Good people truly are a majority in the world

Uh, oh, I thought Friday evening, on my way home from work. It was about 6 p.m. and a storm had knocked out power to part of the Woodsdale neighborhood of Wheeling.

At the intersection of National Road and Bethany Pike, the traffic light wasn’t working. There was lots of traffic coming in from all four directions normally controlled by the signal. Traffic jam time, I thought.

Yet I got through the intersection nearly as quickly as if the light had been working — without help from a traffic cop.

Drivers would slow or stop at the intersection, everyone would take a look around, and in their turns cars and trucks would go on through.

Just one or two jerks could have fouled up what was so smooth a flow it could have been choreographed — but on that evening, everyone worked together.

Most of the time, we do, I reflected as a turned in front of some nice people who had the right of way, but let me proceed.

Overwhelmingly, people are good-hearted. That is, they go out of their way to be nice to others, often making sacrifices to help people they’ve never met.

You see it with any number of initiatives to help children. Just to name a few: Special Wish, Shop With a Cop, Toys for Tots.

Sometimes it takes courage. Think about the Pennsylvanians who served on that grand jury investigating sexual abuse by priests. Their report, made public last week, required months of work — and lots of nerve.

What about the doctors and dentists who volunteer their time and expertise to help the poor? Lawyers who do pro bono work? Teachers who stay after school to help children — and who often dig into their own pockets to ensure low-income kids have what they need? Store owners who find ways kids who don’t have much can have more?

Business owners who donate enormous sums to make communities better? If your response to that one was “tax write-off,” you really ought to learn more about how tax write-offs work.

There are kids who visit nursing homes, people who volunteer at animal shelters, folks who help teach illiterate convicts to read, others who devote time to soup kitchens, college students who go to homeless camps to help. …

Every day, we’re reminded of how many not-very-nice — sometimes evil — people there are in the world. Sometimes it’s good to reflect that they are a tiny minority.

Mike Myer is executive editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register.

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