When someone needs a wise word about an issue, a popular voice of reason people like to flock to is the former host of Dirty Jobs, and the current host of The Way I Heard It podcast, Mike Rowe.
But this time, Rowe seemed to be at a loss. Rowe couldn’t muster his usual humorous wit, or the necessary words that would bring everything into perspective…or so he thought he didn’t.
What Rowe did end up saying really put the great evil that was committed on Sunday night against the backdrop of a much greater good that is consistently on display whenever tragedy strikes, and it’s something that should be understood by everyone.
The question came to Rowe via his Facebook from Las Vegas resident Molly Carr, who looked to Rowe for some of the wisdom and insight he’s famous for.
“Mike – I live in Las Vegas, and I’ve seen you here often. Once, in the lobby at Mandalay Bay. We’re all shattered here, obviously. A comforting word from you would go a long way…,” wrote Carr.
Rowe responded that he wasn’t surprised he was spotted in the Mandalay Bay Hotel lobby, as he had cleaned the shark tanks in 2006, and had stayed there at least 30 times after.
“Maybe that’s why my initial thoughts about this latest tragedy were so random and strange. Even before I imagined myself in the thick of the chaos, (as I always do,) and even before I thanked God that I wasn’t, (as I don’t do enough,) I found myself wondering if I had used the same elevator as the killer,” wrote Rowe.
“Isn’t that odd?” he added.
Rowe continued pondering if he and the Las Vegas shooter had shared the same amenities in the Mandalay Bay Hotel:
As people were being murdered in the most cowardly way imaginable, by a creature I can barely think of as human, I lay in my bed at home, stunned and horrified – wondering if I had stood in the same box and pushed the same buttons as the man now destroying countless lives and families. Since I’ve ridden all the elevators at Mandalay, I determined that the answer was yes.
I then wondered if the killer and I had shared the same barstool in the lobby? Had we swam in the same pool, or chatted up the same bellman, or played a hand of blackjack at the same table? Had we slept in the same bed?
It’s not a stretch. I’ve stayed on the 32nd floor of Mandalay before. I remember looking down at the sprawling, empty space 300 feet below my window – the same sprawling space that was recently filled with thousands of people having a good time, right up until they weren’t, courtesy of a monster.
Rowe apologized to Carr, as he understood his musings about how we unknowingly rub elbows with evil on a daily basis wasn’t going to bring her any comfort. How we dine with them in restaurants, or sit next to them in theaters, wasn’t going to help her feel any better.
However, Rowe pointed out that while these people do walk among us, far greater is the number of those that stand as the antithesis to that evil.
Take comfort in men who threw themselves over other people’s children. They are no less real than the killer, and they are still with us.
Take comfort in the woman who loaded wounded strangers into her car and drove them out of harm’s way.
Take comfort in the hundreds of first responders who risk their lives every day, and the hundreds of anonymous citizens who stood in line to give their blood.
Take comfort in the fact all good people are shattered, and that you are not alone.
Rowe pointed out that while some seek to destroy our faith in the humanity, it’s the fact that there are people out there who commit selfless acts of heroism and kindness that keeps Rowe looking positively on humanity.
“There are no words, Molly, at least in my vocabulary, to bring you the comfort you seek,” confessed Rowe. “But there are people among us who restore my faith in the species, even as others seek to rob me of it. I can introduce you to those people. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my little slice of cyber space, and that’s what I can do today. The same thing I do every Tuesday.”
Rowe told Carr about Momma Ginger, a woman who leads a band of soup ladies to disaster areas in order to feed the first responders who stand up to come to the aid and rescue of those in the greatest time of need.
“It sounds like a small thing,” wrot Rowe. “It isn’t. When it comes to kindness, there are no small things. And when it comes to keeping hope alive, our first responders are the best example there is. This is the woman who takes care of them. In fact, she’s on her way to your city right now.”
“Take comfort in her,” said Rowe.