Whatever happened to courtesy?

by - Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today I began to wonder if courtesy is slowly disappearing in our society. I like to think that I have good manners, and that in turn I have taught my children a good set of moral values. Unfortunately I cannot speak for the rest of society, and was today downright disgusted with the actions of my social "neighbours"...

On the route of my "school run", there is a stretch of road which passes by an area of social housing for the elderly; it's well signposted to direct drivers to be more cautious in the area as the elderly often cross this busy road on their way to the local park. As I was driving through, I saw two ladies waiting to cross the road. Suddenly, one of these ladies (who incidentally was aided by a walking frame), collapsed at the kerb.

I immediately pulled over to see if I could offer any help. But the car in front of me actually sped up, swerved around the scene and didn't seem to pay a second thought to the welfare of the poor lady! And if that wasn't bad enough, at least two pedestrians changed their route to avoid the scene. No "Are you alright?/Can I help?". No courtesy whatsoever!

Thankfully, the lady wasn't injured, though she did seem rather shaken by the incident. I helped her up, and luckily a nurse from the nearby care home (I do hope this is the correct term!) had seen the incident and offered to sit with the ladies after I gave them a lift back to their house.

This incident made me think of all the other times I have seen people ignore the "rules" of common courtesy: it seems that young people rarely give up their seats on public transport to those older than them; few drivers slow down to let others pull out of a junction. And the amount of times shop assistants have seemed so surprised when I say "thank-you" for helping me pack my bags...

I've always believed in the saying: "what comes around, goes around". Perhaps people are becoming too busy in their own lives to consider how their actions and courteousness affects other people. Yet if everyone could take just a few moments from their busy schedule to do just one courteous thing for a stranger every day, I'm sure the world could become a better place to live in!

cour·te·sy n. pl. cour·te·sies
a. Polite behavior. b. A polite gesture or remark.

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