce hers. She smiled and said, “People just call me Susie……”
While she was obviously not what the Census Bureau might consider to be Caucasian, she was also not African or African American. I said to her, “I know you are from Chicago (she said that previously) but I’m curious as to where your family is from.” She proceeded to tell me that her parents immigrated to the United States 40 years ago from India and got married shortly after arriving in the United States and have lived in California ever since.
We chatted a bit about California, where they live in California and where I have relatives and friends in California. As our time for “chatting” was wrapping up, she said to me, “Tom, thank you. I travel a lot for work and in these current times, more often than not, these type of conversations between strangers have not gone well and in many of them have been downright mean, disrespectful and bordering on scary. You have restored my faith in society. Thank you.”
What did I do? Nothing but treat someone with common decency.
I’m sure if we had gotten further into deep conversations, there would be things we don’t agree on. But that doesn’t mean we can’t treat each other with respect.
We’re better than mistreating others because they aren’t “just like us.”
If we aren’t, we should be.