south carolina

Not-So-Random Act of Kindness

Following up on an earlier post, Mad and Sad, here comes this story from The New York Times: Black South Carolina Trooper Explains Why He Helped a White Supremacist – The New York Times.

“His name is Leroy Smith, and he happens to be the director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety… Mr. Smith said he was taken aback by the worldwide attention but hoped the image would help society move past the recent spasms of hate and violence, including last month’s massacre of nine black people in a church in Charleston. Asked why he thinks the photo has had such resonance, he gave a simple answer: Love. ‘I think that’s the greatest thing in the world — love,’ said the burly, soft-spoken trooper, who is just shy of 50. ‘And that’s why so many people were moved by it.’”

What happened? As the article recounts, “a demonstrator directed his attention to an older man all but melting on a bottom step. ‘He looked fatigued, lethargic — weak,’ Mr. Smith said. ‘I knew there was something very wrong with him.’ He called up the steps to the Columbia fire chief, Aubrey Jenkins, for assistance. Then, with his left arm around the man’s back and his right hand on the man’s right arm, he walked the swastika-adorned demonstrator up the steps, as many as 40. Slowly, steadily, all the while giving encouragement: We’re going to make it. Just keep on going.” Yet again, in South Carolina, hate didn’t win. Love did.

And you know what? I’m going to adopt Officer Smith’s words as a motto, when things look bad.

We’re going to make it. Just keep on going.

Photo: Rob Godfrey, via Associated Press.