I ride the bus a lot. Today, there were a lot of ederly people taking the same bus as me. I had my son in his stroller, but, even so, I adjusted his stroller around and stood to let an elderly lady take my seat. This is something that used to be commonly done by people. People used to automatically give up their seats for the ederly or pregnant, but I see it happenning less and less now.
I helped others by putting their rolling shopping bags (I have no idea what those things are called) in the space for luggage and getting it down again. And as people got on and off the bus, I found myself constantly adjusting where I stood and giving up any available seats for those who needed the seats more.
I noticed that, some people who had not been giving up their seats, after I started to do so, they started to do so as well. I don't think they were consciously being rude by not giving up their seats before, I think they had just been lost in their own thoughts and hadn't noticed, or the thought of doing so just hadn't crossed their minds. My doing so served as a reminder to them, and, as they were good hearted people, they started to do the same.
At the time, I really hadn't thought anything of it. It is just one of those things that you are supposed to automatically do. It's a part of having good manners, thinking compassionately and being a part of society. However, one lady who had been sitting at the back of the bus, when she got off the bus, approached me. She told me that it had done her heart good to see me giving up my seat and being so helpful to others and it was a shame that others weren't as helpful. She told me how wonderful she thought what I had been doing was.
This made me feel good as well as embarrassed, which is my typical response to compliments and praise. I thanked her, but her words got me to thinking. What has happened to our society when simple acts of kindness that used to be a constant action within society, that used to be expected, are now considered special or unusual. A kind behaviour that used to be expected from others is now a surprise when it is done. It is not a good sign. People are forgetting compassion. People are forgetting to feel empathy. People are so caught up in their own lives that they are ignorant and blind to others who inhabit the same world that they inhabit.
Maybe that is something people need to work at regaining: a sense of community and an awareness of the people around them.