While I recognize that Hurricane Sandy was entirely different, I look at the pictures of the devastation at the Jersey Shore and can’t help but being reminded of September 11. This time, the massive destruction was at the hands of Mother Nature, not terrorists. But the terror and the loss are just as real. And the extreme acts of common kindness and displays of leadership are equally inspiring.
Take for example, Governor Christie. Just a week ago, he was bashing President Obama in the most partisan ways imaginable. This week, we’ve seen a Governor who has put people ahead of politics, and his state ahead of his own ego. He has allowed us to see his humanity and his emotion, and he has graciously given the President credit where credit is due. So I will do the same: Governor Christie became a leader this week, instead of a bully.
I’ve also been inspired by stories of everyday people who’ve extended themselves to strangers as flood waters took their homes ; of first responders who put themselves in danger so that others can be saved. Neighbors are knocking on each other’s doors in a way we don’t see in this generation of organized play dates and neighbors who don’t know each other’s names.
Finally, I’ve been impressed by a change in PSEG’s approach to handling massive blackouts. I don’t actually know if they are doing anything different in their process, approach or timeframes for service recovery, but they are doing a much better job in communicating their preparedness, process and progress. As a result, I feel a lot more positive about how they are doing than I have in all of the other storms where I have been among those who’ve lost power for a week. This is proof that better communications = better optics, and better reputation.
In all three of these cases, the impact comes largely from a mismatch between what I expected, and what occurred. Granted, having negative expectations that re-exceeded isn’t the highest threshold, but it is a start. What would really make my day? If the social misfits known as the cast of the Jersey Shore would take some of their notoriety, and their millions earned from selling trash TV, to restore the shore. We all expected a Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi Restore the Shore Benefit concert. Let’s see if Snooki and Pauly D step up.