Sometimes the little things say the most. Like a photo taken over the weekend at the S.C. Statehouse.

The obvious story was that the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Pelham, N.C., were rallying on the grounds where the Confederate flag no longer flies.

As were Black Educators for Justice, a group affiliated with the New Black Panther Party.

It was a recipe for tension, and it didn’t disappoint those who like that sort of thing. Thankfully, there was no violence.

But it was a photo taken by Rob Godfrey, spokesman for Gov. Nikki Haley, that caught the attention of people across the country:

Department of Public Safety Chief Leroy Smith was assisting an unidentified man who appeared to be suffering from the oppressive heat.

Oh, did we mention that Chief Smith is black? Or that the man in distress was wearing a shirt with a swastika?

Mr. Godfrey tweeted the photo and his observation that it was “not an uncommon example of humanity in SC.”

Not every act of kindness and respect can be as dramatic as that exhibited by the families of the nine Emanuel AME Church members who were shot to death at a Bible study. They, one by one, told the alleged killer that they forgave him and prayed for God to show mercy on him.

But every day presents opportunities — even small ones — to demonstrate compassion and honor. Chief Smith reminded us of that. Perhaps even members of the KKK took note.

In South Carolina, where the right to free speech — no matter how ugly — is protected, those who take the rhetorical low road can expect to be treated better than they say they are willing to treat others.