When I was living in Berlin with my husband and two small children, twice a day, every day, I made the long trek to my son's kindergarten. The journey took 20 minutes of walking, two underground trains, and two notoriously out of service elevators.
One day, as we disembarked the underground train, I pushed my double stroller, complete with infant and toddler, forward toward the platform. As I dropped the front down to meet the concrete slab, the smaller front wheels became lodged between the platform and the train. I tried to free them but it wasn't happening. The buzzer began to sound, indicating that the train would leave imminently and I thought the worst. I began yelling, "Stop!" and "Help!" An older German man rushed up and began to fidget with the front of the stroller attempting to pry the wheels free. We worked together twisting and pulling, finally getting my wheels unstuck and onto the platform before the doors closed and the train drove away. I was in tears and I hugged this angel stranger.
As I continued to thank him, he noticed my heavy accent and asked where I was from. When I told him USA, he responded with great joy, "Then I am glad!" It was an emotional event for both of us and I couldn't help imagine that perhaps he was part of a generation that felt gratitude for how the USA helped the German people after World War II. I choose to believe that because he was given hope, and help, during a dark time, he became softer, more willing to help, even if he hadn't realized I was American.
Generosity begets generosity. I think about this when I consider the refugee crisis; when I think about the world decades from now, when my children are adults; when I think of a careless metaphor bounding around Twitter meant to describe human life: I can't help wondering, what will that so called bowl of candy look like in the future if we don't help? What will it look like if we do?
With a Perspective, I'm Amy Cole-Farrell.