Stories of decency should inspire

Good news from Tampa – common decency may not be dead.

A few days ago, amid sweltering heat, a homeless mother living at a Salvation Army shelter with her five kids discovered a purse heavy with $800 in cash and two paychecks in a parking lot.Then she did the unthinkable – she returned it.

According to Tampa news sources, 24-year-old Canesha Blackman didn’t even open the bag. She was quoted as saying that she would feel terrible if she lost money and didn’t want to put someone else through that trauma.

The return was an incredibly decent move for a woman facing the financial trouble Blackman faces – a woman who gave her media interviews from the homeless shelter and who made a move I doubt many would even consider.

Her incredible selflessness should be cloned and distributed.

After all, a lot of people could use it. In this day and age, you have to stay on your toes or people will take advantage of your naïvete. Auto mechanics, computer technicians, apartment rental companies and the evil techies who charged my brother $350 for vintage sports jerseys on eBay and never delivered them to our door – they all need a dose of this common decency.

How do these scam artists sleep at night, knowing they so casually ruined another person’s day? What right do they have to just go in and take what obviously isn’t theirs? Does anyone have compassion for others anymore?

Thank God there are still people like Blackman in the world. I was beginning to think they all died off years ago.

The closer we come to graduation, the more entangled we become in the rat race. We’re progressively becoming more impatient. We want our computers to run faster. We have to drive over the speed limit. We obnoxiously tap our toes in line at the bank, the food store, the heinous lines at Wal-Mart. We demand people to be on-demand.

But have we left courtesy in the dust? No one expects an open door or a seat offer on the blue loop. A few months ago I watched in amazement as a pregnant woman climbed onto a crowded bus, looked around for a seat and prepared to stand.

I jumped up as she awkwardly began to hang on to one of the poles. Others around me looked on in curiosity.

So many of us have given up on courtesy. And now, the ugly parasites of ignorance and selfishness are slowly eroding common decency.

We should all take a lesson from Blackman and put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Be considerate. Open a door for someone, give up your seat on the bus to someone who needs it, return someone’s student ID if you find it on the ground. Offer to share your umbrella, don’t cut in line, smile a little.

As we are inundated with images of devastation in the South, now is a great time to be grateful, and to do what you can to help others.

All you have to do is think of others – and hope the fad catches on.

Krystle Kopacz,Daily Collegian,Penn State.