A moment of courtesy makes every occasion in life that much better. I believe that if we all spared a moment and showed friends and total strangers simple courtesy, we are all enriched. Holding open the door to the elderly or a simple smile to greet a stranger in line for coffee brightens the moment and mood of the day. We are often caught up in the fast pace of living that we forget to appreciate the brief moment we share in time together. It is uncanny how a moment of courtesy will pass and leave you with a pleasant state of mind.
I was standing at the grocery store waiting to be checked out by a cashier. The elderly woman in front of me had a cart full of groceries; she glanced and saw I only carried a few items. She turned and asked if I wanted to go ahead of her to make my purchase. It took me a moment to grasp and realize what transpired. I quickly declined and told her to make her purchase first. We shared a smile and continued our separate paths but the moment of courtesy left me with a gentle peace of mind.
I recall a very late evening and it was time to go home after work. All of the employees including myself felt very tired and were eager to leave. My manager Beth closed the store and wished us a safe journey home. We all began to disperse and pace toward our vehicles. Our youngest employee Brooke was using her cell phone to contact her family for a ride home. Beth waited patiently and asked Brooke how long it would take her ride to arrive. A visible distraught Brooke informed her that nobody was picking up her phone call. Beth volunteered to take her home that evening. I was aware that Beth commuted an hour to work so I told them that I would take Brooke home. It was closer and on my way. The fact that Beth would go to such great lengths to ensure that Brooke would return safely home touched me very dearly.
My sister in law hails from the country of Columbia. When our family gathers together, she always makes a great effort to make all the guest feel at home. My sister in law refuses help with preparing dinner or the dishes afterwards. I asked her candidly why she behaves in that manner. She took a moment to consider the question and responded that being considerate, polite and courteous is the reflection of your heritage. To show good manner is to mirror how you were raised and you share the tradition brought to you by your family to others. It was very strange; I don’t believe such simple thoughts could leave me so moved and tranquil at the same time.
I believe that courtesy brings us all closer together. Pause one moment and share a smile, greeting or praise with a stranger, the results will amaze you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.