The kindest people on earth

H/T Balloon Juice.

Leon Logothetis, whose show “The Amazing Adventures of a Nobody” airs on Fox Reality Channel, is a Briton who travels around the world on a really, really low budget( in the US it is $5 a day). He describes his adventures roaming the US hinterland in an interview with The New York Times. An excerpt:

What’s the most stunning act of generosity you’ve received?
I arrived in Indianapolis. I’d met an old lady on the train with her husband, and they put me up in a hotel. But that wasn’t the act. I woke up the next morning and I was chatting with this younger lady who had a 1-year-old son, and it turns out that she lived in Chicago. And she said to me — and this was within the first five minutes, I’m not exaggerating — she said to me, “If you can find your way to Chicago, I will give you the only set of keys to my house. You can stay in my house. I will be back the next day. Leave the keys in the flowerpot, and you can stay in my house. There’s chili in the fridge.” At the end, when she gave me her keys, she then said to me, “So, sorry, what’s your name?”

Do you find you get more help from tourists or from locals?
In America, it was primarily locals. And in England. In Europe, it was primarily tourists. American tourists, believe it or not, they saved me so many times, to the point that I would wake up in the morning and I’d be like, “O.K. guys, we’ve gotta find some Americans.”

Americans have been the butt of jokes for the last few years as our beloved leader steered the ship onto one set of rocks after another. It has been easy for outsiders to point fingers at the US for the foreign policy bungling, the financial irresponsibility, and the political extremism. At the same time any newcomer to this nation will have a story to share about an act of kindness from a complete stranger. My first neighbors in California were the sweetest family I have ever met. Their daughters still babysit my kids occasionally. I have left my wallet behind at many, many grocery stores and restaurants and have had it returned to me every single time.

We immigrants may consider ourselves superior because of our advanced interest in math and science, but if there’s one thing we would do well to emulate, it is this spirit of community and sharing that Americans have. That is what makes this the greatest country in the world.

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