I had passed the documentary ‘Craigslist Joe’ on Netflix a dozen times before. It was a lazy Netflix Saturday and I was unsure of what to watch. In my normal habit, I started watching the documentary and decided to give it ten minutes to draw me in. If it wouldn’t, I would settle and watch one of Jason’s wrestling docs. Luckily for me, Craigslist Joe was a worthy choice.
The film follows a 29-year-old Californian Joseph Garner as he takes on a task that many would label impossible, dangerous or just down right stupid. Garner embarked on a 31 day, December long trek across the United States with no money, no contacts. He was equipped with just will power, a trusting heart and Craigslist.
In a whirlwind of strange meals and even stranger encounters, Joe learns many lessons about the dynamic duo; the internet and an open mind. He searched the many site categories, spending days volunteering and accompanying strangers on road trips.
I took something from Craigslist Joe as well.
We see it every day from every outlet; violence, lies, extortion, poverty and scandal. It often seems that there is no way to escape it and no one left to trust. But despite the negative bombardment from the media, I can’t help but always want to see the good in people especially in myself, as selfish as that may sound. We never look at ourselves as the bad guy. There is always a mysterious outsider committing the crimes and doing wrong to others. But maybe, in more way than one, we are villains.
We have become fear villains that commit the crimes of judgment, closed-mindedness and assumption. We brand our neighbors untrustworthy. We stick to mundane experiences because we are frozen in the dread that someone will snap and we will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was reminded once again that we are far more alike than we are different. If we are open minded, keen and outgoing, we can see the natural connectedness that exists between ourselves and our larger global communities. Craigslist Joe reignites a faith in humanity and in a universal goodness.
Great watch, great message.