Uncommon Courtesy

100_3988I was returning a plant to a local Home Depot store today. It was a crape myrtle with purple leaves.  I thought there was only one variety but apparently there are several. I had already planted one in my yard . It was supposed to have pink flowers. I missed reading the label that said this crape had red flowers. Being the OCD gardener that I am, I had to return it to get another one to match the one already planted.

I ran to get a buggy to haul the crape to the return aisle at the store. I parked it near my car and went around the back to unlock the back door. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the buggy beginning to roll down a slight incline. It was headed straight for a blue SUV in a space parallel to mine. I watched as it banged the front left fender of the other car. Upon closer inspection, I found an orange mark on the other car from paint off of the buggy.  I felt horrible!   I decided to go into the store to report what had happened. I spoke to the man at the checkout counter.  I explained what happened and was prepared to leave my name on a piece of paper should someone file a complaint.  The man stood with his mouth open in amazement.  He said that it is very rare for anyone to report an incident like that anymore.  He said most people wouldn’t think twice about walking away from damaging another vehicle these days.

How sad it seems to realize that the days of doing the right thing out of  “common” courtesy for our fellow man are becoming quite uncommon.

I still believe in complimenting others for jobs well done. I believe in paying forward acts of kindness, looking for ways to make people feel appreciated. I believe in helping older people, those less fortunate or children. I believe in  giving away without expecting anything in return. I believe in saying “please” and “thank you.” I believe in writing thank you notes, sending get well cards or notes of encouragement and remembrance.  I believe in responding to invitation RSVPs, returning phone calls or emails. I believe in doing hard work and not looking for shortcuts when I am being paid for a job. I believe in giving others good tips for serving me. I believe in paying and not cheating on my income taxes as well as paying the bills I owe. I believe that I should return money that is not owed to me or does not belong to me.  I often pick up trash that is strewn along the street in my neighborhood.  I donate clothing to Goodwill and small items to the AmVets. I give to my church.  I take welcome treats to new neighbors.

These are just a few of the common courtesies that I have been taught.  We should serve others as in the golden rule, not expecting things back  from others but treating others as we would like to be treated. By definition courtesy is displaying excellence in social conduct. It is polite, respectful or considerate behavior and acts of expression.  It is  living life unselfishly and looking for ways to be a blessing to others. It is not looking for ways to take advantage of others.

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