the man with the orange

Meet this man. I don’t know his name, but he changed my life completely.

I was in Adler, a Russian town on the Black Sea, and I approached a man selling small oranges. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Russian. The oranges were 1 rouble each ($0.03) and typically bought in bags. After a minute of international charades, he figured out I only wanted one orange. With a surprised look on his face, this man forced the orange in my pocket and refused to accept my money. I had the change and I knew he probably could use it more than me, so I put the money down on his table and tried to walk away. He did not accept that. He followed me down the street, gave me two more oranges and put 2 roubles in my pocket, double what I originally gave him.

That little incident is a testament to the Russian hospitality and culture I experienced for the next four months. Russians are truly amazing people with good hearts.

“So some guy gave you a free orange and three cents… Was this website really necessary?”

Well after that, everything I believed to be “Russian” was changed instantly. In my mind, the nation of 150 million people wasn’t filled with James Bond villains and angry large men anymore (I am embarrassed of what I expected).

I guess this is what I am going for here: just because we read about one person from one culture, do or say something so immoral, let’s not forget about the billions of good people that are living normal lives every day. And it’s not just Russia. Good people are the 99.99% majority of every single nation.

The crazy part is this man probably doesn’t even remember his small act of kindness, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it to the point where I started this website in his honour. Imagine the possibility if we displayed our truest self with complete kindness every single second. Yeah, we might have more crappy websites like this popping up, but the impact would create a very large, positive change.

So even though he had such a profound effect on the way I now live my life, I don’t know his name or anything about him.

This man is the founding member of thegoodpeople.

If you ever see him, let him know that I am forever grateful and I owe him two roubles.