I have a question I’d like to ask you. What do you consider to be the right thing and doing the right thing?
You don’t need to answer this straight away. In fact I’d prefer if you’d ponder it for a while, let it percolate and see what comes to you.
Furthermore here’s the corollary to that. When is it OK to not do the right thing? Is it ever OK not to do the right thing? Consider these as well.
You may be thinking, why am I asking this and why does it even matter?
Doing the right thing can change lives. In some cases, it can mean the difference between life and death.
Here’s an example. On the 1st October 2017 in Las Vegas where I live, there was a shooting where a lone gunman shot and killed 58 people and 422 people were injured by gunfire. Overall 851 injuries occurred from the ensuing panic from this incident. At the time there were a number of incredible first responders from the police department, fire department, visitors from out of state and local men and women who heroically helped survivors escape and took the injured to hospital.
The day following the incident, lines to donate blood extended for several blocks. People waited for up to 6 hours or more to donate life giving blood. In Las Vegas alone, 800 units of blood were donated in the days following the shooting. People banded together in support of the victims and their families as well as for the first responders donating, food, water, money and whatever else they could.
Las Vegas as a city came together in a way that was outstanding. The outpouring of support was huge, people from all walks of life, from all different backgrounds, religions, locals and visitors showed up in support. People of faith prayed and gave solace for those in need. The media, radio, television and social media were giving us updates and stories about the victims and the heroes who saved lives that night; some of them risking their own lives for others.
We were all in shock that something like this happened and yet we all did whatever it took to pick up the pieces, support where we could and make the city and our community stronger.
Not everyone is a hero or even wants to be a hero, however we came together, becoming kinder, more caring, compassionate and grateful as a community.
To me, this is doing the right thing. It is not necessarily about being in the line of fire and jumping in. It is about doing what you can, whatever it takes in support of others, especially but not limited to a time of need.
During this time, people responded and saw each other as human beings, brothers and sisters, family members, one humanity.
So here is where my question comes into play. A friend of mine came to visit Las Vegas this week. On September 11th 2019, which is the anniversary of another major world changing event, he used “Lyft” as a mode of transportation from where he was staying. The driver drove a short distance, dropped him off on the side of the road nowhere near his destination and told him to get out of the car. The driver was rude and called him an “African.” My friend who is actually from Brazil, called 911 and spoke to the police. He ended up walking 1 hour and 45 minutes to the strip where he got another ride back to his Airbnb location.
The driver claimed that they drove to my friend’s destination and charged him for the full fare of the ride. So not only was my friend who is a visitor to this country and this city insulted, he had to walk for nearly 2 hours and on top of this was also defrauded. He has since spent hours on the phone dealing with this issue and has to get a new credit card.
If the driver of the Lyft car or any of their family members had been at the horrifying event on the night of October 1st 2017 and my friend had been one of the people helping them to safety, would there have been any question or comment about his ethnicity?
If someone, anyone, a human being is helping you, moving you out of harm’s way, do you even care or think about where they come from? The answer is, “No.” At the time of an emergency or if you are in great need, you don’t even consider this, it doesn’t even cross your mind. You are 100% focused on survival and keeping alive. You are also incredibly grateful when someone reaches out and helps you, especially in a situation like this.
Generally, when you are grateful for someone helping you out, you do what you can to thank them, commend them or reward them in some way. An act of defrauding them is nowhere on your mind, especially if they have just saved your life.
Would you ever want to be discriminated against due to any reason especially something as puerile and insignificant as skin color pigmentation? Would you ever want to be treated badly or defrauded? The answer is, “No.” Not under any circumstances would any of us accept this.
Is it ever OK not to do the right thing? For me, it is never OK not to do the right thing.
What about you? What’s your answer?
Always do the right thing. Someday your life or the lives of your loved ones might depend on it.