Empathy Self-Intervention: Aidan Caplan

On the first day of summer break following my junior year of high school, I rode the city bus home and during the ride I ended up having a conversation with older man sitting nearby.  He opened himself up to me, describing how he had been homeless for years, struggling to continue but pushing forward.  I even learned about his upbringing, growing up Latino in a poverty-ridden area.  We talked about how public transport should be free, how unfair it was that the people who needed it the most couldn’t afford it.  The bus ride flew by, and once it was over,  I was forced to really step back and contemplate how I’ve regarded homeless people in the past; when I would pass them in public I would pretend like they weren’t even there, and I’m ashamed of that now because it’s important to recognize that they are human too, and have opinions and intelligence and are worthy of respect. Talking to him let me step off my high horse and come to a more complete understanding of the value of human life, and the importance of treating everyone as equals so that society can follow suit.

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