Throughout history, the term Good Samaritan has been associated with the idea of helping a stranger or doing a good deed for someone, especially a person who can’t necessarily pay it back. And that’s what National Good Samaritan Day is all about!
History of National Good Samaritan Day
The history of National Good Samaritan Day can be traced back around 2,000 years to a parable that was told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. It tells the story of a traveler (presumed to be Jewish) who is attacked and left on the side of the road. After two different “righteous” or “religious” men passed by and did not help, a Samaritan finally stopped. At this time, Samaritans and Jewish people would have been sworn enemies, but this particular person still took pity on the man and went far out of his way to help.
Although the story has roots in Christian tradition, the concept of being a Good Samaritan transcends all religious and racial boundaries. It reminds everyone that humans are humans and, as such, deserve the honor and dignity of assistance and help – even when it might be inconvenient.
National Good Samaritan Day is observed on this day in honor of a woman named Catherine “Kitty” Genovese. On March 13, 1964, Genovese was murdered near her New York City home and, although more than 30 people saw something or heard her screams, no one stepped forward to help or call the police.
The purpose behind National Good Samaritan Day is to encourage community and mutual support. The hope is that more people will pay attention and intervene when someone is in need, not only on this day but all throughout the year!
How to Celebrate National Good Samaritan Day
Every day is a great day to be helpful but National Good Samaritan Day offers a special opportunity and focus. Try out some of these ideas for celebrating the day:
Develop a Habit of Kindness
People who live each day expectantly looking to help someone in need are definitely celebrating National Good Samaritan Day all the time! Consider this event as a reminder to live out of compassion and kindness, showing help and support for others whenever possible. From smiling more to being patient when someone cuts in line, from sharing generously to practicing forgiveness, a habit of kindness can manifest itself in all sorts of ways.
Thank a Good Samaritan
Those who have ever been helped by someone when they were in need know what a difference it can make, whether it just makes the day a bit happier or truly saves a life. Spend some time on Good Samaritan Day thinking about ways that other people in life have been helpful and perhaps reach out to remind them what a difference they made!
Read About the Good Samaritan
Those who are interested in learning more about the history of where this story came from might want to read it in honor of National Good Samaritan Day. Perhaps do some online research to find out more about the cultural context and consider the ways some people used racism and discrimination to avoid being kind to another human.