As I approached the sliding doors to my workplace this morning, I noticed a small bird sitting motionless in front of a bench to the right of the entrance. Something didn’t seem quite right, so I stopped and watched it for a minute. I’m not sure what kind of bird it was-small, fluffy, yellow beak…It looked fine but it seemed paralyzed. I stepped a little closer to see if it would move out of the way. It didn’t. I tried moving on the the other side. Nothing. It didn’t even seem to track me with its eyes. I surmised that it had flown into the window and was stunned but it looked capable of flight otherwise. I left the bird and went in to work assuming it would soon fly away.
Not long after, my colleague came running by and said,”There’s a hurt bird out there!” She rummaged around looking for a box, found one, and rushed off again. Then I heard a commotion outside my office window. Several of my colleagues were outside consulting on the best next steps. Alerted by a hotel guest that a little bird was hurt, they had all dropped everything and pitched in to relocate the bird away from foot traffic. Every so often, over the next half hour, a colleague would come peek out my window to check on the bird. They googled “how to help a hurt bird”. They called the Audubon Society. All of this concern caused me to think two things:
- I work with a really empathetic, kind group of people. I appreciate this so much because I’ve also worked with people who would have set a cat loose in the bird’s general vicinity.
- Apparently, I have more in common with the cat people.
I thought that bird was fine. No one else did. I thought I showed a fair amount of concern. Everyone else was more concerned. It’s an uncomfortable feeling knowing that what you thought was true about yourself might not be true after all. Maybe….I’m not that nice.
It reminds me of the conundrum of average intelligence. Average intelligence means that most of the population falls in an average range with about half the population on the lower end and about half on the higher end. I’ll bet, though, if you took a poll of a cross section of the population, that most people feel they are above average. I guess we all need to think well of ourselves. But back to my story.
Within an hour, that bird flew off into a tree and out of our lives. My colleagues all felt good about themselves for helping him. I felt smarter than average.