As a teen, the song by John Lennon - Imagine - touched something deep within. I believed, as many others do, that we can create a world where "all the people (are) Living life in peace..." But, it takes work and it also takes courage to stand up against the ridiculous, the oppressive and the norm.
So, when I read the story about the 73-year old vet who was fired from Cracker Barrel because he gave some tartar sauce and a corn muffin to a homeless man, I wondered...I imagined how else this could have been handled.
According to the news reports, this was not the first time Joe Koblenzer "violated" company policy. So, let's imagine that when he first saw a needy person and offered them something from the kitchen the manager, instead of writing him up, sat and discussed the situation. What if, the manager said,"Gee, Joe, I see you really want to help the homeless people we have here in Venice. Is there something we can present to the corporate headquarters that we might be able to do to help? What do you see is the most urgent need?"
Imagine what would have happened if Cracker Barrel corporate listened to Joe's ideas and then instituted policies that perhaps gave good, unspoiled food to a nearby soup kitchen or shelter. Or, better yet, instituted a policy where homeless people could get a chit for a free meal at Cracker Barrel once a week.
The corporation wouldn't lose money...it would be a tax deduction. The homeless people would be able to have a meal with dignity, instead of shame.
I always like to imagine really big, so let's take this to an even HIGHER level. Imagine if other corporations saw what Cracker Barrel did and followed suit - giving to the communities that support their corporate coffers. What if these simple acts of kindness extended to job trainings, hirings, and security for some people? Wow! The ripple effect from one act of kindness could be far reaching.
So, did Joe Koblenzer's act of kindness ripple forward? Of course! Acts of kindness always do. We might not see the results, but they are out there.
As for Joe...he has been quoted as saying he would do it all again, because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes doing what is right means going against the rules, as any American who has studied their history knows. We would not be the USA if 241 years ago a group of Massachusetts colonists didn't board British ships and dump tea into Boston Harbor. Boarding the ships was illegal...as was dumping the tea into the harbor, but this act of civil disobedience began the revolution that created this great country...a country Joe served.
Imagine all the people...living life in peace...Imagine a world where corporations are recognized for what they are - a legal entity...a thing, not a person and where people are always held above the needs of such entities.
Here is a short video that shows how a random act of kindness can change someone's world.