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When hand sanitiser wipes away hate

Sometimes the extraordinary comes out of the ordinary – we are living in those times right now. Take this example: Recently on the New York subway a group of passengers found themselves sitting and standing in a carriage graffitied everywhere in black pen with swastikas. Along with the catchy little slogan, “Jews belong in the oven.” One wise commuter said, “Hand sanitiser gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol.” At which point the commuters whipped out their mini bottles of hand sanitiser (and, possibly, their hip flasks – whatever gets you through the journey) and tissues and got scrubbing. Soon the swastikas and slogans were obliterated. For now.

“I’ve never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel. Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone,” wrote passenger Gregory Locke in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. We all carry sanitiser these days – it’s no longer the preserve of doctors and Michael Jacksons. It’s no longer a sign of OCD insanity but rather daily sanity-ising. And who doesn’t have something resembling a tissue stuffed into a pocket/bag/bra/sleeve? And isn’t it heartening that sometimes the collective use of a wipe and some hand gel can obliterate an evil in two minutes?

Or at least attempt to. Obviously the hideousness of the initial action remains. But what is clear is that the resistance is real. There are those who will not stand for it on their doorstep. Some who won’t turn the other cheek but will rather roll up their sleeves.

Remember that you have power. In your handbag. But you already knew that.

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