Saturday, 26 March 2011

Are you a rule breaker?

I am beginning to realise, having believed all my life that I was a goody goody, that I am more of a rule breaker than a rule follower. The old adage that rules were made to be broken appears to be prominent in my world.

Yesterday, as I left the place I work, I met a lady walking with her severely disabled son. She asked me if there was any way to get into the main car park next to the entrance as the main gates were locked. There is the 'one way' way out that leads to the car park she had parked in ( about 200 metres away from the building ). It turned out that she was here to collect a close friend who had fainted and she had had to park in the far car park and walk with her son.

I told her that she should drive up the wrong way to the front entrance as it was an emergency and I would look after her son while she got the car. It seemed the obvious thing to do if she couldn't get in the front gate and drive through properly. How could she manage a disabled son and a faint friend 200 metres back to her car?

As I was waiting in the foyer I was told that I had done the wrong thing. The rule was that nobody should come up that road the wrong way ( apart from all the delivery trucks I thought to myself... ) and that the gate was not actually locked, you could undo the chain. I did politely say that I thought the most important thing was for this lady to be able to access the building and that she and I didn't know the gate wasn't really locked.

I know all this sounds complicated, but do you get my gist?? The important point, to me, is that sometimes rules can be overridden in order to help people. You just need to be flexible. To give her her due the lady upholding the rules did apologise to me and say that perhaps I had been right - that it was more important that the lady could help her fainted friend than have to struggle with her handicapped son and friend 200 metres back to her car.

Maybe I am arrogant. Who am I to decide when a rule should be broken or not? Something inside me is a strong rule follower. I don't park on disabled spaces, I don't steal, I don't lie. But another part of me is consumed with the 'right thing'. Doing the right thing for people is all important, even if it means breaking the rules.Sometimes you have to look beyond the rules at the bigger picture and not be afraid to get into trouble. Sometimes rules are an easy wall to hide behind. I just think that matters are not always black and white and you have to think about the bigger picture.

Am I right? Should I take things into my own hands or should I abide by the rules, trusting in the greater authority? What about the people who think they are in the right, but break the rules in a bad way? The whole reason that gate was 'locked' in the first place was because unauthorised people were coming onto the site when they shouldn't. They had decided that that particular rule was silly. I think that my rule of thumb, if you'll pardon the pun, is that if you are not harming anyone by breaking a rule, then do it. If by breaking a rule you end up doing more good, helping someone, then do it. If you stick to the rules and that person ends up being hurt or suffering, then that surely has to be wrong?

What do you think??


Gail said...

In this instance, you were 100% correct. Thank you for helping.

There are many silly rules and laws made two hundred years ago and some have never been stricken from the law books.

If the world would abide by the Golden Rule, life would be much simpler and extremely more pleasurable.

Inkling said...

When I first read your title of this post on Farmwife's sidebar, my first response was "hell yeah, I'm a rule breaker." But then the firstborn, compliant, afraid to break a rule part of me said, "Are you sure?" I didn't know how to answer, so I just started reading your post. And I came to the conclusion that we are much alike in this way. While a huge part of me feels afraid to break a rule for what people might think of me, there is also a big part of me that doesn't care about the rules when the rule would force an unkindness on someone.

That's the reason I refused to pay the $60 parking fee that the hospital levied on me when I had to take my little boy to the emergency room and they ended up admitting us for three days with breathing issues. And when I talked to the powers that be about the ticket they put on my windshield and how I thought it was cruel to fine me, they said that they would remove the fee. (They should do away with them all together, I think, but that's a fight for another day.)

I totally would have cheered you on had I been observing you. Geez, I'm glad to know you, if only through the blog world. You are totally the kind of person I'd want in my corner.

Louise said...

To be honest I always go with my instinct, be it right or not. x