Try a Little Compassion

A couple of things caught my eyes today that share a common thread.

First, the story about Eve Adams, a politician up here in Canada. The other day, she went for a $6 car wash, one of those ones where you drive in, stop, machines go around and clean your car, and you drive out. Apparently, Eve wasn’t satisfied with her wash. Fair enough. Everyone has a right to be dissatisfied with a service and to go back and see about getting some satisfaction. But when Eve went to chat with the owner, she parked so that two gas pumps were blocked, so that there was only one access to them. Being a busy gas station on a busy road lead to cars being backed-up and causing other customers to be delayed and frustrated.

Her car remained there for 15 minutes while she talked about her unsatisfactory car wash. Even after being asked to move her car to somewhere less obtrusive, she didn’t. All she cared about was a thin layer of ice on the top of her rear bumper. She wanted a refund, or another car wash.

Meanwhile, for those 15  minutes, other customers were inconvenienced. If you’ve ever been to a busy gas station along a busy street, you know how 15 minutes can seem like forever. Google “Eve Adams Car Wash” and see the video from the surveillance cameras for yourself.

Secondly, a local radio station re-posted an article on Facebook about erecting “pedestrian markers” where a pedestrian was killed a few months back. The intersection that is the focus of the article is in Ottawa, at the corner of Rideau St. and Waller St. It is a section of street that large transport trucks use to go from Ontario to Quebec. For years, community groups have lobbied to have something done, to change the truck’s routes, slow them down, etc. There have been numerous close calls and other fatalities.

Here is a few examples of the comments posted in response…

My concern is that like the phantom bike shrines, they are a visual distraction.”

“As much as I feel for the families of people who’ve been killed, if the trend of “roadside memorials” is continued, our urban landscape is going to be littered with these things.”

 “I agree with all of you that they are merely another distraction.”

While agreed the signs were a good idea and way to bring awareness to the problem, others didn’t see it that way.

Which brings me to the point of this blog, compassion… and the seeming lack of it that some people have.

I think the biggest source of lack of compassion comes from people’s entitlement. They are so involved with themselves and their issues or problems, they utterly forget that they exist in a society.

Eve Adams’ car wash thing is a good example of that. Like I said, she has the right to be dissatisfied with the service she received. But does she have the right to disrupt other people’s lives? She’s certainly comes across as so self-involved that she’ll disrupt the flow of customers and service at a busy gas station until she feels she has satisfaction. It also shows an utter lack of compassion for anyone else. And she’s a politician, some who is supposed to speak for the people. She obviously doesn’t give a load of dingo’s kidneys about other people.

If she were truly aware of other people, she would have found a place to park that was out of the road. She would have treated the gas station owner in a polite and professional manner, which, according to the interview with the owner, she didn’t.

In the case of the pedestrian marker, it seems that some people would consider them a distraction. Here’s the thing, they are there for a reason. They are there to bring to your attention the fact that someone has died there. In this case, a 26-year-old woman, someone who still had a lot of life left in them. It is also supposed to remind people of the dangers of this particular intersection, because other close calls, incidents, and deaths have occurred there. Maybe, if enough pedestrian markers go up, especially in and around one place (say Rideau and Waller), maybe people will do something more than see the markers as a distraction.

But that is all those people, and others that think the same way, see. It is a distraction to them. Their life is bothered by something. They don’t see the point of them.

I’m pretty sure the family and friends of the 26-year-old woman don’t see them as a distraction. The same can be said about other people who have lost friends and family due to neglectful drivers. Sure they are still accidents. The drivers didn’t purposefully hit or kill someone. But wouldn’t being aware of such an event at a certain location make people more mindful?

If the naysayers had just an inkling of compassion, and weren’t so selfish, perhaps these markers, and the “Ghost bikes” for people hit while bicycling, would prove more effective. Then maybe change would come quicker.

I’m sure I’ve touched on this subject in a previous blog, how people are too self-involved, lack compassion for others. What I may not have mentioned is that these people aren’t bad people. They love their families and friends, they are just like anyone. What makes them different is that they are so caught up in their lives, they forget that it is very easy to affect the lives of others. It’s understandable. Life can be hectic, hard, and tedious. It can make us forget about the simple gestures of kindness and compassion that can be so easy to do.

But for some, doing something easy isn’t easy. All the hectic, hard, and tediousness of their lives can make easy gestures hard to do. So, instead of opening their hearts and showing compassion, they just respond the quick and easiest way they can, in a negative, heartless way.


One thought on “Try a Little Compassion”

  1. I think the big key phrase here is “If she were truly aware of other people”… I personally believe that, with a few exceptions, most humans become more compassionate as they become more aware. This is why I am such a big advocate of integration — [openly] exposing ourselves to as many different types of people and ideas as possible. Show me a totally uncompassionate person, and I bet you’re showing me someone with their head up their arse.

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