Opinion

Treat People Like People

I usually write about things that aren’t very important. I mean, really, freshman parking? That’s what you’re going with, Hannah? I know it’s kind of asinine, but I figure making you laugh or leaving you slightly annoyed is better than ranting and raving to the general public and getting hate mail. I could be wrong.

Today, though, I’m going to try my hardest not to be ridiculous, because I have something important to say.

I noticed that sometimes I don’t treat people like people. That is to say, I see the person behind the cash register at Taco Bell and I don’t see a person. I see a slave to the job. I see someone I definitely don’t want to be when I grow up. I realized that I look at people this way when a friend of mine struck up a conversation with the Taco Bell lady about the color of her blouse and how lovely it was. It was a bit of a revelation to me.

Oh, yeah. She’s a real person with hopes and dreams and an impeccable taste in blouses.

Then I noticed how I generalize about people sometimes. “I hate those guys in BLUE. They’re so dumb.” Little did I realize that a lot of my friends are in BLUE, and I really don’t hate them at all, that this thing I hate isn’t BLUE, but bureaucracy, the same thing that plagues pretty much every element of our lives, including the “Threefold” at times.

At about the same time, I got bored in the serving line at the caf where I work, so I started asking people The Random Question of the Day. I noticed that sometimes, because I was scooping mashed potatoes instead of sitting across from people, they didn’t treat me like a person either. Well, whatever. I can stand that.

It’s when they forgot that my coworkers were people that I really got miffed. You know, leaving plates and cups on the table when they’re perfectly capable of taking them to the conveyor belt. Or complaining on the napkin board about things we can’t fix, like the conveyer belt being broken or having dinner in Walker Student Center. The napkin board is there for food suggestions and stuff that chefs and servers can fix, not for airing personal grievances and forgetting that people are people.

My very favorite author in the whole world once said through a character, “Sin, young man, is when you treat people as things.” My very favorite author is not Scripture, granted, but I think there is some truth in what he’s saying.

What is the second greatest commandment? Love your neighbor. And who is my neighbor? Everybody.

That lady in Taco Bell. The folks in the groups we criticize for being bureaucratic. The people in the plastic aprons in the caf’s dishroom. Those kids that act weird or look funny or speak a different language. Government officials. That’s right, I said it, government officials. You have to love him because he’s a real person that God created.

Everyone has meaning, everyone has significance, and everyone is a real person that we are commanded to love.

Remember that. Treat people like people.