"Taught by time, my heart has learned to glow,
For others' good and weep at others' woe." Homer.
In a letter to the Editor, The Straits Times, Singapore, an Australian doctor recounts his experience.
"Flying from New Delhi to Singapore, a fellow passenger relieved me of all my money and my iPod, in the confusion of disembarkation. This letter is to thank those people who helped a complete stranger that day.
1) The young employee of Singapore Airlines who drew money from his personal account so that I could catch a taxi to the Australian High Commission.
2) The couple renewing their passports in the Consular Office, who gave me what little cash they had.
3) Finally, the family who took me home, gave me lunch and dinner, took me sight-seeing, allowed me to shower, and never asked for anything in return.
Dr Shawn Jessep."
The letter tugs at our heart strings. In a world enveloped in dark selfishness, a few lights of selflessness still burn. It only goes to prove that there is goodness in people.
The story begs a question: What would we have done if Dr Shawn Jessep told us of his dire predicament? Would we have politely nodded and walked away, or acted the way some of his benefactors did? The question is not easily answered. The answer would depend on our attitude to strangers. Are we wary of strangers? Or, are we willing to concede that all strangers are not con men? How do we tell the difference between the genuine and false? Very difficult. But a thought is worth considering: Suppose we were in the position of the doctor, would we expect people to help us?
It is the same dilemma for our children. We warn them to be watchful of adult strangers. Sadly, they extend the warning to cover children they do not know. Instead of being silk, they are sandpaper with children who are not in their circle; coarse and sometimes rude. Our unfriendly behavior with neighbors and acquaintances, from whom we do not expect to gain, is copied by our children. Don't we worry that our children will stand isolated one day?