I’ve started holding up a sign in a crowded area in my city. On one side says “You are loved, worthy, strong, capable…amazing!” and on the other is “Have a nice day.” I want to help restore people’s faith in humanity, and in doing so, I end up restoring mine.
Rushed commuters see my sign and thank me. Some even stop and take the time to ask me about it. Teenage guys in hockey jerseys, guys I might normally feel intimidated by, see my “you are amazing” sign, smile, and say, “You are too!” These bonds of kindness and joy are blind to man-made stereotypes. In the face of racial profiling, discrimination, and unfair prejudices against non-whites, I’ve gotten the biggest smiles from African-American men. In a world of Islamophobia and anti-Islamic sentiment, the sweetest stranger I’ve met–a young woman who talked with me and gave me a hug–was wearing a hijab. My heart has been touched by the smiles of elders and young children alike. I have shared brief moments of kindness with trendy guys in pea coats, mothers with strollers, young women wearing Christmas elf costumes, white-collared career men, students, and security guards.
When I share those moments of kindness, when I see those genuine smiles, I know in my heart that humanity is not wholly evil. All of us are misguided and dysfunctional to some degree, but deep down, we have souls that mean well.
We really are good people.