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Indeed kindness often does work


Mary Jane Owen

  It is pretty easy these days to throw up your hands in disgust and even grief. I avoid TV except for a very few selected programs that don’t focus on the worst of our species because it can become depressing to the point of causing me and maybe you as well to lose faith in our fellow humankind. But as President Bush 41 proclaimed, occasionally we do see “1000 points of light.”

  I had that experience just recently that negated my sense of dismay as our petulant, clownish, national leaders are demonstrating for all the world to see the worse of what we Americans have traditionally held sacred. For one small moment in time, I saw the best of the human race and of the American sense of goodness and kindness expressed by dozens of ordinary folks who had absolutely no dog in the fight except to do or applaud what was right and kind.

  Traveling on the connector between 42 highway (Atlanta St.) and Jonesboro Rd. on what I think is called “McDonough By Pass” at my usual 45 MPH, I happened upon a fist-sized turtle trying to make its way across the road having, already but slowly, made it all the way to the center line. I knew what was likely in store for Mr./Mrs. Turtle and I could not bear to pass it up. I slowed down, parked in an adequate space off the road, dismounted and headed toward the poor turtle. Just as I approached the creature, another young lady, got out of her car, ran hysterically toward the turtle from the opposite direction, screaming “He’s dead, he’s dead!” I hoisted up my courage, grasp the poor little thing and realized that it had merely drawn in his/her “limbs” because it was scared to death. With that, I picked it up and gingerly placed it well off the road in some tall grass admonishing it in my very best turtle talk, to head in another direction and furthermore to stay away from the road. Not sure if it heard me but it did make an effort to crawl slowly as you might expect, deeper into the woods. Wiping my hands and feeling completely satisfied with myself, I looked up and saw an amazing sight. Not only had the two of us women taken notice, but an entire cavalcade of vehicles was stopped dead, including a Henry County Sheriff’s car which by now seeing the emergency rescue, had turned on its blue emergency lights. At least fifteen cars on both sides of the rescue effort were stopped dead, heads hanging out of the windows inquiring as to the status of the innocent little turtle. Turtle “Saviors,” me and the other dear lady, were given ample time and space to return to our cars and as cars passed, many slowed down just long enough to say something kind: “That was nice!” “Thanks for doing that,” “Good for you!” and even “God bless you!”

  I was amazed, I‘d never have thought that many folks would have been so patient as to await the rescuing of a little turtle. We tend to think that we are all so busy that we don’t have time to pay attention to little stuff. I frankly expected to be shouted at or worse, given “the sign” from passerbys. To the contrary.

  Now it takes a lot to warm this old tough heart, but mine was indeed touched in the best sort of way. As I waited for the traffic to clear and allow me to head back home, I was forced to admit that I had seen something important. So important in fact that I wanted to commit it to paper for others to share. Just when you want to bury your head in the sand to avoid seeing incessant ugliness, a spark of the best of us hits us right in the face. That is inherently comforting. Frankly I felt ashamed of myself for expecting the worst, ignoring the good that has traditionally characterized American culture. Goodness and kindness do indeed abound. It can be seen in the strangest of places. Read the signs! Kindness works!


  Mary Jane Owen is a veteran educator. She has two children, one grandson and is a member of the McDonough Presbyterian church. She’s an avid Braves fan, reads, writes, and gardens.




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