By now, your view must be one of the over 102 million views that made this uploaded video a viral hit. It’s a video that every public relation and marketing expert dread — a nightmare that is very hard to untangle.
Watched by people all over the world and growing massively in popularity, it is a clip that swiftly undone years of marketing and advertising work putting to waste millions of dollars spent to establish and maintain a respectable brand.
If you don’t know which video I am talking about — it’s of a fast food chain located in Myrtle Beach, Florida in the United States. This chain is very popular even here in the Sultanate. What the video shows is a homeless guy of which his food was paid for by a good Samaritan. Instead of giving him space inside the fast food chain to enjoy his meal, the manager of the place called the police to have the homeless guy removed from the property because he was ‘trespassing.’
From Australia, to Asia, to as far as Central America and even here in the Middle East, the reactions were the same — disgust.
How could something, a family-oriented brand, have people acting so inhumanely towards someone who has so little? What kind of a world have we been living in if we can’t even treat with respect the lowest of us in financial scale?
How many videos have we seen like this that make us feel so powerless and so ashamed to be human beings? Or if we see videos like this, do we still feel anything at all? Or have the times and the propensity for these inhumanity has gotten us so jaded we don’t care anymore?
We are all now living in a world where everything has become about us vs them. Whichever aspect it is, whether its race, religion, social status, culture or gender, the times have brought the worst of humanity at the forefront with social media delivering all the juiciest misconducts right in the palm of our hands. And most of the time, for many of us, we watch feeling so helpless and thus do nothing.
But there is something that we can do. While these two people in the video are doing their worst as human beings, we can learn a lesson from them and do better. Let their act of inhumanity serve you well and remind you how to act differently.
And we can all start in our homes and our workplaces.
One of the newest Arabic words I’ve come to learn is Jamila, which means beautiful. Today, I use jamila for positive reinforcement. I say it to someone who is having a bad day or have done a gone job, not to trick them, but to remind them of their inner strength and their own beauty as human beings. For several which I gave this compliment to, it usually turns their day around.
In my years working in print and digital media, I’ve believed in the power of words. They can make or break a person. They can build one up or destroy a person to nothing.
‘The pen is mightier than a sword’ is a motto I’ve come to love since I was in middle school and in the digital world today, people break each other down with harsh words and demeaning comments. Words can either fuel the fire of hatred or pave the way for better communication promoting better understanding among people coming from different background and are subscribed to different thought ideologies.
How does this relate to the video I was talking about? Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
If all of us pay attention to what we say, and we are kinder with our words and kinder with each other, then maybe we will all restore what we are seemingly losing in this fast-paced world — our humanity. But we have to start now.