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A few months back I read that Calgary surpassed Ottawa in population and became Canada’s third largest city with a population of 1.4 million people.

It’s hard to believe that when I first moved to Calgary in 1990, its population was 625,000. It was a different city then. People said hello, people who you’d never met actually said hello to you on the street, in the parks, in the malls. It seemed a friendlier place back then. There was a real sense of community – it was a city with a village feel and I felt safe, even in the wee hours of the night.

Calgary has grown quite a bit since then, having more than doubled its population. And it feels different, it feels colder somehow. People don’t say hello like they used to. They seem more caught up with their electronics; cell phones glued to the sides of their faces or held out up front while chasing down Pokémon, earbuds embedded deep into their heads while they blow by you, barely noticing you on the street, in the parks, in the malls.

People just seem to care less…

at least that’s the impression I had up until early Saturday morning when I got a call from my landlord. It turned out that my neighbor across the hall interrupted a would-be thief while he was breaking into my car. Ron, my neighbor chased him off in the early hours of the morning and called the police.

Now I’m no stranger to having my car broken into.

I mean one comes to even expect it at some level when living in a big city. Over the years and after several break-ins, I have learned not to leave anything valuable in my car, so aside from having had to put all my highway emergency items that had been strewn around the trunk of my car back into the kit, and having to clean up my car manual, a few odd cassette tapes and my vehicle upkeep and maintenance papers from the seat and floor on the passenger side of my car and put them back into my glove box, I came away from this event virtually unscathed.

No, a car break-in doesn’t really cause a ripple in my world.

What really stands out to me is that Ron, the man who lives across the hall in my apartment building, was awoken when he heard clanging and banging from his bedroom window and went out into the parking lot to investigate. And this same man, Ron had the courage and took the time to protect my property – if that isn’t a good neighbor, I don’t know what is.

Maybe Calgary really isn’t all that different from back then after all.


Thanks Ron, for reminding me that there are still good people in this world, people who care about other people, even in big cities.