Monday, September 12, 2011

Speaking of kindness

I was party to a weird event this afternoon. I was attending a panel discussion at Harvard. There were three panelists and two moderators sitting at a table in the front of the room, and the room was overcrowded, maybe 125 people with only about 100 seats. I arrived exactly at 5pm and took one of the few seats that was available at that time, which was in the first or second row, next to the end. About 10 minutes later, a few minutes after the first speaker started to speak, a quite elderly woman walked very slowly and uncomfortably from the back to the front of the room along the aisle on the opposite side. She started to seat herself on the floor in the front of the room. Everybody could see this but nobody made a move. I stood up, walked in front of the panel table across the room, and gestured to her to take my seat, which she did. I am still scratching my head over that one. If anyone else was there and thinks I missed something in the way this little scene unfolded, do correct me.

Also, here is a homily I gave at Morning Prayers last Friday, which is not unrelated this whole troubling subject.


  1. This will sound horribly unkind, and you are welcome to write me off as a bad person afterward... but I've been attending several large Harvard events a year for the last decade, and there are, by now, at least a couple elderly ladies who always come in late, seem dazed or unaware of what they've entered into, and primarily head for the free food or drinks table. Not to say they should be neglected, or not offered a gentleman's seat, but if you are familiar with these faces by now, your first instinct may not be to succor them...

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