We all hear about what’s wrong with this world. We hear that people don’t care anymore.
But every now and then, you get a chance to see what’s right. You see something that in reality is just a small gesture, has virtually no impact on that day, something that won’t matter tomorrow or the day after. But just the same, there are moments where someone does something that lifts your spirits and leaves you with a smile.
Allow me to explain.
Wednesday afternoon, I went for a short walk to Bloomingtails Resale Store, across the street about a block from The Garden Island office on Kuhio Highway in Lihue.
As I reached the other side fronting 7-Eleven, I heard horns honking and a line of cars going nowhere in the far right, southbound lane, and wondered what the trouble was. I looked back across the street and saw a car stopped, and other vehicles with impatient drivers behind.
At first, I couldn’t see why the driver was stopped. Then I looked again and there, a few feet in front of his car, perhaps two feet from the driveway to the gas station, was a hen and several tiny chicks, pecking at what looked to be a piece of bread.
The driver of the stopped car, refusing to pass for fear he would squish a chick, debated what to do because the chicks weren’t moving away. So, he pulled his car into the gas station to the right and circled around that way.
Problem not solved.
The next driver also stopped briefly, but squeezed past on the left when there was an opening.
The next driver stopped, but couldn’t pass on the left because there was traffic flowing there again. People behind were honking their horns, but the driver refused to budge. More horns were blaring.
Finally, sensing he had no choice but to go, he honked the horn of his car and slowly inched forward. The chickens held their ground. He honked again, inched ahead again. This time, the chickens retreated enough for him to sneak past.
All is well. Not.
They quickly returned, pecking at the bread.
Next came a large, black SUV in the right lane, the driver not caring about some darn chickens, roared by them but, amazingly, didn’t hit any.
At this point, I decided I had to do something other than watch. I weaved my way across the street. The chickens had backed off to the safety of the gas station lot. A few cars stopped for me as I ran up, kicked the smashed food as best I could off the street and to the sidewalk.
By now, the hen and her chicks were headed the other direction, away from danger. They would live, at least for one other day.
A couple thoughts on all this.
Yes, the drivers who stopped for a family of chickens on a busy road, to most people, were silly and stupid, typical bleeding hearts from the mainland who don’t understand island life. There are hundreds of thousands of chickens on Kauai. No one is going to miss a few killed on Kuhio Highway on a Wednesday afternoon. Hardly anyone even notices when you do run them over. Hundreds are probably killed in just that way on this island every day. It can’t be helped.
But a few drivers saw things differently.
They saw some little chicks in front of their cars and didn’t want to hurt them. By stopping, they were saying even the seemingly pointless lives of some chickens mattered to them. They were saying they cared.
When I saw them stopping to save a chicken, I shook my head, smiled and joined them.
Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.