Random Acts

Random Acts: Generosity and Empathy Are Not Passé

By Random Acts
Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's all too easy to grow cynical and wary in this urban environment, but the outpouring of letters we've received reveals heartwarming levels of honesty, compassion and humanity. Maybe we're a more gentle species than city life suggests?

It had been years since my husband and I and our close friends had visited Wolf Trap for a concert. When reviewing the schedule for the summer, the show the night of June 23 caught my eye. Being of a certain age, the prospect of seeing Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald seemed appealing to me. Tickets went on sale, and I secured four seats in the rear orchestra, the best that was available by then.

The evening was spectacular, a welcome respite to the seemingly days on end rainstorms we had been experiencing. We enjoyed a great first set by Boz Scaggs and went outside at intermission to sit on the wall by the lawn and catch the breeze for a few minutes. A group of people approached us and asked us which seats we were sitting in. I told them, and their reply, and random act of kindness, was, "We can only stay for the first half of the show but wanted to offer our seats to you if you would like them for the second half of the show."

The seats were in the front row!

-- Julie Bryan, Falls Church

I was walking toward Au Bon Pain on 19th St. NW. and saw a middle-aged, rather heavyset woman lying on her side on the sidewalk. There was a cane near her. Three or four people were looking at her. One was a young man in a business suit who was on his cellphone calling for an ambulance. He then got down on the sidewalk, asking for help as he gently rolled the woman over so that her upper body rested on his lap. He kept her there until the ambulance and emergency medics arrived. I doubt that she realized or even knew who cradled her in his lap.

-- Shirley Koller, Washington

I often hear about how young people do not have empathy for others. As a second-grade teacher, I know this to be untrue, but a recent experience with one of the students in my classroom shows how caring kids really are.

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