This week’s blog is a plea. As a human being, I want to be treated with love, respect, honesty, and consideration. What about you? Same? Of course you do. We all want to be treated well because we are all incredibly valuable and important. However, sometimes the way we get treated by others is not that. Sometimes how we treat others, even without intending it, does not lead them to feeling the way we ourselves would like to feel. My plea this week is that we get back to humanity.
This message has come up for me quite a bit lately and has forced me to reflect on my own behaviour and the way I treat others. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago called Pass the simple daily tests. In that blog, I spoke about the simple ways we are tested each day in how we treat other people. Then, in my podcast this week with Adam Wallace called, Time to disrupt, we discussed it as well. Adam made the point that it is a disturbing reflection on society when doing the right thing dealing with other people, is a hack, or a disruption. We both agreed it should just be the way we automatically operate. Sadly, it is not.
Then, this week I was astounded by the inhumane treatment of a beautiful man, and it prompted this plea, and this blog. Let me give you a little background. Last weekend, I did some re-jigging in my home, leaving space on a wall that I knew would look better with some art. With that thought in my mind, I went out on Monday for a meeting. It was walking distance, so that is what I did. As I was walking to the café, I passed an indigenous gentleman sitting on a milk crate in the street painting some beautiful pieces of Aboriginal art. I gave a passing glance at his art as I was walking, and then thought to myself, ‘Hmmm, maybe’.
I went to my appointment, and on my way back I decided to stop and look more closely at the art. I stopped, met Les the artist, looked at his art, asked some questions and decided to buy a piece I knew would look awesome on my wall. I asked how he wanted to be paid, and he said he would take cash or bank transfer. As I had no cash – who does? – I decided to pay by bank transfer. I got out my phone, jumped on my banking app, transferred the money, and showed him the confirmation. Les signed my art and gave it to me, and I went home excited to put it on my wall. It looks amazing, by the way.
Once home, and after I had hung the art, I sat at my computer and immediately an uneasy feeling came over me. I checked my bank account on the computer to find that the payment to Les had been rejected and the money transferred back into my account. I got straight up, no hesitation, and went back to Les to tell him what had happened and try again to pay him. What Les said to me, after I came back and told him what had happened, disturbed, and disgusted me. He looked me in the eye and said, ’Thank you for coming back. You are the only person who has ever come back after a transfer didn’t go through’. It disturbed me that this beautiful man, creating amazing art, had not been paid more than once for his work, because people who owed him money didn’t come back to do it. It disgusted me that there are people in the world who think this is an acceptable way to treat another human.
I paid Les again, I waited until he had evidence that it had hit his bank account, and I walked away with two missions. Mission one, to tell as many people as possible about Les and his amazing art. Mission two, to spread this message of humanity and remind all of us, me included, that treating people with love, respect, honesty, value, and consideration should be an automatic response, not the exception to the rule.
As you go about your day today, you will interact with potentially many people; your family, your friends, the people you pass in the street, the people who serve you in shops, the people who you drive past, and many other people. I would like to encourage you to try something if you are up for a challenge. Could you treat every single person you meet in a loving, kind, respectful, and humane way? Could you smile and say hi? Could you say thank you for something someone did for you? Could you do something to help someone? Could you listen to what someone is saying to you? Could you give a word of praise or encouragement? Could you act with integrity and do what you said you would do?
I know you can. And, when you do, not only will you make someone else’s day, and help them to feel valued and important, but you will bring immeasurable joy into your own life. It is so worth it, so for the sake of this world we live in, let’s spend time every day getting back to humanity.