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HANNAH RUDDERHAM: Don’t be ‘that person,’ be this one

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This is public service announcement for everyone out there who is “that person.”

You know who I mean — the people that yell at drive-thru workers, the people that complain about the prices at local businesses, the people that believe the world is structured for them and only them.

Right now is not the time.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic impacting jobs, health and safety, family, funerals, weddings — it is not the time. On top of that, we are in the middle of another fight, the Black Lives Matter fight against a system built on systemic racism.

Hannah Rudderham
Hannah Rudderham

 

I repeat, it is absolutely not the time to make others miserable.

The people serving your coffee are essential workers putting their health on the back burner; the paramedics, nurses, doctors, surgeons, they are essential and are working right now to keep others healthy; the fast food workers who are working to get you food when you just don’t feel like cooking, they are essential and working for you.

So, here are some suggestions on how to spread kindness during these times:

1. Support local businesses. A lot of local businesses are being forced to close their doors for good or are not making what they used to due to the ongoing pandemic. If you can help them out by buying something or spreading the word about their business, it might make a difference for a family that needs to get food on the table.

2. Tip a little extra if you can. Lots of businesses are finding it hard to get their employees back in the door because of the government’s emergency response benefit along with their fear for their own safety. The employees that are still working and putting their customers first are doing a wonderful thing. If you have spare change, a slightly bigger tip might make their day and put a smile on their face.

3. Give personal space. Some people, especially those that suffer with anxiety, are anxious about going out to do simple things like getting groceries. It doesn’t help matters when they have impatient customers pushing past them or getting in their personal bubble. If possible, stay a little further away and make sure you’re giving people their six feet distance to put them slightly more at ease.

4. Smile! When you aren’t wearing a mask and see someone else, flash a little smile. Smiles are contagious. If you smile at me, I’ll be smiling for hours.

5. Be kind to your family or housemates. If you are living with your family, it might be a little tense. Living with anyone for multiple months of staying inside all the time is undoubtedly difficult. It might cause fights or tension. But being kind by offering to make dinner, cleaning the house or any small tasks might make seeing the same people 24/7 a lot easier.

6. Compliments! Another easy way to make someone’s day and make them smile is to give them a compliment. “I love your shirt/hair/smile/etc.”

7. Pay for the person behind you in line getting coffee. This is one of my favourites because if you have a few extra bucks to share, you can make someone’s day and possibly start a chain reaction of good deeds. If you do good for others, it’s possible they’ll return the favour to another.

8. Respect everyone’s situation. This is the most important suggestion on this list in my eyes. You don’t know what the person next to you is going through. Maybe they can’t see their parents because of COVID-19 restrictions. What if they just had a family loss? Lost their job. Just got out of a bad relationship. Struggling with online school. Fighting physical or mental illness. You never know. It’s not your place to ask about these things unless the person wants to open up on their own terms, so the easiest way to avoid making a bad situation worse, is to just be kind. Be kind to your friends, neighbours, family, essential workers, strangers, anyone.

You have control over the impact you make in this world. Make it count. Don’t be “that person” that makes a bad day an even worse one. When it seems like everything in the world is going wrong, choose to make it better.

Hannah Rudderham is a graduate of Riverview High School in Coxheath. She is studying digital journalism and new media at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.

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