I recently received this email from one of my son's friends who recently read A Park Ranger's Life. You never know the connections that can be made with our fellow humans. I am humbled to think that the writer felt that reading my book influenced his decision to act with kindness and compassion in a way that may have defused a potentially escalating situation.
I found your insight into dealing with "crazy" people to be helpful in my own life: the other day I was riding on the Boston subway, and there was an agitated and dirty guy sitting in one of the seats. He seemed eager to talk to people in the subway car but everyone was ignoring him, myself included. When a stop came, the woman sitting next to him got off and no one took her seat, despite the fact that the car was packed to capacity. The look on his face clearly expressed that he felt like an outcast. At that point, I recalled the multiple instances in your book in which you mentioned that most people just want a little respect and recognition and that by giving them some respect they feel validated and relax. So, I worked my way over to the seat and sat next to him. We chatted a little bit about the Red Sox and he appeared to calm down. I took this as proof that your insight holds true, and so from now on I will try to extend a small tokens of respect to similarly upset people.
It took some courage for this young man to step forward and extend himself to another. We often never know what small and random acts of kindness can do.