You're Never Too Important to Show Kindness
Updated: Oct 26, 2019
I was debating whether I should write on this subject now or wait until I’ve established this blog with a few more entries. Then again, there’s never a better time than now to emphasize the importance of kindness and understanding towards other people. Whether it’s online and especially in person. Of course I’ll base this within the amusement park and roller coaster enthusiast community considering the theme of this blog. But this can be applied across all facets of life. Some life lessons from a middle-aged man if you will.
We’ve all heard someone say it or read someone’s social media comment. Most times it’s laced with an opinion that can come across as condescending and downright degrading. Or it's some know-it-all launching into a diatribe about the GP (general public). When those words come out, the recipient(s) immediately cringe and recoil with the onslaught that is to follow. If there was ever a phrase that could start an online pissing match, it would be this one.
Even typing those words makes my skin crawl now. In my younger days, I wanted nothing more than to be right; my opinion was the end-all-be-all. If you were wrong about a subject, I was surely going to let you know about it. But my intentions, or so I thought, were not meant to be demeaning in any way. Surely people want to be corrected if they were misinformed, right?! Oh, could I have never been so wrong. My eight year-old son is learning this lesson even now.
Most of you reading this are here because you’re following my Iron Gwazi updates or have a general interest in roller coasters and theme park industry. I absolutely love sharing my Iron Gwazi construction updates and watching everybody’s excitement build as we get closer to it’s opening. By their very design and intent, amusement parks and their rides are meant to be an escape from the every-day monotony of life; a place to relax and have fun! We all have our favorite parks and favorite types of rides. There’s the coaster credit counters, lap counters, and those who just ride and have fun. Personally, I’m the latter. Absolutely no disrespect for those of you who do count. If there’s one thing about this coaster and park world is that it attracts so many people from different backgrounds. Unfortunately, with that can come some pretty nasty comments from people whose views and opinions don’t line up and completely take the fun out of everything.
"If you don't have a parking space with your
name on it, you ARE the GP"
Look, I get it. You go to your home park 6 out of 7 days in the week and you’ve had season passes since you could walk. You may even moderate a Facebook group or message board about that park. There’s a pretty good chance you know quite a bit of valuable information and all the tips and tricks that go along with visiting. Then, you come across someone who’s never visited and has what seems like in your opinion, a very tedious and dumb question. One that’s probably been answered numerous times before. How do you respond? Do you get so riled up at the very notion of them asking it and respond with annoyance? Or do you answer with the helpfulness of a long-time park goer? Even worse, are you an employee of a park and talk negatively online about park guests? Side note: I once read a quote that said something along these lines, "It doesn't matter how big of an enthusiast you are. If you don't have a parking space with your name on it, then according to the parks, you ARE the GP."
There’s really enough nastiness in the world today to bring more into it. Especially something that’s meant by it’s very nature to be fun. Your behavior and the things you say online will most certainly follow you into the real world. People will form opinions about you, even if they’ve never met you. With the way a lot of enthusiasts travel to parks outside of their area, there’s a really good chance you may meet someone you’ve trade words with. With that, try to make it a point to respond with kindness and understanding to people. Maybe say nothing at all. Even if what they say is absolutely wrong or are themselves being argumentative and nasty. Don’t perpetuate it.
I’m not saying all of this like we all need to hold hands in a circle and sing a song together. It’s unrealistic to think everybody will agree and get along. It IS realistic to believe that people can just be decent human beings to one another. It does not matter how big your YouTube channel is, how many Instagram followers you have, how big your coaster count is, or how many Facebook likes you get… you are NEVER too big or too important for kindness.