Why can’t the anonymous just be left alone?

I’ve noticed a common trend recently. That is that when somebody does something nice for another, firstly it’s no longer considered ‘normal’ but makes the news and gets splashed all over the internet but secondly, that people then go out of their way to find out who the anonymous person was.

As an example, this story talks about a grave marker being removed, presumably as an act of vandalism and it being replaced by an anonymous individual.

However, rather than that being the end of the story the anonymous individual had to be not only identified but also filmed.


Why can’t those who wish to be anonymous, be left alone?

It seems to be the case with almost all of these kinds of stories. That those concerned get ‘outed’.

In some cases, they appear to not be too concerned about it. However, if you were being filmed and splashed all over the internet I suspect that you’d just make the best of it rather than be perceived as a grouch!

I just don’t understand why they can’t be left alone, though.

Surely the act in itself is what is important. The person concerned chose to be anonymous for a reason.

In some cases, I actually wonder if people are being placed in danger as a result of this need to identify such individuals.

There have been times in my life, where I lived as anonymously as I could for my own safety. If I’d helped somebody anonymously during that time and had my photo published as a result I might not be alive today.

Now, that may be an extreme example. However, there are people in legal witness protection programs, or like myself in police supported anonymity. There are others who live in situations where their actions may actually bring them difficulties and problems in their home lives.

Some people may simply just want to get on with their lives without any fuss and are just living a kind life.

Others may have more resources than others, and need to be anonymous so that they are not assaulted with demands for help from others.

What right does anybody have to breach anonymity in such circumstances? The publics’ right to know?

Their right to know what exactly?

They already know what the issue was and how somebody kindly addressed it. Isn’t that enough in itself?

A few years back the “Pay it forward” concept was very popular. There were also a book and a film by the same name. In simple terms, when somebody does something nice for you, instead of paying them back you do something nice for somebody else.

There’s actually a “Pay it forward Day” each year that originated in Australia in 2007 and has now spread to 79 countries worldwide. In 2017 the Pay it forward day will be April 28th.

In my childhood, the equivalent of Pay it forward was ‘The Water-Babies”, by Charles Kingsley, and his character Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby. In this case, the premise being that we should treat others the way that we’d like to be treated, regardless of how they treat us.

Off-hand I can think of a number of other works that all point to the same moral concept: Be kind to others.

Yet, nowhere in any of these do I find anything about taking credit and praise for doing so.

Have we become a society that simply can not do things because they’re the right thing to do, without seeking adulation for doing so?

It would seem that there are at least some people, not seeking such praise and attention by their desire to be anonymous in their actions.

Perhaps it’s time to respect their wishes and rather than seek to identify such individuals, just ‘pay it forward’.

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