Looking back on how various individuals behaved during the run- up to, as well as the aftermath of the recent storm that hit much of the east coast of the United States, including Long Island, I am convinced that one learns far more about the true colors of individuals, elected officials, business leaders, corporations and governments, during these times and types of circumstances, than during any more ordinary periods of time. While I am grateful that the vast majority of people become even better during these challenges, unfortunately there are always a few bad apples whose behavior is at best distasteful.
1. Bravo to the many people who let people sleep in their homes, use their electric, stored some of the perishables, helped with debris removal, etc. Bravo as well especially to the tireless efforts of volunteer fire fighters, who seem to be everywhere needed in times of need. To the many caring individuals who went out of their way to check on, and offer assistance to less fortunate, we say thanks.
2. While the vast majority of stores and store owners acted responsibly, and went out of their way to provide the best service they could during trying times, we should all remember who they were, and now that things are back to normal, we should go out of our way to give our business to them. On the other hand, while most of the local gas stations acted responsibly, to those than jacked up the price of gas (within moments of the run up to the store, there were a couple in my neighborhood who raised prices twenty cents per gallon, while others in town basically maintained their prices), we should do our utmost to avoid using them now.
To the local drug store, who has been offering bottled water for four to five dollars for two dozen bottles all summer, and then in the run up to the storm, started charging nearly nine dollars, we should hesitate before using them as well. And, we should all remember the local hardware store, who has been doing business in this town for ages, to reportedly start charging about thirty dollars for pre- ordering flashlights, as well as those who started nearly extortion- type behavior for batteries (especially D batteries, which many larger flashlights use), and hesitate doing business with them.
3. We should also remember which businesses, service organizations, companies, government officials and bodies stood out, both in a positive and negative way. We should also differentiate the hard work and tireless efforts of many workers, who did the best they could, and went above and beyond, even though their company or organization was either less than forthcoming, or was not stellar in some other manner.
4. Perhaps one of the most disturbing observations was that it was the entrenched businesses, that always promote themselves as friendly alternatives to the chain stores, that were most guilty of this horrendous behavior, while the chain stores predominantly acted honorably. Some chain stores even brought in truck loads of supplies that they gave away free to those in need, in the aftermath of the storm. We owe it to them to show our appreciation!
Many qualities, traits and abilities can be trained. However, none of these are nearly as significant as integrity. During stressful times, whether or not someone or some institution has integrity, becomes obvious!