National Good Samaritan Day, also known as Good Samaritan Involvement Day, is celebrated on March 13 every year. It’s a day to celebrate and encourage kindness and selflessness, despite our differences. The phrase ‘Good Samaritan’ is based on a Biblical parable. The day also commemorates the death of Catherine (Kitty) Genovese, who was killed in New York, a little distance from her own home. It is believed that Kitty would have lived if others had intervened during the attack. On this day, we’re reminded to be our brother’s keeper in all circumstances.
History of National Good Samaritan Day
The term ‘Good Samaritan’ has its origins in a Biblical story, being one of the parables told by Jesus. When asked by a religious leader, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with this parable, which can be found in ‘Luke Chapter 10,’ from the 30th to the 37th verse. A Jewish man was traveling from the city of Jerusalem down to Jericho. On his way, robbers attacked him, stole his clothes, and left him half-dead on the side of the road.
A priest and a temple assistant came along, saw the injured man, and walked on by without offering help. Then came a Samaritan.
Samaritans were a class of people living in the northern part of the Kingdom of Israel during Biblical times. There was much animosity between the Jews and Samaritans, to the point that the two groups wouldn’t so much as speak to each other or pass through each other’s towns.
In the story, a despised Samaritan came upon the injured man and felt compassion for him. He bound up his wounds, put the man on his donkey, and took him to an inn, where he went even further by taking care of him. The next day, the Samaritan paid the inn owner and asked him to take care of the wounded man, promising to cover any extra expenses that might be incurred. Jesus concluded by asking his audience to “go and do the same.”
The celebration of this holiday is linked to the tragic death of Catherine Genovese, who was murdered in New York on March 13, 1964. Had someone intervened during the attack, Catherine might have lived. National Good Samaritan Day is a reminder to offer a helping hand to others as often as we can.
National Good Samaritan Day timeline
Genovese is killed in New York.
The ‘bystander effect’ or ‘Genovese syndrome’ develops as an aspect of psychology.
A film called “Death Scream,” based on the murder of Kitty Genovese is produced.
The “American Psychologist” publishes an article that claims no evidence was found to support the belief that there were 38 witnesses to the murder, as reported by some newspapers after Kitty’s murder.
National Good Samaritan Day FAQs
Who killed Catherine Genovese?
Genovese was killed by a man named Winston Moseley.
Was Catherine’s killer arrested?
Yes. The killer was sentenced to life imprisonment the same year he murdered Kitty.
What is the “bystander effect?”
A psychological theory suggests that the more people present during an emergency, the less likely bystanders are to help the person in distress.
How to Observe National Good Samaritan Day
Be a Good Samaritan
On this day, remember to not only be a receiver but also lend a helping hand to as many people as possible. Open the door for a stranger, tip a waitress, or smile at the next person you pass by on the street. Kindness is free.
Reminisce on the moments that someone showed you an act of kindness, no matter how little. Use this day to celebrate and honor those people, regardless of how long ago it was.
Share National Good Samaritan Day with others. Use the hashtag #goodsamaritanday on all your social media accounts to spread awareness.
5 Important Facts About Catherine Genovese
Kitty was born on July 7, 1935, in New York.
She was the oldest of five siblings.
She attended “Prospect Heights High School” in Brooklyn, New York.
People reported her as a person who was “self-assured beyond her years” and had a sunny disposition.
At the time of her death, she worked as a bar manager at Ev’s Eleventh Hour Bar in Queens, New York.
Why National Good Samaritan Day is Important
The milk of human kindness
This day reminds us to step out of our comfort zones and offer a helping hand to those around us. In our busy universe, we often forget that others around us have needs, and this day reminds us to overflow with the milk of human kindness.
Celebrate the good Samaritans
This day also gives us the chance to celebrate every Good Samaritan who has shown us kindness one way or another. Whether it’s a first-responder arriving at the scene of an emergency or a random person giving a homeless person his lunch, these selfless people deserve to be celebrated.
It highlights the importance of diversity
In the parable, the man who offered help and the wounded man were social and religious enemies based on their differences. This teaches us that we’re to set aside our prejudices and be human to one another.
National Good Samaritan Day dates