Recently my friend’s daughter was visiting with her friend. She accidentally left her purse on top of her car and drove down the Southwest Freeway in Houston on her way home. After realizing she didn’t have her purse, she was panic-stricken. She described how the blood drained completely from her head, and she had difficulty breathing. She had a considerable amount of money in the purse, her mother’s credit card and all of her own personal identification. She retraced the route back to her friend’s house in hopes of having left it there. It was not there! Where could the purse be and what would she do if she could not find it? At that point, she frantically called her mother, my friend, to tell her what had happened.
Shortly, there was a rap on our front door. There stood our next-door neighbor, Roger, accompanied by two young men from Honduras who spoke only Spanish. Roger, fluent in Spanish, was able to translate for the two young men.
Roger relayed that the young men had been driving down the extremely busy Southwest freeway when they spotted a purse in the middle of the thoroughfare. They pulled off onto the shoulder of the freeway and darted through traffic to retrieve the purse. They found the address and were delivering the purse with all the belongings to our house in West University Place.
Upon learning the purse was returned, we were filled with such gratitude and relief, but also a sense of bewilderment. It was totally unexpected. We immediately had such warm feelings toward these young men whom we had never seen before and to whom we were strangers who could not speak their language.
What was their purpose in risking their lives to retrieve the purse? What do you think the other drivers thought when they saw two young men darting through the traffic to get the purse? Would you or they have had the vaguest idea that the intentions of these young men were to return the purse to its rightful owner? Many of us have a preconceived idea about the intentions of others, especially of those of a different ethnicity. This chance meeting with these two young men who were a model of honesty and thoughtfulness gave us cause to reflect upon our own belief systems.
Why are these biases embedded in our subconscious? How did they get there? Why do individuals have to risk their lives or do something extraordinary for us to see the good in them? The biggest question is, what could we do to open our minds to a new way of thinking and help us to see life in a different way? Perhaps we could be a part of a movement that spreads the idea that we are all more alike than different and that we should embrace and celebrate our differences in a positive manner. After all, we are all here together sharing the planet. Would you join us in this movement? Let the movement begin.