Friday, February 01, 2008

Tow Truck Drivers and Three Legged Dogs

It's snowed a lot here recently, and lucky me, the heater in my car broke. So I took it in to my mechanic this morning. He's a really friendly guy, and we joked around about the weather and all the automotive trouble thereto appertaining. He commented that "When people make that phone call to the wrecker or the shop, the car is no longer their problem," and told a story about a really beat wrecker driver who shoveled people's cars out of snowbanks while they stood and watched. We concluded that it was a question of empathy.

So on the way home, I saw a lady and her kids walking their three legged dog. Now there's empathy for you. The dog had clearly been in some sort of accident, I'm guessing with a car, and had to have one of his hind legs surgically removed at the hip. That must have been a considerable expense, to say nothing of all the extra care that dog must have needed through all that. Empathy, and lots of it. It’s odd that we can have so much empathy for our dogs, but fellow human beings are little harder for us to empathize with. It’s so much easier to see a person’s flaws if they don’t have fur and big eyes to compensate for them.

To put it another way, it's easy to see the good side of someone going out of their way to help an injured dog, but a lot more telling to see how someone treats a waitress who's having a really bad day.