When We See the Worst of Mother Nature, We Also See the Best and Worst of Human Nature

Hurricane Irma.jpg

The incredible outpouring of support for the victims of the recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, whose names will be retired into the history books, has been exemplary. The true humanity that we all possess rushes to the fore whenever our basic safety and survival needs are brought into question. Thanks goes to all of the first responders and the thousands of kind souls who bravely stepped into harms way to help rescue those in need.

 In contrast to this dynamic, the law of reciprocity, in the New York Times, Justin Sablich comments about a tweet that went viral earlier this week that sparked outrage over suspected price gouging by airlines of Hurricane Irma evacuees. We should not applaud this act of greed despite some rather cold-hearted arguments by dry economists. Companies who find justification in compounding insult to injury during such trials and tribulations brought on by Mother Nature should be branded for their meanness.

Employees who work for such companies are likely being forced to compromise their own good principles, such as following The Golden Rule. This creates angst and profoundly negative feelings in people who are forced to act against their will. I have written about this dynamic in my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, pointing out that employees act against their will due to fear of retribution.

It seems a shame that more companies do not take advantage of this unfortunate act of God to do the right thing for their fellow human beings, rather than default to greed as a fair response. 

Photo Credit: NASA - public domain