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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Act Of Simple Courtesy

When was the last time an act of simple courtesy prompted you to speak to a total stranger?

While engrossed in a book on a train ride into NYC, the cell phone of the man sitting directly across from me rang. I sighed, anticipating a scenario that has frequently happened to me: My reading reverie would now be interrupted by a conversation of indeterminate length that I had no interest in overhearing. Instead, this gentleman said quietly - "I'm on the train; I'll call you back when I get to the station." And then he hung up.

I was almost too stunned to talk but soon realized this act of simple courtesy must be acknowledged. I said - "Thank you for being a gentleman and not prolonging that call; that was courteous and respectful." He smiled at me and I returned to my reading.

I know this is not profound; perhaps it's not even unusual. Nevertheless, when he said to me "have a nice day" as he left the train and I said "you do the same" in return, I felt something genuine had occurred. And I smiled to myself as I reflected on how his act of simple courtesy had been the catalyst for our interaction.

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