God bless Facebook Timeline. Status’ that would otherwise be lost in time now easily pop back up on your profile to remind you why you were pissed off, stressed out, happy or sad. But the debate on whether this is a good thing or a bad is for another post as I’m just setting the scene. It was while I was clicking around on my profile that I came across this status update from December last year:
‘To the girl in Costa who looked at me like I’d slapped her in the face when I politely asked her to move her bags off the table next to her so I could sit down: Don’t mind me love, I’ll stand up as long as your shopping bags are comfortable.’
Sarcastic? Yes. Angry? You bet’cha.
If that girl had chosen to utilise her manners she would have happily removed her bags from the table once she’d seen me approaching with a tray full of hot food and drinks and said “It’s ok, you can sit here, this table is free.” Instead she chose to throw me evils over her cappuccino and respond as if I’d mortally offended her shopping bags for suggesting they didn’t have a right to be comfortably sat at a table of their own in the middle of a PACKED CAFE.
People have become so busy and wrapped up in their own lives they choose not to demonstrate good manners, as if doing so would take up too much of their precious time. I say ‘choose’ because I believe everyone understands what good manners are. Bad manners are not only detrimental to those who posses them (they leave people with a bad impression of you) but also to those on the receiving end. In the past bad manners and rudeness have totally ruined my day. They leave you annoyed and angry and likely to tar innocent people with the same brush.
The instance in Costa was sadly not stand alone. I’ve been pushed in front of when waiting patiently in a queue. Many a time I have witnessed people on crutches struggling to open doors while the crowd swarms around them. Having spent time on crutches myself I know how awkward it can be and always make a point of being helpful towards people using them, whether its holding open a door or simply moving out of the way when I see them coming. I’ve seen lift doors being left to close on people struggling with heavy bags. How much effort would it take to put out your hand and stop the doors from closing? Would it really be a hardship to give up your seat on public transport to someone who might need it more than you?
I’m sure that you have come up against and witnessed similar situations as bad manners appear to be somewhat of an epidemic. But good manners cost nothing. Big, grand gestures aren’t needed but small acts of kindness can go a long way. The holding open of a door, letting a mum struggling with a pushchair get on the bus before you or giving somebody else what’s left of your car park ticket when you no longer need it.
People often witness these situations but let them slide with the excuse ‘they wouldn’t do it for me’ and maybe that’s true. Maybe the person you just helped wouldn’t think twice about walking past you in your moment of need. But what if your act of kindness or politeness (call it what you will) has made them stop and think? What if the next time they come across an opportunity to do the gracious thing, they take it, and in doing so give your kindness back to the world?
You see where I’m going with this?
So the next time the opportunity to be polite, kind and gracious presents itself to you please take it. No matter what it is or how small, it’s the little things that count. These acts of kindness cost nothing and rarely take up more than a few seconds of our time.
Show the rest of society your thoughtfulness, demonstrate that you have good manners and are not afraid to use them. Not only could you be making someone’s day but you’re also contributing to making the world a better place. Now isn’t that a good feeling? Then hopefully the next time you need a little common courtesy the world remembers your kindness and smiles on you.
Peace and love peoples. Peace and love.