Our @dcpolicedept does it right! So happy to see these officers helping this lady cross the street and put her bags in the car! ??? #navyyard #dcsfinest @PoPville @theHillisHome pic.twitter.com/60DbRwHFl4
— Stale Betty (@stalebetty) April 18, 2018
Do we take people doing nice things for one another for granted? I’m afraid we do.
Yesterday, Twitter user @stalebetty shared a really sweet photo in which she tagged us (see above). The photo shows two MPD officers flanking an elderly woman and helping her to cross what appears to be New Jersey Avenue SE, between L and M Streets SE. The text reads, “Our @dcpolicedept does it right! So happy to see these officers helping this lady cross the street and put her bags in the car! #navyyard #dcsfinest @popville @thehillishome”
Straightforward enough, right? Within a few minutes, the Metropolitan Police Department had rightfully retweeted the photo and most of the comments were positive.
But not to everyone: A couple of eagle-eyed Twitter users felt compelled to point out that the woman –and therefore the officers– were jaywalking and no one was being issued a citation. The officers were blissfully disregarding the law, as was the lady. How dare they?
Sure, it was just a few people in a sea of appreciation –as of this writing, the post has 4 retweets and 45 likes. It didn’t go viral, but it made at least 45 people smile, if not more. Should we focus on the jaywalking?
Michael Warren of Arlington, one of the users who seemed most dismayed by this display of illegal street crossing, said this,
What the heck is this about? All I notice is people crossing at the wrong part of the street. And cops now help people carry bags? WTF!
— Michael Warren (@mikewarren_1) April 19, 2018
What strikes me as most poignant in this tweet is his phrasing: “All I notice is…”
We are so focused on the rights and the wrongs of things that we can take one look at a feel-good photo and only see what is wrong with it. This is a dangerous place to be. When we stop appreciating the neighborliness that surrounds us, we are the ones who lose. That everyday kindness can take many forms. Here are just a few: construction workers looking out for us pedestrians; people who yield their seat to the older, the infirm or the heavy-laden in the bus or metro; traffic officers who take time to say hello and who risk their lives so cars and pedestrians can coexist; 311 operators who addresses each and every one of our concerns on the phone or via Twitter, even if not all of them are appropriately fixed; and yes, the two officers who felt it was appropriate to escort an older woman across what appears to be an empty street and not at an intersection.
Life in an urban center can feel crowded, lonely and chaotic. I urge us all to take time to appreciate and celebrate the good in our communities, because small great things like the one in this photo happen every day.