This is a phenomenon that is hard to stop. There are people we just “don’t see.” It’s as if they weren’t thereÃ¢Â?Â¦and they know it. How do we stop this before it is our turn to become invisible? In other words, who is my brother?
The homeless guy: True, he probably hasn’t shaved recently. He may have some tattoos. He might be smoking a cigarette. It’s easy to ignore him and his hand printed cardboard sign. I’ve heard people say “well if he has enough money to buy cigarettes he can’t be that poor.” Yes, he can. He isn’t invisible. He’s our brother and he needs help.
You don’t have to give him money to help him. If you are worried about what he might spend the money on, give him something he would buy with it. Is it hot out? Give him some cold water. Is it cold out? Offer him some coffee or hot coco. Show him that at least one person actually sees him; not the sign, the beard or the tattoos. Him.
Elderly person in a wheelchair: I’ve worked in a nursing home. Some of the residents are truly loved by their family and make an effort to spend time there. Unfortunately there is usually one (or more) who just sits in a chair or wheelchair all day. Alone. Forgotten. Invisible. True, it may not be a relative or someone you know but this is our sister and she needs us.
The nursing home I worked in hired many youngsters and encouraged us to interact with the patients, particularly those who were stuck there by themselves. I kind of understood it at the time, and we would go there on some holidays. We’d Christmas carol or read to them. They loved it. They weren’t alone. Somebody remembered them. They could be seen.
The Biker: Riding a motorcycle, no matter what type it is, does not automatically mean “bad guy/gal.” Some are and that’s the way they want to be. The majority are not. It hurts them when it is assumed that they belong to a gang because they ride a bike. It’s embarrassing when someone makes loud comments about the wisdom of getting tattoos. For them, it’s not a problem with being seen. It’s a problem of being seen for what they really are.
Here are a few things you might want to know. If you see someone on a motorcycle wearing full leathers it’s not necessarily because they like how it looks. It’s practical. A bug hitting a windshield rarely harms a person inside but a bug at 60 mph into the arm can pack a wallop. The same is true if there is an accident. The leather protects the skin.
I know motorcycle riders who are businessmen and women. They have respectable jobs, a home and families. They are individual people and they deserve to be seen that way.
There are other examples out there, but these should help all of us look at other people differently. Instead of making assumptions about them based on where they are, what they do and how they look, get to know them. They are people. They deserve respect just as much as you and I.