The 10 Seconds of Kindness, or rather lack thereof, came up several times this month as our team grappled with best responses to a myriad of trail behavior problems presented to us by the public. With eyebrows raised, I keep thinking, didn’t we all learn how to play nice in kindergarten? Be kind, wait your turn, say please and thank you, clean up after yourself and show respect to others, were the universal rules we discovered to be useful. And there is, perhaps, no place more important to employ these kindnesses than in the great outdoors.
In keeping with the spirit of 10 Seconds of Kindness, I’d like to point out that everybody has bad days from time to time. Maybe, just maybe, that guy in his super speedy kit blew by without smiling because he was fired that day. And maybe the lady hiking with earbuds in was escaping from some private devastation. Point is, you never know what a person is going through and none of us is perfect all the time – none of us. After all, the trails are where a lot of junk gets worked out.
So, on those days when we’re on our game, perhaps we can give a little more grace than feels natural to those who are having an “off” day. Pick up an extra poop bag, step aside even if you don’t technically have the right-of-way, and smile even when that fast guy isn’t looking. Be nicer than normal and see what happens.
Below you’ll find an article written by an “old burnout.” I have to admit that his recurrent use of a cuss word is deeply gratifying. Why? Because in many trail lovers, myself included, there lives a not-so-polished side that is satisfied with well-curated profanity when it reflects what 99% of us are thinking.
In closing, be clear: there are NO good excuses for foul trail behavior. That said, we are all part of the human family – fallible, forgetful, sometimes self-absorbed. Please join the MTF crew in taking the higher road to make the trails a safe, uplifting, positive place to be. It’ll make our job a little easier – and who knows, maybe you’ll make a friend.
See you out there!