Here’s a great story taken from the brand-new Animal Activist’s Handbook about the benefits of acting respectfully even when the person you’re speaking to is behaving like a jerk.
Matt was once tabling in a crowded lobby at a large agricultural university when a dairy farmer stopped by and started yelling. Matt calmly responded to the farmer, catching the attention of a passing Joe Espinosa. Joe listened, was impressed, subsequently joined Vegan Outreach, became a vegetarian then vegan, convinced a number of friends and family to become vegetarian, and has been a leading leafletter and activist for Vegan Outreach ever since.
Can you imagine if Matt had instead yelled at the dairy farmer and reacted defensively? Perhaps Joe wouldn’t have even stopped. Perhaps he wouldn’t have heard Matt’s argument. As of this writing, Joe’s handed booklets to more than 145,000 individuals. Think about the impact of this one instance of behaving respectfully in the face of disrespect: so many people have learned the truth of modern agribusiness. One instance of respect has made a tremendous difference in the world.
I’m not even halfway through reading this handbook and—even as an activist with more than fifteen years experience—the book’s already been well worth the price of admission.