A Connectivist Story About Gratitude

Below is a story involving my son, which also serves as a text I plan to use for a future composition course where we discuss the differences between academic and creative writing…

I talked to Beny on the phone yesterday afternoon as he explained how he had slipped on the stairs walking up to his seat at the Cinepolis movie theatre in Altaria (Aguascalientes). While he was telling me the story, taking it all in stride, I could see how it might have been a little embarrassing, having this happen in a public place while celebrating the last day of school with three pals from school.  Later did I find out the whole story…

After performing a common ritual of securing soda and popcorn, Beny was walking up a poorly lit stairway before getting tripped up and losing his grip around snacks that he has come to enjoy while watching the opening credits to his favorite movies – yeah, food rarely has a chance of surviving the opening lines of any given film.  As he sat on the stairs trying to gather himself, his pals could hardly contain themselves.  The subsequent 30 seconds that it actually took to pick up after himself and move on to his assigned seat had to feel more like several minutes as slow motion seems to enjoy dragging out embarrassing moments for full effect.  For the next 10 minutes (about the time we spoke on the phone), his crew continued to recall the moment, each having a particular vantage point in recollecting what had happened.  I image it being something like a variation on a theme of the humiliated.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a perfect stranger approached Beny and his posse and went on to share a similar story of her also falling down the stairs, much in the same way that he had just experienced.  Unbeknownst to Beny, the lady had immediately posted to facebook what had happened, and within minutes the Cinepolis manager on duty had replied to the post, expressing that the boy could find her in order to get a free refill. The good Samaritan passed along the news to Beny, and well, all ended well.

This story is about gratitude more than anything else and how technology offers affordances to individuals who find fulfillment in helping someone else without thinking twice.  In this case, the end result was trivial; however, the chain of events that reached the end result remains the true lesson.  Although Beny thanked all of those involved at the time, he later never found the post in facebook so to extend his gratitude.  But by sharing his story, our “posse” gets to reflect on how empathizing with others leads to actually taking action on someone else’s behalf.

Beny has read this post and has given me permission to share his story with others.  I wasn’t sure how open he would be about me sharing his experience, but was relieved to find out that he had awarded me a 10 (an A+) for my efforts. I thought the issue might be about inaccuracies of what had transpired, my perspective, or simply not wanting to rehash what had happened, but he seemed to be especially surprised that I even had an ability to put ideas together in the form of a written text (admittedly, others may still not be convinced).  Regardless, what’s a story if it can’t be shared?  #cinepolis #gooddeeds

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