In a reasonably full bus, there are 2 empty seats with one empty bottle left by someone who already left the bus. Let’s say this unknown person is A.
Next, an old lady gets on the bus and sits on the empty seat with empty bottle. Seeing that empty bottle, she simply moves it to the next seat, that happens to be empty. Let’s call this old lady B.
Then, another old lady enters the bus and walks towards the empty seat that now has an empty bottle moved by B. Let’s call her C. Without hesitation, C throws away the empty bottle on the floor and then occupies the seat.
B is unhappy that C throws that empty bottle. With raised tone, she scolds C “why would you do that?”
C asks “do what?”
B: “throwing that empty bottle to the floor”
C: “if I don’t do that, how am I supposed to sit?”
B: “if it were me, I would have picked it up”
The high-tone argument continues.
Another old lady sitting on other seat nearby gets up, walks a bit and picks up the empty bottle on the floor. Let’s call her D.
D holds onto the empty bottle until she gets off the bus a while later and puts it inside a trash bin available near her bus stop. Interestingly, the heated argument between B and C stopped immediately the moment they saw D doing her simple action.
What do you think of this simple story?
To me, B had her chance to pick up the bottle right before she sat. Instead of actually picking up the bottle, she chose not to do so. She moved the bottle instead, thinking that the next person should do it. Hence her “if it were me” argument is clearly flawed.
The argument between B and C is a perfect representation of so many cases in today’s world. Empty argument where 2 sides equally guilty (or at least didn’t do what’s right given the chance) are arguing which one is more wrong. Or to be more precise, the typical “I am right and you are wrong” stand without the slightest intention of self reflection. So much energy is spent on defending right or wrong rather than solving the problem itself. When someone else actually solve the problem (D). Neither B or C said any acknowledgement to D. Just silence. I’m not a mind reader, but I think it’s safe to assume that neither of them would felt any guilt by end of the day.
Interestingly, no one seems to care about A, the one who actually initiated the problem. Why? Because A is no longer in sight. It is much easier to blame someone available near us rather than thinking of the actual cause of something. Focused on problem solving is another matter.
Why do I use old ladies in this story? Sexist much? Not really. This is a true story that I happened to witness when taking bus trip yesterday, and they are actually old ladies. So, just telling an experience as it is, don’t read too much into it. The focus of this article is about what happened rather than who.
This world needs a lot more D, far less people like B and C. Furthermore, if A does not exist (each human being does the right thing), a lot of our problems would not exist in the first place.
To end this little story, I am embarrassed to admit that I need to improve, too. Evidently, I belong to the group E, other bus passengers, people who simply watched without doing anything, having the opportunity to do so.