As my readers know, I am a newspaper addict and I wait for my dose of them every morning with bated breath. As soon as I hear the newspaper boy drop them outside the door to our flat, I stop doing whatever I am doing to go over, open the door and retrieve them.

A little explanation. We have two doors to our flat, one solid wooden inside and a screen mesh one outside. We had installed the outside one as an added protection when we first moved in here almost thirty years ago as, then our neighbourhood was in the boondocks and still being developed. The problem with the outside screen door is that it opens out to the landing from where the stair case to go up to the first and second floor flats start.

After the newspapers are dropped off outside our door, the young man charges upstairs to both the floors to drop off papers for the four flats there. On his return, often it happens that I have to wait for him to pass before I can fully open the outside door so that it does not hamper his exit. When he sees this, he inevitably bends down, picks up the papers from the floor dusts them off and hands them over to me with a cheerful “good morning” and when I thank him, with a “you are welcome” and pushes off.

This morning, he went one step further. He must have seen me sitting in our veranda having my morning mug of tea and so decided to come over to the outside of the veranda and handed over the papers to me through the grill. I was overwhelmed. He is not on my payroll nor do we have a relationship other than the morning greetings whenever we meet each other.

Remarkable, in these times of break neck speed and hurry to spare such thoughts and extend a small but meaningful courtesy to a senior citizen. All that I could do was to mentally give him my blessings for his thoughtfulness. May his tribe increase.

That exchange led me to dig out this clip by Simon Sinek to look at the real world.  This morning was my porcelain cup for just the reason that I am a senior citizen!

14 thoughts on “Courtesies.”

  1. I always try to be courteous to people, whatever their job or situation or personality. Nobody deserves to be treated badly, especially if they’re routinely being treated badly by others, as is often the case with call centre staff, shop assistants, hotel staff etc.

    Very true about the styrofoam cup and what position you hold in society.

    I don’t think newspapers are delivered any more in our neighbourhood. You have to go out and buy them or read them online.

    1. I could not agree more with your take on extending courtesies to the ordinary people who serve us in many situations.

      There are many such small conveniences that we enjoy here that are not available in the West. It will take some years before we too become like that and in the meantime, I enjoy those facilities to the hilt.

  2. Slightly baffled by the clip. Let’s leave aside that I wouldn’t accept a Styrofoam Cup even if, by accident not design, I found myself in the gutter (anyway I don’t drink coffee). Where does “deserve” come into it? As Simon Sinek says, with the trappings of success/wealth come the perks. And I have yet to meet the person who’d reject them. Hell, I – of all people – have been upgraded on transatlantic flights – insane amounts of champagne included, have been chauffeured in limousines, been madamed here and madamed there. However, and please feel free to laugh as I blush, the etiquette of tipping eludes me to this day. In the motherland it’s easy. In some countries you offend if you offer anything; in others “staff” will hover till my jet lagged self clicks and finds the notes. Still, main thing, and this will come too late for you (forgive my indiscretion), is to make friends with the Concierge. The Concierge is your friend (at cost and/or charm) come hell/high water/the Mafia or Hells Angels. Concierges are magicians.

    Where were we?

    Courtesies. Why are you so astounded by them? As a matter of course, they are extended to me, as I extend them to others. Daily. One might call them common currency.

    Cups. May yours not so much overflow, not be too hot and clearly not of Styrofoam.


    1. I have had my share of being treated differently than I am now during my corporate life. Relationships built then however, do not change though the perks disappear.

      I was astounded as, it was totally unexpected. It had never happened before and has not since. It must have been one of those rare days when he would have seen me sitting in the veranda as, usually at that time, I would be sitting inside in the living room.

  3. I always strive to be courteous and patient with people who are simply doing their jobs. All-too-often, I’ve been thanked profusely for being patient after having to wait for just a relatively short time. I guess there are a lot of people who are rude and impatient these days when they don’t get service as fast as they think they “deserve.”

    So far as gratuities, last August a local group of people went to an eatery near the courthouse after a meeting of the county governing body. The council meeting had gone their way and they were in a grand mood! The opposition wasn’t quite as happy with the way things had turned out and filed complaints alleging that “secret” meetings had taken place. After weeks of interviews and collecting evidence, a Special Prosecuting Attorney concluded that violations had taken place, citing four instances where council members had met in violation of state law. One of those cited was the celebratory gathering at the eatery last August that none of the council members showed up for. In a letter to the judge, the only facts for this “purported meeting” that the prosecuting attorney cited were the name of a local real estate agent and that he had “paid $1,203.58 that included $505.23 for food and beverages and the remainder was gratuity.” That’s a heck of a gratuity!

    I was at the council meeting and was on the “winning” side. I heard the announcement of “We’re meeting at Old Bank,” but I was planning to go straight home. The reason I know all of this is that the letter was shared with me at the suggestion of the county’s attorney so that I could write a Facebook post for our grassroots organization. An interesting aspect of this was that I had just met the real estate agent that paid the tab for the first time just before that meeting and it turns out he went to school with our daughters. I’ve run into him several times since then though. Great guy!
    Mike Goad recently posted..Fourth Open Letter to the Racing Commission.

    1. I have been following your posts on your adventures and had indeed wondered about the others involved in your activity. This comment adds to my knowledge and I thank you for it.
      About gratuity, I have a rule. None if a Service Charge has been included in the bill, or 10% of the bill amount rounded off upwards to the nearest ten. Seems to satisfy the staff alright.

  4. Courtesy is so important, a true old adage is if you want to date someone, have a friendship, whatever, watch how they treat people in the service industry, cashiers, servers, flight attendants, etc.

    You will then know their souls.


  5. I remember hearing a quote by someone in a tv show I think..
    he said “it’s not that I treat someone better it’s that I treat all people the same!”
    hopefully he was nice to everyone! not just people who were important. or people who could do things for him. or even people who thought HE was important!
    I like your paper seller. he’s a thoughtful young man!
    it takes so little really to be kind. and we never know how it might affect someone’s day.

    1. In a world where kiss the top and kick the bottom seems to be the rule, treating everyone the same could be either! I like that young man too and admire him for his hard work and ambition.

  6. it looks like you’ ve built some trust with your paper-lad…and as tammy has responded, “he’s a thoughtful young man”!

    I seem to have built some trust with the 4.23pm bus driver who comes though BB at that time of the day – when today, I noted I had some spare time so walk back towards where that bus could be clearly be seen coming. I misjudged his speed but my waving arms between stops had him stopping. I’ve promised not to do that again…

    (note: not all bus drivers are created equally)

    1. There are some autorickshaw drivers who operate out of a stand near my home with whom I have built good relationships and they too extend me courtesies that some strange drivers that I have to use on my return journeys, do not extend.

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