Men or machines

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Paperclip

I THOUGHT that some form of lunacy had run rampage round Beverley Towers amid reports that the East Riding Council had been repairing potholes in empty car parks whilst the rest of Bridlington sinks into a giant pit of gravelly decay.

Of course, it transpired that there was a reasonable explanation for what the workmen were doing, but it does not surprise me that passers-by jumped to their own conclusions.

I wasn’t surprised because we are so used to authorities (and not just the council) making ridiculous decisions and carrying out pointless exercises that we automatically assume the worst of them.

Modern society has become so full of jobsworths and bean-counters intent on mindlessly following rules and regulations that we seem to have lost any sense of reason or morality.

I recently read a story about an airline pilot who personally delayed his plane to allow enough time for a grandfather, who was travelling to see his dying grandson, to get onboard.

The grandson was shortly to have his life support machine turned off, yet the grandfather was given no fast-tracking through check-in and security, so despite him arriving two hours before his flight, he ended up being 12 minutes late to board.

So the heroic pilot refused to take off until the grandfather was safely onboard.

Of course, my first reaction was ‘good on the pilot’ but then I thought about it a little more and realised, well of course he should have delayed the plane!

Why wouldn’t he? A measly 12 minutes for the sake of man being able to say his final farewells to his grandson. It would have been unbelievably harsh if he hadn’t waited for him.

But then it struck me while reading readers’ comments on the story, that people were genuinely surprised at the pilot’s actions; citing that flight schedules would be mucked up, people would be late for transfers, and so on.

And this is my problem.

We’re so used to people, particularly under the banner of ‘doing their ‘job’, carrying out unfair, immoral, incomprehensible and downright ridiculous actions that it’s considered abnormal when somebody actually shows a little thought and compassion.

Surely it should be the other way round?

Shouldn’t we expect compassion in our dealings in everyday life?

It’s the little acts of kindness that help distinguish us from the knuckle-dragging animals we used to be. And it would do the world, not to mention this town, a lot of good for us to remember that.