Do you have the right to a poinsettia plant on your desk at work, even if your co-worker is deathly allergic?
If the only thing someone must sacrifice in life is a poinsettia at one’s work place, that one will have lived a blessed life, indeed.
Not according to some peoples’ reaction to Bell Canada’s ban of holiday poinsettias at a large Mississauga office. Six thousand employees at the Creekbank campus were warned of the ban because one of their fellow employees could have a life-threatening allergic reaction to the plant. The worker’s duties include visiting all the buildings on the campus.
Some are asking, “Is it fair to impose the needs of one on thousands of others?” Talk about a question with bias written all over it. Well, two can play that game.
To me, the more important question should be, “Is it too much to ask fellow workers to forgo a plant for the welfare of one co-worker?” Bell Canada is setting a healthy example: self-sacrifice over individual discomfort. Of course, I’m being facetious. Discomfort? Workers live without poinsettias for the other eleven months of the year! What’s one month?
The naysayers cite similar examples to belabour their point: declaring peanut-free zones and banning scented products in public buildings as infringing on their personal freedom. What next, they say?
Not to be outdone, I have examples to prove my point: that a little self-sacrifice wouldn’t permanently harm their poor poinsettia-less working day lives. I remember a seriously ill local girl who was surprised when the students from her school showed up at her residence to wish her a happy birthday. They could have stayed at school, avoiding the downer of seeing one of their peers struggle with her mortality. But the sight of that young girl’s smile alone was worth the students’ time.
And what about a young boy who lost his hair due to chemotherapy treatments? So he would feel a part of instead of different from his peers, the boys on his sports team shaved their own locks. And this was at the students’, not the teacher’s, suggestion.
Why, even this past June, six-year-old Katelyn of Red Harbour, NL donated 12 inches of her hair to Angel Hair For Kids, a program that provides wigs to financially disadvantaged children in Canada who have lost their hair due to a medical condition or treatment. With the help of family and friends, Katelyn also raised $3000 for the organization.
Probably the people who complain about a poinsettia-free work place wouldn’t get the point of these examples, as they expect others to look after themselves.
I recall years ago, one writer making the case that teeny-tiny minorities aggravate, that they should close their windows and start life anew in Inuvik and not expect the whole world to dance to their sorry little tune. Really? I say, open your own window to the real world.
Sadly the local girl I cited earlier succumbed to cancer. Those students who visited her learned a valuable lesson that day. It cost nothing to sacrifice just a little.
Myopic tirades are just that. If you don’t like the unselfish spirit displayed by Bell, why not find another job, start life anew somewhere else?
I hear Inuvik is great this time of year.
Where do one person’s rights end and another’s begin? Can you legislate compassion?
Image credit: puuikibeach/Flickr