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You, the Solution or Problem??

May 14, 2019

By Nancy Gold, 

Being  part of the solution to a problem is up to YOU. And, it’s the right thing to do! Trust me, I’ve been there.  Be part of the solution or be part of the problem. The choice is yours to make.
Which one are you? Take this test.
Think of a situation that frustrates you. You are waiting in line at a drug store for a very long time. There is only one cashier. What do you do? Do you stand there forever doing the silent burn or do you say, “Excuse me. Is there another cashier around to help us?” That is being part of the solution. Standing there and griping, doing nothing is part of the problem.

You see a crazy man gesturing wildly on the street. Children and parents are taking their children to school. You are walking along. Do you pass him by hurriedly or do you go to a safe location and pull out your cell phone dialing 911 to tell them about the situation? (Due to personal experience I know that you do not dial 311 because all they do is refer you to 911, small pointer). This man needs to be taken some place before he hurts someone. You analyzed the situation, you made sure you were in a safe place and you notified the proper authorities. You are part of the solution. Doing nothing or calling your friend to complain about the rundown condition of NYC is being part of the problem.

One of my favorite stories that I read in the Westside Rag happened a few weeks ago. The police were chasing a robber down the street, all of them on foot. A pizza delivery man on a bicycle, Alou Bathily, saw what was happening. He gave chase, pedaling faster than the police, jumped off his bike onto the robber, knocked him down and SAT on him until the police could catch up. That is my kind of hero! See a problem and do something about it! By the way the pizza guy was new to America from Mali and here for only 2 months. Trust me, next time I walk past Dominoes on West 72nd I am giving Alou a tip for being a great New Yorker, no pizza required. 

Could something negative happen if you speak up? Yes. The cashier at the store we just talked about could get snippy with you. If she were to say something, you could always respond with “I am just trying the help everyone out here. You look overworked.” Please remember all snippiness - that is on her. Am I suggesting that you sit on robbers? Let’s be clear. I am not but there are other situations where you could be a solution.

How about holding open a store door for a mother pushing a baby carriage? How about holding the door in your building’s elevator for the person who is just behind you? How about letting the person with one grocery item go before you because you have a larger purchase?  If you are driving, how about waving the pedestrian across the street? How about picking up the glove, child’s toy, scarf that someone just dropped? Why do it? Selfishly because it makes you feel good -- unselfishly because it is the right thing to do.

There it is. You can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I prefer the latter. I hope you do too. Now it is your turn to tell me something positive that you did. Maybe you want to tell me I am wrong. That’s OK too. Just email me at:
You know the drill. I will do the response article next month, quoting you but using initials only to protect your privacy. Why? Because that’s the right thing.
Let’s continue the conversation at