Last week my wife and I parked in downtown Missoula. I went to the parking pay station, put in the correct license plate number and started plugging in quarters. After putting in about five, the machine burped and spit them out. I must have done something wrong. I tried it again, mixing in some dimes and nickels. It spit out the change again. I tried it with quarters again; same thing. By then my hands were cold, I was dropping quarters in the snow and having a talk with the machine.
I was trying it for a fourth time — I’m not a quick learner — when a young woman came across the street, walked up to me and said, “I work at the parking commission and it looks like you are having troubles.” She worked on the keypad for a minute and gave me a receipt for two hours of parking. I still had my quarters. I asked how she knew I was having trouble. She said she was just walking to her office from a meeting and saw I needed help. Thanks, young woman.
Most mornings I walk a couple miles starting at 5:30. I enjoy the dark so I don’t carry a light. In the winter it is common for me to meet the snowplow doing its work for our neighborhood and the school buses. A few days ago there was new snow and the snowplow passed me from behind, spraying snow from the road. I was well-off the road and only my legs got snowy.
This morning on my walk I could hear the snowplow coming up the road behind me. The big machine slowed and when it got to me, it stopped. The driver got out, walked around the plow to me and said, “I wanted to come this way early hoping to see you to say I am sorry for spraying you with snow the other morning.” Thank you, snowplow driver; I appreciate what you do, your thoughtfulness and your courtesy.
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And finally, as an American, I want Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to know that I deeply appreciate his service, his courage and his commitment to duty. Like most Americans, I respect the sacrifices our soldiers make serving in the military.
My brother did two tours in Vietnam and I believe most of us have similar or closer associations with the military so we know that most (not all) are people of character that deserve our respect. Certainly Vindman is. I am very sorry for his recent ignoble removal from his role as an adviser.
I deeply believe Americans are good people and know kindness, empathy and duty. These three examples of government workers doing what they do and the way they do it — when there is no-one to notice — are examples that America can still be good.