COVID-19 EXPERIENCE WHILE LOOKING THRU BARS (part 3 of series).
by Wesley R. Johnston
“Human kindness” can be found if you just look around.
People will go through life just living the best they can. Often, they only see what they have interest in. That is, they will miss things for no other reason than it is not important at that moment. In the real-world people’s lives are so full that missing the “Human kindness” around them could be understandable, maybe!
In this place when I see “Human kindness” it does stand out like a neon sign. But there are times it will be a surprise.
There is an individual here who has been in prison since 1972. He will come across as a bit grumpy, somewhat stand offish. He does not do a lot of socializing. He stays to himself and in his room. He is very well read. He can name who was in what movie and when that movie was made with close to 100% accuracy. So, unless you engage him, he will just stand there waiting quietly to go places. What he is doing is just quietly listening.
The food here is OK. It fills the empty spot when you are hungry. What I have heard on more than one occasion is someone talking about how they really like a certain meal. This person who has been in prison since 1972 will be listening. As act of “Human kindness” he will come back from the chow hall and give his meal to that person. He expects nothing in return.
Recently I was talking to a friend he and another guy had been put into a room together because DOC was temporary moving people around because of COVID-19. He was so happy that he was in with a guy who was easy to get along with. He notices that this guy had chocolate chips cookies. So as an act of “Human kindness” he purchased some. He gave them to this person. This person then informed him that he does not eat them. He instead gives them out to random people. So that is a double act of “Human kindness”.
This is not just limited to the people who live here either. The staff, if you are watching will do acts of “Human kindness” too. You have to play close attention because you will miss those.
One staff here makes it his thing to address everyone by name. He is always upbeat. He pays attention to how people are acting. If someone is acting out of how they normally are he will pick that up. He will find that person and quietly pull them aside and inquire how they are doing. He will listen with genuine interest and offer words of encouragement. And he will follow up too.
Recently because of COVID DOC has move large groups of us to different prisons here at Monroe. DOC had allowed two boxes of personal items to go with us. We were told that it would be for only14 days. But for some it was over 30 days. Some left with nothing but the clothes on their back. When some staff had heard of this they went and got those items. They then personally delivered those items to the person at the different prison.
Life out there can be moving very fast. It is easy to just get caught up in what you are doing and not look up from that phone. How hard would it be to just look up and see the world around you? I bet those acts of “Human kindness” are there. If they can happen in here, surely, they are happening out there too.
Wesley R. Johnston
779084 / D-607-1
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272
Wesley Johnston. 779084