Today I would like to share an experience with you. The title of this blog might give you a clue as to the nature of the experience. And I will warn you ahead of time – this is not my typical blog post. I’ve climbed onto a bit of a soapbox.
During a recent visit to a local mall, I noticed a large SUV swing into a handicapped space. Normally, I wouldn’t even take notice of this, but today, I noticed that the SUV did not have a handicapped license plate, nor was there a handicapped tag hanging in the front mirror. As I drove past the space, I watched the driver get out of her car, look around, (I imagined that she was looking to see if anyone noticed that she was illegally parked), and then continue into the mall. Two and a half hours later after I left the mall, her car was still parked in that very same spot.
The situation left me feeling very disturbed about the kind of mindset that someone must have to do something so thoughtless. And that’s when I realized that this woman’s action was likely not the result of some premeditated, malicious act, but instead, truly an act without thought. There was a disconnect between her behavior and it’s potential impact on others. And I think this is what is so disturbing.
As segments of our culture seem to grow in social awareness, there still seems to be plenty of people who don’t consider the impact or consequences of their behaviors. They are thinking only about themselves. This woman was probably a good example of this. Most likely, she just didn’t want to have to park somewhere where she would have to walk a long distance from her car to the mall. But I will bet that if she had a loved one or close friend in her life who required handicapped parking, she might have thought twice about taking that handicapped spot today.
This is the same phenomenon we see with the passage of certain laws. Sometimes it takes a law that negatively impacts a lawmaker personally to be the catalyst for that same lawmaker to initiate steps to change that law.
I know that we need to feel a real connection to our world and its inhabitants in order for this to happen. We have to understand that everything that we do affects everything and everyone around us. We need to live the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And not just because someone says that we should, but because it’s the right thing to do.