Last night I was watching The Amazing Race on CBS. Have you seen this show? It’s one of the better reality shows on TV. Very entertaining and pretty morally clean.
Last night I was struck by two conflicting attitudes and ways of life on the show, and it revolved around a taxi.
Colin is a guy who is a tough competitor with a very short temper. If he’s not in control of something, and not in the lead, his whole world is rocky. He can’t rest until he’s back in control or in the lead again. The problem is he expects everyone else to comply. He took a taxi that cost $100 for the trip. While on the trip, they had a flat tire. Turned out the tire was the spare. Collin went through the roof. Luckily for him another competitor was behind them and pulled over to help. He demanded their spare tire and never thanked them. Later he decided he didn’t want to pay $100. He’d “pay $50 or nothing”. He was a jerk to his teammate, a jerk to the taxi driver, a jerk to the police that ended up being involved. He finally paid the $100.
Chip is a guy who is a tough competitor with a happy outlook in life. He tries to look out for others, is really nice, and is still competing very well. He took a taxi at a different stage in the game not knowing how much it would cost. As they were traveling he realized he didn’t have enough money (because earlier he gave a tip to a guy for good service). You could tell he was stressed in the car because he knew he couldn’t cover the bill. When they got out of the car, he humbly came to the driver and explained he didn’t have enough. He gave him a hug, showed he truly was sorry, and the driver let him go although he paid $10 less than he should have.
It was a tale of two taxis. One taxi ride showed us just how bad a human can act. The other taxi showed us just how good a human can act. One was a taxi of justice. One was a taxi of mercy.
If I had to pick one to be my friend, I’d choose mercy.