Service of the New Manners

September 18th, 2023

Categories: Begging, Kindness, Manners, Thanks

Change is an easy topic to cover as it happens whether or not we want it to. I like to feel the pulse of manners every once in a while.

Kindness of Strangers Never Gets Old

There’s a construction site I pass almost daily. The configuration of the pedestrian walkway just changed. A young man was helping an ancient woman with walker and failing eyesight down a gentle slope of wood [photo below] to ease the transition from sidewalk to street level. He then nudged her off in the right direction. He was so caring I thought they were together but soon he continued in the opposite direction—where I was going. I complimented him and we spoke until he reached his moving van parked a block away.

He said “she could have been my grandma.” I mentioned how when my broken foot was in a boot some 10 years ago, I lost every race to a cab to a younger, faster person. He remarked on how hard we can be to each other though I told him that my husband, when frail, reported countless incidents in which strangers were helpful. Then an elderly friend told me she tripped due to ill-fitting shoes and fell on the street recently and nobody helped her up. Thank goodness she wasn’t badly hurt.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Do people who speak with you on the phone while running water realize there is a mute option on their phone? I like to do things, if a chat lasts a long time, like water my plants or iron or start making my dinner. But I want the activity to be secret. It can be distracting to hear running water during a conversation.

Begging 2023 Style

Young man followed old man down Third Avenue in the 40s last week and the old man turns to him and says, “I’ll give you a buck.” The young man responded but I couldn’t hear. I did hear the old man reply, “What? You want $10 bucks?”

Merci, Muchas Gracias, Thanks:  In or Out of Style?

The thank you issue never goes away. I received lovely notes—both a text and a traditional card–from a 20-something which is unusual. It made me happy. A text would have been more than enough. Some send no smoke signals. I wonder if those who don’t thank me thank their clients, colleagues and bosses—current and potential.

Have you noticed a recurrence of traditional manners or some new ones?

The gentle slope of wood to ease the transition from sidewalk to street level at a construction site.

3 Responses to “Service of the New Manners”

  1. B.C. Said:

    I was driving an cart around Costco recently, and stopped by the bottled water.
    40 bottles were in the plastic. Behind me came a young couple, and he said,
    “would you like me to put water in your cart?” Of course, I said yes.
    His wife rearranged the containers in my basket to accommodate the
    water. So sweet! Then my poor husband had to lift the water from the
    basket into the trunk of the car. Simple acts of kindness still exist.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Love reading about the young couple. May their kindness and empathy and that of the young moving man in my post be contagious.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Nothing drastic to report from this neck of the woods. Most folks seem good-natured — but imagine the boredom if a few sour balls weren’t thrown in. Who could one complain about?

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