As I read the news, I’m bombarded with negativity and reminders of how angry and divided we are.
A recent experience reminded me that people are fundamentally good.
I took my oldest to her first Philadelphia Flyers game. During intermission, a stranger came up to me and asked if he could give a Flyers stuffed bear mascot to my daughter.
I was puzzled. I started to try to figure out which of the emotions in my head to act on.
He began to explain:
He has 2 daughters, and he always brought them to games. His oldest is off in college and his youngest is now in high school.
At one of their first games together, a stranger bought them a toy and told him how great it was that he was spending this time with his daughters.
He explained to me that he simply wanted to pay that experience forward to another family. He only asked that someday, I do the same.
I was immediately moved. I thanked him profusely for the bear, and more importantly, for sharing his story with us. We shook hands and he went back to his seat. At the end of the game, we high fived [the Flyers won!] and exchanged pleasantries about the health of each other’s families.
Since then, I’ve been struck by the kindness of strangers. I’ve been reminded that even in divisive times, there are common experiences that link us.
While it is increasingly easy to focus on our differences, we have to remember that shared experiences are what bring us together.
I am extremely grateful and blessed to have this man’s story shared with us, and to become a part of it. Now I just have to be patient, until it is my turn to add our chapter.