Let me be brief, as there is a hurricane coming and I have lots to do.

But I really need to say this:

Over the last two days, I have heard many politicians and emergency officials on the East Coast reminding us to be "smart" or "cautious."  But I wish that one of them would also remind us to be kind.

Maybe that would be stepping outside the bounds of conventional politics—straying into a more spiritual kind of leadership. Maybe, in preparing for a disaster, kindness just isn't as important as smarts. But still, I feel the need to hear someone remind us about its value.

Of course, health and safety depends on many very practical factors, such as how well we have prepared and how effective the emergency services are in our area. But I expect that much of our experience of a natural disaster also depends on whether we have taken the opportunity to experience a moment of kindness with a stranger.

Let me back up a step.

On Thursday evening, my family and I were evacuated from Cape May, the first place in the Northeast to face a mandatory evacuation. When we heard the order, we had only a ¼ tank of gas, and there were already long lines at gas stations. Nonetheless, we had to join the bumper-to-bumper traffic getting off the Cape, with no sense of when or if we would get gas, or how far up the coast the traffic (or panic) would continue.

I noticed how easily tempers could flare in such a situation, even three days before the hurricane was due to hit. Once we did find a gas station with supplies and a reasonable line, two vehicles—a car and a huge RV--actually cut in line. The RV actually put itself in a position that made it impossible for even those people who already had gas to leave. This astounding and inconsiderate action caused other drivers to become quite angry, not surprisingly, and a shouting match ensued.