Despite What You Hear…

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For years, my mantra has been, “Don’t let the news you hear or read make you give up on humankind.”

Don’t forget that what normally makes “news” are the actions that are the exception to the norm.

We hear about murder and mayhem in the news almost constantly and I remind you that there was a time we didn’t have 24 hour news sources spewing out information.

This is what I dislike most about 24 hour news services.

I just don’t think we need them.

We’re lead to believe that if one of the networks says it’s news, then it must be worthy of our rapt attention.

I cannot remember the last time is watched a newscast and it didn’t start with the graphic “Breaking News”.

I come from a time that “Breaking News” was really something earth-shattering and deserving my attention.

We live in the age of hype.

We’re lead to believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Everything is thrown at us as “Bulletin” worthy and words like shocking, stunning, earth-shattering are used as frequently as common nouns.

Geez, even my favorite, the weather, has been caught up in the hype frenzy.

I mean, really, how many “Storms of the Century” can we have in one year?

And every snow is not a “blizzard” and every wind is not a “tornado” and every “hurricane” is not the first cousin to Katrina.

But the forces involved with the round-the-clock information services are clamoring for attention and “hype” the way.

However, remember the old adage about the boy crying “Wolf!”?

At what point and time, when something is really urgent or serious, will we be numbed to the point that we’ll say, “Yeah, right!” and actually miss something really important or significant.

Good news is almost an oxymoron.

Most of us really don’t care to hear it because, well, it can be boring.

There have been efforts over the years to have “good news” reports on-air but they normally fail because we want to hear about the oddities, the idiots, the morons because what they do is not what most of us experience.

But from time to time, it’s important for us to hear about folks making the right choices or doing the right things.

Case in point.

Recently, the best customers of the night didn’t leave tips at a Birmingham, Alabama Waffle House.

A customer told reports there was only one employee on the job at the eatery in ‘Bama on a recent late Saturday night.

More than 30 customers jammed the place to chow down around midnight.

One man finished his meal and then had an unusual request.

He asked the cook for an apron and then started washing dishes.

But that’s not all.

A well-dressed gal who’d come in for a bite after an evening on the town picked up the coffee pot and started serving the other customers.

The man and woman didn’t know each other still pitched in to help the swamped restaurant employee.

Together, they helped out by busing tables, washing dishes and stacked cups and plates while the Waffle House employee grilled and served orders and ran the cash register.

Nice story, right?

Was it “breaking news” at any time on any of the networks?



Good people (which most of us are) do that sort of thing all the time.

It’s a trait of real Americans.

And this all was accomplished without legislation or governmental funding.

Now one might wonder what about the other two dozen-plus people in the Waffle House that night.

There were probably a few “not my job” mutterings offered by some of them.

But it doesn’t mattered because a few folks saw a problem and took steps to fix it.

I think we used to call that “initiative”.

Now while that’s a neat story, I would also be so bold as to suggest that sort of behavior is not all that rare.

And that’s why it’s not normally the news that we hear or read about.

You see, people who respond to problems like the one encountered in that Birmingham, Alabama Waffle House just do it…because it’s the right thing to do.

My guess is one or both of the helpers probably spent some time taking orders and busing tables and they experienced empathy.

“Been there”.

“Done that”.

It ain’t fun, is it?

I’m going to go out here on a limb and suggest that one or both of them might have been veterans and came from faith-based backgrounds.

If I’m totally wrong on that, well, that isn’t bad either.

It just reinforces my belief that there’s a lot of good in this world and we just have to remember that the next time we hear about the most-recent efforts of some of the morons that live among us.

Remember¬† that Waffle House restaurant story the next time you’re figuring how much tip to leave.

Unless they throw the food at me or it crawled off my plate, I’m leaving something that says, “Thanks”.

Or else I’m grabbing an apron and that coffee pot to help change a bad situation.

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