Detroit has been rocked by senseless behavior the past few months. As thousands of people work to make this a better place, we must acknowledge the challenge we face.
Wherever there is challenge, there is opportunity.
While I was at a gas station on Van Dyke this morning, a simple realization hit me. I was getting my caffeine fix and saw the clerk was having a tough time with people in line. Quickly finishing, upon my turn in the queue after paying I simply said, “thank you.” Anyone knows me knows it is almost instinctual. I thank the bus driver. I nod to the stranger on the street. I pick up the knocked over newspaper box. I was raised that’s simply what you do, but today was a little different.
The clerk, who had obviously been called racist names during his shift, stopped in his tracks. The look on his face was of relief. He just stammered “you’re welcome. Nobody has said thank you to me in a week.”
See, the reason to say thank you is respect. Sure, it’s polite but without respect it’s empty. I could have saved fifteen seconds and ignored his bad morning. If the forces that are at tension in our community would just start taking small steps on all sides each group should realize it needs the other. Instead of mistrusting each other maybe we can change the mental situation just a little bit … Just enough to save someone.
Why the mental situation? Although we need to get illegal guns off our streets, the reality is until there’s an attitude change the battle our law enforcement faces is not just up hill, it’s up a straight cliff. Each and every one of us has a role to play. So acknowledge your brother in spirit. Respect the person who’s doing his or her job. They’ve got kids and a family, too.
I know what we face is a multi-layered, compounded problem but there is a place we all can start. Maybe by showing each other and our community respect we can encourage others to do the same.