Sometimes I wonder where common courtesy has gone. I think that the Internet is a wonderful thing and it's brought so many wonderful things and resources into our lives. I really don't know how we would go back to pay phones, phone books, and maps. (I love GPS). But it has also brought some bad things into our lives. I feel that too many people have forgotten how to be courteous to others. I think that behind the shield of anonymity of the Internet people have forgotten to be kind and to mind their manners.
This week I've been shown true courtesy and kindness from strangers and true rudeness and lack of manners. The courtesy and kindness was given to me this week as I traveled home from work. I live in Orange County and work in Los Angeles. I take the train into Union station and the subway from there to work. One night this week the subway was severely delayed/basically stopped running do to a problem at another station.
As I walked down the stairs towards the subway a few strangers stopped me and told me the train was stopped. They suggested I run to catch the bus waiting at the curb as an alternative. I have never taken the bus in LA and did not know the route. But being able to handle change, I ran as suggested and jumped on the bus heading away from the station. Once on the bus I took a look around and tried to figure out if I was on the correct bus and where were we headed.
Another group of strangers asked me if I needed help. I explained that it was my first bus trip here and was trying to make a train at Union Station. These kind people explained to me how to transfer to the next bus in order to get to Union Station in time for my train. They did not need to. They had no obligation. But they choose to be courteous and kind and helped a stranger in need. They even pointed out the next bus stop as we passed the intersection before I departed. I am really truly grateful to these strangers.
I do not want to give the person whose behavior I found rude and lacking in manners any time. But do want to say that even on the Internet, even when you are a part of a group of strangers online and have that shield, we should all remember our manners. When something is done for you, say thank you. It does not matter if something is not exactly what you wanted. A gracious person says Thank You.
I am going to strive to remember my manners. I will do better at remembering to be courteous to others (and not take things personally). I would like to challenge you to do the same. Perhaps if enough of us remember and change our behavior it will become like a virus and spread through the world, both in real life and online.