As soon as I began my freshman year at Corban I had heard the phrase, “Be nice, you’re in Oregon.” This phrase was not only said by locals, but also plastered on coffee shop tip jars and car bumpers. I came from the land of aggressive drivers and people who, for the most part, minded their own business (aka California). Unsolicited kindness from others was a somewhat foreign concept to me.
For instance - On the freeway, California has two speeds “fast” and “very fast” and if you are not in one of those categories, you will undoubtedly be honked at. In Oregon, the two speeds are “under the speed limit” and “right at the speed limit” and drivers will graciously change lanes if they feel you are being slowed down.
I was driving in Salem, trying to go somewhere I had never been. Blindly following my GPS worked pretty well, until I ended up in a left turn only lane for a road that was closed. I had come to terms with the fact that I would be waiting for a while to squeeze into the lane on my right, but then the driver in the truck next to me motioned for me to come into the lane. I was dumbfounded but gladly took his offer up.
In the parking lot of the grocery store, I was hustling to get in and out because my schedule that day was jam-packed. As I was walking in, a woman offered me her cart. Shockingly, this was not because I was closer to her than a cart return, just because she thought of someone else.
Another day, I was in the kitchen with my roommates. One of them told me how our neighbors had a garden they would love to share with us. So later that day we stopped by, they showed us where each type of plant was and gave us an open invitation to pick whatever fruit/veggies we would like. We came back home with tomatoes, jalapenos, and bell peppers.
The other day I wrecked my car. Three kind citizens checked to make sure I was okay (only one of which had to stop because I was blocking her lane). One man called 911, another who was a nurse asked me a few questions to make sure I was all right, and the woman searched the car for my phone. I felt, in a way, like I was living a modern-day reenactment of “The Good Samaritan” from Luke 10; except instead of being left on the side of the road, all three of the people who saw tried to help.
There is no doubt in my mind that people here are nice, but my question is - why isn’t it like this everywhere? Can you imagine a world where people were more concerned for others than themselves? A place where everyone was courteous and even went out of their way to help others out? Maybe instead of saying “Be nice, you’re in Oregon.” we should say “Be nice, you’re on Earth.” Everyone wants to be thought of, cared for, and loved. Everyone wants to be treated with respect and dignity. So - be nice, you’re on Earth!
Like this article? Check out my previous one on student ID photos!