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LETTER OF THE DAY: A little kindness as we cross paths

The Confederation Trail runs along the UPEI campus in Charlottetown.
The Confederation Trail runs along the UPEI campus in Charlottetown. - Google street view image

An upsetting situation crossed my path, literally, on a recent weekend. A friend and I were out to do a long run – 19k – on a Saturday morning. With this much distance to cover, we were everywhere – trails, roads, bike paths, etc. and although we had great intentions about keeping our two-metre social distance, to be honest, it was difficult in some tighter spaces and over this length of time. 

The incident I’m referring to happened as we neared our end point, on the trail beside UPEI. We were about 18k in, and looking forward to the completion of this distance. Approaching from the opposite direction was a gentleman and a lady. As we got closer, I fell in behind my running buddy and the couple, too, fell into place single file on the opposite side of the path. I noticed that the man held a phone near his face, but with sunglasses on I couldn’t tell if he were recording us or simply voice texting into his mic. As we passed the couple, the man said, "Nice social distancing … assholes!"

We were completely taken aback. We ran a few more strides, then I turned around. I stated that that was completely uncalled for. The man called out, as he continued to walk away, that he’d be sending the video onto the police. OK … there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle every situation. First of all, this man did not know our circumstances. Perhaps we were roommates, residing in the same residence. Or immediate family members. He was absolutely correct that we were not adequately socially distancing. Absolutely. But perhaps he could have called a reminder, respectfully, as he approached and noted that we were not the required two metres apart. Instead he took the time to take out and ready his phone, to be belligerent and cowardly, as he threatened and called names after he passed us. 

This is not P.E.I. This is not the model of adult, respectful interactions that we must model. True, we should keep each other responsible … I’m afraid my running friend and I have gotten too complacent in our Saturday morning runs, and that needed to be brought our attention. We will be more mindful and purposeful in our distancing in the weeks to come, I can assure you that. But to leave a Saturday morning run, enjoying the company of others, in such a beautiful place … feeling assaulted? What a shame. We are all walking this walk and trying our best. A little kindness, a little respect, a little maturity can go a long way. Thank you for the reminder, unmasked sunglasses-wearing walker. I simply wish you had offered it another way.

Patti Davidson,

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