Yesterday, in the city where I work, an incident took place that was so horrific, our community needs to heal.
I’ll get to that incident shortly, but first here is a counterpoint that took place a few hours later. I hope it can restore our community’s faith in humanity. We could use the help.
The village where I live hosts an annual 10-kilometer race, and I volunteer as a course marshal keeping traffic away from runners. My post was a quarter-mile from the finish, on a brutal uphill stretch.
As the race wore on and the slower runners and joggers started to come in, I saw a woman jogging toward me alongside two other course marshals in their reflective vests. She was the last runner out on the course, and they were escorting her in.
I joined them and as we all jogged together, the woman (Connie) said this was her third 10K and she was training for her first half-marathon.
As we neared the finish line, another runner (Toni) appeared from the side of the road, introduced herself to Connie and thanked Connie for offering encouraging words out on the course.
I remembered that Toni had run past my post several minutes earlier, so I assumed she had already finished and gotten her bottle of water. But she hadn’t yet crossed the finish line, and had been waiting a few yards away.
Toni knew Connie was the final runner out there, and didn’t want her to be “last.” The two women, strangers until the race, finished together. Their times in the final results are identical. I was touched by the kindness, the empathy. I’m biased, but most runners are damn good people.
Now, to the other incident, the real ugly one. The morning of the race, a 70-year-old man left a convenience store a little after 6 a.m. and was attacked by five males in their 20s. Apparently two of them punched and kicked the crap out of the older man.
The attack appears unprovoked. The victim is hospitalized and hasn’t been able to speak because of the severity of his injuries.
What do these two disparate events have in common? Nothing, and everything.
I don’t have an antidote to the kind of evil that took place outside that convenience store. Our city has seen more than its share of senseless violence of late, and the question of how we got to this point remains unanswered.
For now, all I can do in this space is share stories of human kindness and hope it catches on. Suggestions welcomed.