It's no secret that I take a dim view of human nature in general. Most of the time I think people are no damn good (readers of this blog excepted, of course!) and I greatly prefer the company of animals to that of humans.
Every so often, however, something happens that makes me reconsider. Yesterday afternoon I was driving down Bryan Boulevard at rush hour and noticed a couple of cars parked on the shoulder, and a large brown thing in the middle of the road. As I passed the object, I realized it was a large turtle trying to cross two lanes of heavy 55mph traffic, and that the people getting out of the cars were trying to figure out how to help the animal without getting themselves killed.
I pulled off the highway and began backing up in the breakdown lane, all the while watching the turtle. I knew that it would meet its death because of some idiot jabbering on a cell phone, or worse, because of some evil bastard (and I use the word "evil" in its fullest theological sense) who would hit the turtle on purpose. (Note--if you ever hear that someone was murdered after they deliberately harmed an animal, please tell the cops that I was at your house all day. I'll need the alibi.)
Miraculously, one driver after another, including one in a semi, swerved to miss the creature. Then, a red pickup cut across two lanes of traffic and braked to a stop. A man got out and hesitated only an instant before stepping into the nearest lane of traffic, and signaled authoritatively for cars to keep to the left lane. Having created a break in the traffic, the man dashed across the freeway, scooped up the turtle, and hauled it safely out of the road as it waved its stubby legs in the air.
The rest of the day I wondered what to conclude about humans. As a species, we are obviously capable of great evil, but what is it that made four people set aside convenience and safety to save the life of one animal? There seems to be something else at work here...