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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Give 'peeps' a chance

By SCOTT GORDON/MISSOURIAN READER
October 19, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

An award-winning community newspaperman and professional portrait photographer, Scott Gordon, and his wife, Jessi, came to Columbia in 2011 so Jessi could earn a Ph.D. at MU. Gordon is communications coordinator at The Food Bank, a hunger relief agency serving 110,000 people monthly in Boone and 31 regional counties.

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of judging people, especially generational groups.

You can usually get a pretty lively and not-so-positive discussion going with this simple phrase alone: “These kids today …” I mean, there’s plenty of evidence that today’s generation isn’t quite up to scratch compared to we mature adults … right?
Not as motivated, unreliable, self-absorbed. Grumble, grumble, ad infinitum.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so, McGee! I can give you a prime and recent example.

I have the pleasure and/or challenge of working with a lot of college journalism students who come seeking a story at The Food Bank. Often they are late, and sometimes they just don’t show up at all. This could lead one to make generalizations, you know? But beware of this trap!

Because somewhere out there on campus is Andraya.

A beaming, delightful gal who hails from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Andraya vaporized the “Uh-gee-sorry-I’m-late-but-oh-well-it’s-all-about-me” stereotype.

Andraya did more than keep her appointment. She walked the entire 32 blocks between the Mizzou campus and The Food Bank headquarters here on Vandiver Drive! Not only did she walk the whole way, she was early.

This is dedication. This is responsibility. This is duty and consideration for others. And as an old newspaper editor, I was impressed by her diligence in pursuing her story. Even to the point of walking to get it.

Here’s a tip of the hat to Andraya and all the “kids” out there who are like her! There are many, if only we with jaded eyes will see them.

To meld an old John Lennon lyric with a bit of today’s slang, we mature adults need to “give peeps a chance.”

By the way, yes — after a very nice interview, I gave her a lift back to campus. It was the least I could do. “Thank you, sir,” she said as she got out of the car. Sir. She called me "sir."

Priceless.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.