The SeeClickFix team got a bit of praise today from the New Haven Independent for its innovative response to a "personal" problem. We have a bus stop at our doorstep. That's awesome because we don't have to go far to take the bus. Its not awesome because it means that we can not exit out building many days without pushing people out of our exit. It creates tension and stress in a place where its least needed...at the entrance to work.
We thought of many resolutions to the problem including requesting a bus shelter from the city, putting up signs on the door to ask folks to not block the exit, to actually moving the office entirely. As the first two solutions have yet to be effective and the third solution (running from the problem) is not in our DNA we opted for a fourth suggested by our good Alderman, the Honorable Doug Hausladen. Why not use SeeClickFix to crowd fund a seat for our friends at the bus stop he asked? Also, why not buy the seat from local retailer Chairigami ?
And so we ventured forth to purchase a cardboard bench for the bus stop. 5 SeeClickFix users donated to the bench almost immediately, validating a model of civic fund raising as well as creating an immediate solution to a real problem. We put the bench on the street the next day and left a marker on it with a note reading, "What are you waiting for?" Within four hours the bench was decorated with messages of encouragement, rest in peace scrawlings and the occasional "I love you dad."
I have had the most enjoyable interactions with folks as I bring the bench in and out every evening The most recent one occurred a few hours ago with a girl who also just lost her father as documented by her scrawling on the bench. What once was a place of friction and tension for me and others coming and going from our office has become a place of positive social interaction. The bench is more than just a seat, its a platform for connecting and working together as neighbors to solve problems through kindness.
The New Haven Independent covers the evolving narrative here.
And if you're inspired you can donate to bench number two here: