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Letter: Let’s Remember The Meaning of Community

Ours is a community of intelligent, talented, driven and successful individuals. It is a community with great pride and spirit, and one capable of deeds of charity and compassion. I see it in events such as the annual 9/11 memorial, the local breast cancer run/walk, and in everyday acts of kindness between neighbors.

Unfortunately, ours is also the community where my father-in-law witnessed a grown man purposefully push a three-year-old boy out of the way to obtain a better position in line at Dunkin’ Donuts during the Memorial Day Parade. It is the community where my then-pregnant wife fell in a wintry Raindew parking lot and bloodied her hands, only to have a shopper in a car shoo her out of the way rather than help her—the person was upset that my wife was lying down in a desirable parking spot. It is the community where cars behind me have honked angrily because I paused briefly to let another car make a left turn or allow a pedestrian to cross the street. And it is also the community where I today saw two residents nearly come to blows in the Citibank drive-through line. The person using the ATM machine was taking longer than the person behind would have liked, so the waiting customer began waving his hands and shouting. After a minute or so of this, the first customer finished his transaction, got out of his car, and walked back to confront the shouting man. Heated words were exchanged, and luckily it didn’t get physical. The first customer got back in his car and left the drive-through, while the impatient man pulled ahead, did his banking, then tore out of the lot, blowing two stop signs on Bayview Avenue.

These two men are likely local residents. For all they know, they may live three blocks from each other and just haven’t met. Both of these men could very well have families, with children who look up to them and model their behavior after their fathers’.

Certainly our current times can be trying. The economy continues to struggle. We’re led by politicians who almost universally act out of self-interest, working to further their own careers and ensure re-election, rather than creating real solutions for real problems. Plandome Road is in deplorable condition, and at times traffic makes our little town feel more like midtown Manhattan.

But I think we would all do well to remember the meaning of community. We work, play, and live together, and while we don’t have to all love each other, we can at the very least be civil to each other. A little patience, understanding, and compassion goes a long way. It should be expected from each of us.

Jason Wells