Start 2018 with kindness

A new year is upon us and, with it, comes hopes, dreams and resolutions for the next 12 months.

For many, the biggest hope was to leave behind a tumultuous 2017 and look towards a kinder, more benevolent 2018.

After tragedy struck last Tuesday (Jan. 2), Sea to Sky residents helped us move towards that future. That evening, a horrific head-on collision occurred between Squamish and Whistler, near the Cheekeye River Bridge.

Two men were killed and several other people were injured. The highway was closed in both directions for around seven hours, leaving travellers stranded until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

While the accident was heartbreaking, the outpouring on social media almost immediately afterwards was uplifting. Locals turned to Facebook pages like Sea to Sky Road Conditions (which reportedly saw its membership spike by 1,000 people that night), to offer stranded travellers a place to stay or warm up for a few hours. Fergie’s Café, located down Squamish Valley Road, even re-opened to offer free coffee, a fire and couches for stranded travellers.

“I have an extra bed, couch and air mattress,” wrote one Squamish resident.

“If anyone needs to turn back to Whistler, let me know,” wrote a Whistlerite. “Pull out couches… and coffee in the morning!”

Those were just two of many.

We might never know how many people actually took up these offers, but it was certainly inspiring to see how quickly and readily locals opened up their doors to complete strangers in need.

Hopefully these devastating fatalities will be the first and last on the highway this year. But certainly there will be other situations in which we can apply some of the kindness that was on display that night.

It doesn’t need to be strictly in crisis situations. We can bring kindness into our daily interactions too — whether it’s when we’re stuck behind a slow-moving car, dealing with an overworked retail employee or even when we’re thinking about airing frustrations on social media.

While switching into kindness mode during tragedy is valuable, applying that same concept to everyday life could be even more impactful to your community. It’s a goal we should all have for 2018: to help others, jump into action and treat complete strangers the way we would our friends.

Thanks to those corridor residents for that lesson. 

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