Small towns certainly have charm. My cube mate at work is on the city council in Norwich, Kansas. Norwich is a very small rural town with a population of 551 (2000 census). According to my friend it’s a nice place to live where you still don’t have to lock your door and everybody knows everybody. Whenever he needs anything there are always neighbors willing to help. Is this goodwill unique to these small rural towns?
I read an article this evening in the Times that proves good neighbors are in big cities as well as small towns. A student in New York, Cameron Hollopeter, was having a seizure and fell onto the subway tracks.
Mr. Autrey jumped down onto the tracks and lay on top of Mr. Hollopeter, pushing into a space that was about a foot deep. Five cars traveled over the two men before the train screeched to a halt. It passed just inches above Mr. Autrey’s head, leaving grease on his knit cap.
Makes you feel good, eh? Kirsten and I have experienced that people in The Big Apple and Boston are every bit as friendly–probably more so–than the people here in Wichita. Whenever we were lost someone approached US to offer directions. It was common for people to hold a subway door for us or say hello as we walked past. Big city people seem comfortable around other people. People here often seem as though they’d like to be left alone.
Kirsten and I were surprised by the kindness of the people we met in New York and Boston. The editorial is correct about New Yorkers: “negative stereotypes about New York have never stood up to the facts.”