My daughter, Melanie, and I finished lunch at Niki’s West and drove onto I-65 from Finley Avenue towards downtown.
Suddenly the car ahead started swerving side to side. Then it veered to the left, hit the concrete barricade, and reversed direction hitting us head on. By the time we made impact both cars were moving slowly and fortunately no one was hurt.
But what happened next was truly remarkable.
Several people jumped out of their vehicles at great risk to themselves to offer help.
That’s not unusual in Birmingham.
You hear stories about folks in others cities who fall down on the sidewalk and people walk around them.
We cringe when a new city or state list is published. We are typically defined as fat, poor, uneducated, and unhealthy. Our ‘go to’ line is, “Thank goodness for Mississippi.”
However, if a list were compiled of the most important attributes—the ones that really count–we would be one of the great cities in America.
We are honest
Last week Honest Tea announced the results of its honesty experiment.
Honest Tea, an organic beverage company, set up unmanned drink kiosks in cities around the country, offering their drinks for $1 each on the honor system.
Honolulu ranked as the most honest city in America and Birmingham tied for second.
We are generous
Mylife recognized Birmingham as the number one city in the United States for the percentage of income donated to charity. And our local United Way campaigns are legendary— raising more and more money every year.
We are unselfish
Who can forget our Snowmageddon last winter?
It may have been a terrible experience, but it brought out the best in Birmingham. (Atlanta embarrassed—Birmingham soars)
“Most every family in metro Birmingham has a story about a friend, neighbor, or stranger who helped them. Many churches, businesses, public offices, and private homes took in strangers–offering shelter, warmth, and food. Unselfish people in four wheelers drove up and down roads and highways picking up stranded motorists.”
We have a culture of kindness, sharing, and generosity we too often take for granted.
Birmingham is beautiful
And Birmingham is darn right gorgeous. Vistors always comment on Birmingham’s beauty.
I wake up every day and thank God I was born in America and live my life in Birmingham.
No city is perfect–all have their good and bad. Even the Garden of Eden had a snake.
Birmingham may not be the Garden of Eden—but it’s a pretty good try.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham(REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP