Three weeks ago marked my first day as a creative intern at Travers Collins. The internship came about as a result of my own research and sparked interest in the advertising/public relations realm this past summer. From there it was a few emails, a phone call, a recommendation from my supervisor at my past internship, an interview, and wham, it was September 7 and I was in my cubicle at Travers Collins sipping on coffee and enjoying my first assignment. Life was good, but my feet hurt.
After catching the 8:05 train to the Seneca stop in downtown Buffalo, my commute to work was less than half over. Next, I had a daunting, slightly less than two-mile walk to the fifth floor of the Larkin Building at 726 Exchange Street. College is expensive and has been waging a war with my savings account for over three years now, which has unfortunately left me without a car or bike or mule to get me from A to B. My thoughts were on the weather. Luckily, it was a nice day and the sun only asked for a little perspiration as a price for my travel. But naturally, being from Buffalo, my mind wandered to the December commute. I pictured myself in Eskimo attire scaling icebergs on the sidewalk, constantly on the lookout for a Polar Bear (I’m incredibly over dramatic at times).
However, this will never be the case, and not just because there hasn’t been a Polar Bear sighting on Exchange Street (that I’m aware of). Instead, it is because of the natural kindness of an NFTA employee who never disclosed his name. After seeing him idle at a rest stop with no passengers on his bus, I followed the advice of my current supervisor and asked him if there existed a bus route that would take me somewhere close to the Larkin Building. He didn’t know of the proper route off-hand, but instead offered to take me right to the front door, as he still had some time in-between his next run through bustling Buffalo. After swiping my NFTA pass, we talked like we were old friends and he said that he had no problem taking me every morning that I worked. I thought about how my feet would never be sore at my desk again because of this man, and how humanity really can keep you on your toes and surprise you with its mysterious manifestations of personified kindness.
The whole experience reminded me of the Liberty Mutual commercials, which feature separate chains of good deeds.
Liberty Mutual’s campaign highlighted common people in everyday situations that performed some sort of selfless act, which was seen by an onlooker, who then went on to “pay it forward” with another random act of kindness. It occurred to me that their advertisement was real, and people really do look out for one another in such an unpredictable world.
After thanking him and waving goodbye before stepping in the building, I was sure to hold the door for the nice woman behind me, who was struggling with her coffee and pad folio. I like to think that later that day she helped a blind man in a wheelchair cross a busy intersection, and that a witness of that act later helped an orphan find a family (it would totally be sufficient if she just held the elevator door for someone scrambling to get to work on time, though). I guess I’ll never know for sure, but now I’m a believer. That’s good advertising that promotes positivity within society, and though I’m not in the insurance market yet, Liberty Mutual is certainly (and perhaps irrationally) at the top of my list.
Getting off the subway the next day, the faithful driver was sitting in his bus at the rest stop. I looked at him inquisitively and he waved me over to catch a ride with him. I hope he understands the positive ripple he created. People are good, I thought to myself.