Only in Oak Bay.
That’s been the reaction to the random act of kindness performed by a group of Oak Bay residents recently.
Mayor Nils Jensen was shocked by the personal welcome wagon that greeted him during his regular Saturday morning office hours. Instead of the usual resident wishing to discuss issues, he was surprised by a group bearing gifts and praise. Jensen was so overwhelmed that he saved many of the treats and relived the event with council and members of the public at the following Monday’s council meeting. As he pulled cookies and jam from his pockets he described the wonderful feeling the visit left with him.
Jensen himself has taken on the job of welcoming newcomers to the community, following in the steps of former mayor Christopher Causten, so he knows what it’s like to make others feel welcome.
Oak Bay has proven in many ways that it’s a friendly place and the personal welcome from the mayor is a unique tradition that will probably live on into the future.
But residents taking the time out of their day to welcome the mayor? That’s got to be a first.
While it started out as a bit of a joke among a group of friends, the idea turned into something that we should all attempt to emulate to a degree.
People can be quick to grab a comment card to complain when the cashier at the grocery store has been less than friendly. We gripe to our friends about the high prices at the pump, while neglecting to thank the person who fills our tank. We curse the driver who cuts us off, but don’t give a friendly wave of thanks to the one who allows us to merge easily.
What a shame it is that we are far more likely to complain than to compliment.
Sitting in the mayor’s chair, on council, the school board, or other elected position is not always an easy task; and at the municipal level, it can be largely thankless.
So while you may not agree with the mayor’s politics, or every decision that he makes, before you flash him the figurative finger or curse a council decision, take the time to think twice about the fact that our elected officials are our neighbours, too – and don’t forget to say thanks once in a while.