A few weeks ago I asked, "Is your destination friendly?" I suggested that Tourist and Convention Bureaus need to start campaigns to encourage local citizens to be more friendly to visitors and each other. Since then, I have caught the People for Good TV commercials and they really hit the mark. Why do we need them?
Scenario Last Saturday, as I stepped into a subway car, I overhead a man ask if it was the right train to get to a particular station. It hit me. I never heard a response. I stepped back onto the platform and saw a perturbed man with a suitcase. When I confirmed that he was heading in the right direction, he was relieved. It took a few seconds. We both boarded the train in plenty of time before the doors shut.
We had an interesting conversation during which he indicated that the 5 other people he had asked for direction had ignored him.
Would it really have killed them to help a stranger even if it meant missing a train and waiting 2 - 3 minutes for the next one?
That's why People for Good commercials are so powerful. Compare the shameful scenario I described to these 2 commercials.
Being friendly and helpful requires little effort. It should be the norm. I am in Jamaica right now. As I have traveled around the world, when I tell people that I was born in Jamaica, I have been proud of the number of incidents people have shared from their visits to the island, in which people have gone out of their way to accompany them to their destination when they have asked for direction.
People for Good has a number of other initiatives including experiments in which they encouraged people to do good deeds and capture them on a webcam. Their website is worth visiting. I hope that People for Good with its stated mission spreads around the world:
....our goal is to make the world a better place, one good deed at a time.
Tourist boards and convention bureaus should embrace it. It's a refreshing change for good.