A video surfaced today, showing Keanu Reeves giving up his subway seat for a fellow female passenger. My first thought was ‘Why is Keanu Reeves using public transport? Didn’t he survive a bus hijacking back in 1994?’ My second thought was, ‘Oh, hang on, that wasn’t real’. And my third thought was, ‘Really? That’s news?’
I’m all for giving up stuff for strangers. I’ll only nab a spot on the bus or train if there are no little old ladies, bag-laden shoppers, restless kids with weary mums, or cute couples (naww, love) around. And I like to think I’m one of the first passengers to jump up and offer my seat to someone who hops on and matches either of these descriptions (or all of them – an old lady weighed down with shopping, holding hands with her husband and calming their energetic grandson perhaps? It could happen!)
To the frustration of my friends, I’ve been known to circle a car park with my arm stuck out the window, ready to give away my still-valid parking ticket. All to save someone a couple of bucks.
Once, I gave away my umbrella to a woman who was on her way to a job interview and was worried she’d arrive soaked and sodden. I was heading home, so I figured she needed it more than me.
The other night, when leaving Westfield, I broke away from The Lad to show a man and his son the entrance to the shopping centre, after watching them try unsuccessfully to force open a locked door.
To be honest, I’m always looking out for ways to help someone else. I don’t do it for karma. I don’t do it to feed my ego (in fact, I tend to go bright red when offering something to a stranger). I do it because it feels like the right thing to do. And I do it because I know what it’s like to feel like a little speck in a sea of people, lost, broke, or in a bit of a pickle and not know how to ask for help. There have been times when someone has offered me a bus ticket, the spot in front of them in the supermarket queue, or shown me the right way to go, and I have been so thankful. Other times, I’ve not received any help and, while I’ve eventually found my way, wished someone had lent a hand.
One of my friends commented recently that she can’t believe how few people offer their seat to her on the train. She’s eight months’ pregnant. So I also do it to set an example and show others that nothing bad happens when you offer something to a stranger. In fact, it can do the world of good and turn someone’s day around.
Every day, I see someone bending down to chat to a homeless person on a busy city street. Or motion to a stranger to go ahead of them in a queue. Or run after a fellow commuter who has dropped their wallet. I like to think they do it for the same reason I do – because they feel it’s right. Not because they’ll be hailed an everyday hero, but because it’s normal and not a big deal.
So while I like that Keanu Reeves gave up his seat for a female passenger, I don’t think it should be a news item. In fact, if more of us reached out more regularly to help the person next to us, then maybe such everyday events wouldn’t make the news. Just as a video of Miley Cyrus tying her shoelace doesn’t make international headlines. It would just be the norm.
What do you think of the Keanu Reeves video being a news item? Do you offer your seat or something else to someone in need? Why do you do it?