“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
I got home last night to the devastating news of terror attacks in Paris, claiming the lives of 120 people and injuring many more. The city has been devastated and the rest of the world has looked on in disbelief. I was stuck to my screen for hours watching the same footage replayed, perhaps hoping that someone would come on air to say it was all a mistake and that beautiful Paris and its warm, brilliant inhabitants were safe.
Two things that emerged almost immediately on Twitter were the #PorteOuverte hashtag – Parisians offering their homes to anyone who was in need by tweeting out information; and taxi drivers turning off their metres, staying around to drive people to safety.
People kicking holes in the darkness until it started to bleed light. Humanity, again.
I love that they were responses that were opposite to the attacks – they brought home, safety, togetherness, generosity, creativity, peace. What else can we bring to the table now that paints a different picture to the one we saw last night?
Interestingly, both of these things also had a digital element to them. In the new digital world we inhabit, how can we use the tools and platforms we have to change the narrative and bring safety, togetherness, generosity to each other?
Finally, taxi drivers have taxis and people who live in Paris have homes. They acted with what they have already. What do you have that might help as we strive to tell a different story?
Look for the helpers. Be a helper.