As anyone who gets gas at Costco knows, the wait is long and people’s patience often wears thin. I’m third in line now, with the two cars in front of me each pulling up to their respective pumps.
The first guy gets out. He’s young, black, and wearing a mask.
The second, I’m frustrated with because he’s taking much longer to get out of his car. I see his door open and two feet slowly touch the ground, one and then another. He’s at least 90 years old, white, and contrastingly, not wearing a mask.
The first guy is noticing him too. He doesn’t exactly look steady.
Then the first guy begins emphatically waving down a gas station attendant. I know he’s seeking help for the older one because I watch him peek around the pump for an attendant and then quickly back to the guy. As we both now wait for assistance, he appears to keep his eyes on the older gentleman, as if standing at the ready, should he need some help.
My own eyes start to well up. The first guy isn’t in a rush to get gas and get gone, like I am. He’s present, and caring for a fellow human being. He doesn’t care that the guy is white. He doesn’t care that he’s not wearing a mask. He cares because he sees a man in need.
If I were a news journalist, perhaps my headline would be, “Young Masked Black Man Comes to Old Maskless White Man’s Aid at Costco Gas Pump.”
But do any of these details really matter? In today’s times, yes. They shouldn’t. But because we’ve been so increasingly divided over the past 18 months, we rarely hear these stories. We see them all the time, but we barely acknowledge them, and we certainly don’t hear about them. Sadly, these stories don’t sell.
I think they should, though. Because to me, this story is what America (and humanity) is all about.