Monday, January 08, 2007

You Aren’t From Around Here, Are You?

“When the Red River Flood hit and many people were without any place to stay, Mrs. Sorenson went to the Red Cross shelter and offered to take in three people at her home. A reporter who overheard her asked, ‘Why are you doing that?’ Mrs. Sorenson’s response was, ‘You aren’t from around here, are you?” Emily Friedman told that story in her talk at the Northcentral Montana Healthcare Alliance Regional Governance Conference on Friday in Great Falls, MT. Many urban dwellers have a tough time understanding how rural folks have learned to help each other and to reach out to those in need.

I witnessed that same spirit on my plane ride out of Great Falls on Saturday morning. The flight attendant announced that the cargo hold was full and several gate-checked bags would need to be stored under the seat. I always carry on my bags and wasn’t surprised when my roller-board was wheeled down the aisle toward me. We somehow squeezed it under the two seats in front of my seat and my seatmate’s. He didn’t object at all to having his leg room cut off.

A few minutes later they brought his roller bag down the aisle and there was no way that we were going to be able to cram both of our bags into the space that barely held one. Every one of the neighboring passengers offered to put his bag under their seats, even though it was going to be a very cramped and full flight.

I wondered if you would find the same spirit on the shuttle between Washington, DC and New York.

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