Is Trusting Humans Naive, or is it Necessary?

Kristi Keller

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Is it naive to think that we can or should trust the average person with the way the world is currently? Or is it absolutely necessary to give each person the benefit of the doubt with the hope that we are all good people on the inside?

I have an overwhelming amount of compassion for human beings in general. Maybe the reason I have so much compassion for others is that I wish others would have had compassion for me over the years.

I’ve gone through the wringer about 749 times in my life but I’m still not dead nor in a straight-jacket, which means I’m able to take on more, so I do. Even if it’s not mine to take on.

For the most part, erring on the side of trust has been greatly rewarding. I don’t know if most people would pull this same stunt I’m about to share, and in fact, I can think off the top of my head of certain friends who would read this and say, “Screw that! I’d never do what you did!”

I have visited plenty of prisons in the past decade and I recall a particular time when I was called on to go above and beyond after a prison visit one night.

Looking back on it, with the number of people who go missing and turn up dead in ditches, this probably wasn’t the brightest thing I’ve ever done. Right now the thought, “Be nice or die trying” is floating around in my head while thinking back on this event.

Anyway, as I was leaving the local remand center one night, a man who had just been released from spending the weekend locked up, asked me for a really big favor. He asked me for a ride home.

This remand center is located in the far northwest suburbs of the city and the nearest place to catch a bus is a long, dark walk down a country road. And it was winter.

Not my problem, right?

At first, I was baffled that he thought a solo female would even entertain the idea. I was even more baffled when he told me where he lived, which was clean across the city. I could be home from the remand center in five minutes so what he was asking was pretty outlandish for more than one reason.

The man offered me sixty dollars for the ride and I knew a taxi to his end of town would cost him much more than that. So I decided to first ask him WHY he was locked up to begin with.

I never laughed so hard when he answered.

He had a neighbor who consistently let her dog do its business in his yard where his five-year-old child played. He repeatedly asked her to stop letting her dog do this, for the sake of his child. He then told me it became a game and the lady with the dog kept doing it just to tick him off.

So one night he’d had enough and he sought revenge. He peed all over her barbecue….in the winter….and it froze.

He also told me that the arresting officer laughed about it and really didn’t want to arrest him but it was procedure, so of course, he had to do his job.

After hearing his story, I invited the man into my car, we drove to the ATM at 7-Eleven, he bought me a cup of coffee and gave me the sixty dollars along with his business card.

We drove across the city and I dropped him off at his very nice home. Turns out he owns his own contracting company.

I never did contact him again after that night but I’m pretty sure that just as I’m telling this story, I guarantee that he has told the story of the woman who had the guts to do a favor for a stranger in a prison parking lot.

Throughout life, I’ve been greatly rewarded simply because I have an innate ability to trust in people.

As an avid traveler, I’m pretty sure I would have failed miserably if I didn’t trust anyone. You can’t just get off a plane, rent a car, and pretend to know what you’re doing and where you’re going in a foreign country!

I sometimes look back and shake my own head at the risks I’ve taken along the way but because trusting strangers has worked out for the most part, I’ll keep on looking for the best in people because THAT is necessary.

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I'm an old school travel writer who's been flung into another writing world through life experience. I have a compassionate eye, a different opinion, and strong words for this world we live in. I also know a thing or two.

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