If anyone ever tries to tell you that immigration is destroying Western civilisation, you might want to show them this blog post. I’m not just saying this because the extra publicity would be nice, although that is true. I’m saying it because I have solid evidence for the contrary.
Jarred and I were having a picnic in the local park, making the most of the rarely-seen sunshine, which was beginning to sink below the rooftops of the inner-city buildings. The warmth remained, however, broken only by the light breeze that fluttered past every few minutes. I was relaxed enough to find the old wooden bench we were perched on comfortable.
It being such a pleasant evening, the park was full of many people of different races and ages, the majority of which were enjoying a picnic similar to my own. There were even two girls with blonde pigtails and pink dresses running around with a puppy that is a Hollywood cliché for all that is good and innocent, although just the puppy would have been fine by me. There was also an elderly man walking alone, balancing precariously with two walking sticks, who settled himself on the freshly cut grass that was making my hay-fever go haywire.
We ate slowly, partly to relish in the summer sun, but also because we were having to keep the pigeons at bay, who seemed particularly interested in our picnic. Towards the end of our meal, I noticed that the elderly man was struggling to haul himself back to his feet, and I waited expectantly for the English family sat on the bench next to him to help. They continued to watch from the side lines, and just as I was about to nudge Jarred and ask him to go over and help instead, I saw that three teenagers were making their way over to the man, having already spotted his predicament. The two boys took an elbow each and lifted him gently to his feet, while the girl bent down to collect his walking sticks and picnic bag, hooking the bag over one handle so it could be carried with ease. The old man thanked them before hobbling slowly away, and the teenagers returned to their picnic bench, presumably discussing what had just taken place. I didn’t know exactly what they were talking about because I lack the ability to speak multiple languages, while these teenagers appeared to have a strong grasp of both English and their native Eastern European tongue, with only a mild accent distorting their exemplary English skills.
It struck me afterwards that the three teenagers had helped someone belonging to a generation that was stereotypically derogatory to immigrants, and not only had they had the compassion to help someone in need, but they had also put aside those differences to do the right thing. It’s quite possible that those differences didn’t even cross their minds, as they clearly wanted to help.
Immigrants are not bad people. I mean, what will become of those teenagers? Just think of the utter madness caused when they go on to obtain a good education or job, support community initiatives, and forge meaningful relationships with those around them. Immigrants face the same low level discrimination experienced by those with disabilities, whether intended or otherwise, and we both end-up facing similar setbacks on a daily basis. Perhaps that is why there is an unspoken, mutual respect between both groups, as has been my experience.