Small Courtesies

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The quotation I shared on my Facebook page today applied to my life today, in a way. (If you don’t already follow my Facebook page, follow the link above.  Some days, I share what I’m thankful for over there instead of writing a blog post about it.)

It rained here last night.  By morning, the streets were mostly dry, but there were a few puddles here and there.  I had a meeting this morning and I parked around the corner from the building.  As I walked down the street, a car drove into a parking spot that was right beside me.  Mind you, that entire side of the street was completely free of cars and the car could have parked anywhere along the street.  This car decided to pull into the spot closest to me, splashing my feet with the one puddle on that side of the street.

I was wearing flip-flops.

I was somewhere between irritated and angry when I thought to myself that maybe she hadn’t seen the puddle when she pulled up.  I looked at her and she returned my look with a shrug and a grin.  A shrug.  Not a pantomimed, “I’m sorry”.  A shrug, as if to say there was nothing she could do about the fact that she had just splashed my feet with a dirty puddle of rain water.  Had she just extended me the courtesy of an “I’m sorry” in some form or another, I probably would’ve forgotten about this little incident.  It was the snideness of her grin combined with the nonchalantness of her shrug that made this a significant blip on today’s radar screen.

It’s the little things in life that seem to stick with us the longest.  Recognizing that fact in my life makes me try to put more effort into the seemingly insignificant things that affect someone else’s life.  I try to always say “please”, “thank you”, “I appreciate you”, and “I’m sorry” whenever they are appropriate.  I try to smile and speak to folks that pass me on the street because you never know who needs a courtesy “of a small and trivial character” just to make it through the day.  It’s that one small courtesy that could be the one to leave a lasting impression on someone’s life.

I know that a little pantomimed gesture would’ve changed my morning.

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