Thursday, 24 January 2013

Where Did the Good People Go?

I'm a Scottish Highlander, born and bred. So I'm more used to rolling hills, and vast lochs than busy motorways and any kind of building that has more than four floors.

When my family heard that I was moving down to Glasgow to go off to university, I got a lot of "Oh, you'll need to be careful down there..." But I was going to be a sophisticated student, I didn't really need to worry. Nothing bad was possibly going to happen to me. 

Given that I was raised by two police officers, that was probably a stupid way to think.

I was heading into my classes the other morning when, at the bottom of our hill, I saw a little ratbag threatening a poor elderly man with a broken bottle. The brat could only have about fourteen, and his bright green tracksuit did nothing for him. Naturally, I wasn't just going to let him harass the poor guy so I sped up to catch him up. The narrative went something like this, and I'll replace all the bad words with "fluff".

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Fluff off, or I'll fluffing cut ye!"
"Aye, I'm sure you will. Leave him alone."
"I'll fluffing cut ye! Fluff off, I will!"

The next bit I'm quite proud of. To fully understand how proud I was, you need to watch this video by Jenna Marbles:

That describes what I said, exactly. After that, he scurried off to skip school somewhere else. I tried to ask the elderly man if he was alright but he didn't want to speak to me, he seemed to have gotten quite a fright.

All of this has really made me question as to what people are really like. It would be nice to believe that everyone is nice, but is that really true? A nice kid wouldn't threaten to hurt an old man.

But then something happened last night that almost made me change my mind. My boyfriend, Kieran, and I were walking down to our friends' flat to have dinner with them. The only problem with that, is they don't live in the best area. On our way down we heard a far off "Help me!" which got louder and closer, the further we walked.

Round the corner there was a woman who had her hand stuck in the hinge of a public toilet. It was a great big heavy door, and because you have to pay 20p to get into the bathroom, the door wouldn't open again. The off-putting thing was the fact that she was probably shooting up in there (she didn't look in great shape).

Even though we were both scared that the whole thing was a scam and someone else was going to jump out at us if we went over, Kieran went over to her to see if he could help. He got her free, and after a few uncomfortable hugs and thank yous we were on our way again.

It got me thinking that maybe no one is fully good or bad. That woman may have been using drugs in that bathroom, but that doesn't mean she deserved to have her hand trapped. Kieran got his hand stuck for a couple of seconds in the process of getting her free, and it bruised his knuckles instantly. No matter what you do, I don't think anyone deserves that kind of pain. And maybe that little boy isn't completely rotten. I don't know what kind of home he lives in, or what kind of school he goes to.

And then there's me. I jumped in to help the elderly man but felt scared about doing anything to help the woman. Does that make me a good or bad person?

Whatever the answer, something that Kieran said has resonated with me and has made me feel a lot better about everything.

"Maybe not everyone in the world is a good person. But I hope that I can be a good person in this world."