A favorite TV character from the 1980s was talking to God about what he called “man’s inhumanity to man.” Certainly, we see much of that: nine people shot to death at a church in Charleston, S.C.; dozens of tourists slain on a beach in Tunisia; 15 killed and 80 injured in a suicide bombing by a man dressed as a woman in Chad. A Wikipedia page counts more than 130 acts of terrorism worldwide through the first six months of 2015.
It’s tempting to think humanity is irredeemable, but the evidence suggests that we’re far from lost. We searched “examples of random acts of kindness” and found them to be in roughly equal measure to what we’ll call not-so-random acts of violence. Among them: The man who missed his train because he stopped to help an elderly woman struggling to carry her bags; the man who spends his lunch hour reading to a coworker who cannot; the woman who bought a complete stranger, a homeless man, a meal from the food truck where she way buying her lunch; the man who got out of his car to help a turtle cross a heavily traveled street.
Closer to home, you might have read that Clayton’s animal-control officer, with a big assist from the fire department, rescued a fawn trapped in a storm drain.
First credit goes to the Clayton resident who heard the fawn’s cries and called the town. Next, we tip our hat to the animal-control officer, whose job is more about rounding up stray dogs and cats than rescuing wild animals trapped in storm drains. She could have told the caller that her job wasn’t to save wild animals that posed no threat to the people of Clayton. Instead, she enlisted the fire department’s help in freeing the helpless creature.
But the story doesn’t end there. The animal-control officer could have released the fawn as soon as it was free of the storm drain. Instead, she carried it to the nearby woods, where a wildlife expert says doe and fawn were almost certain to be reunited.
We wish we could say with certainty that compassion will ultimately prevail over inhumanity; we can’t of course. But we’re hopeful, thanks in no small part to an act of kindness in Clayton.