Life's little niceties: Are they headed towards extinction?

When I left Starbucks the other day, I held the door open for an older man who was on his way into the coffee shop. I literally took about 10 seconds out of my day to stand there, patiently holding the door until he was close enough to walk through it.

No big deal at all. It was just simple, common courtesy. Anyone would have done the same thing, right? I guess not.

The man profusely thanked me for holding the door open for him. He was so grateful for my little act of kindness that he offered to buy me coffee. And, anyone who frequents Starbucks knows that's not a cheap proposition. I thanked him for his kind offer, but politely declined it since I had to get on my way.

Even without accepting the free coffee, the man had my day. And, I suspect I made his day, too.

At the time, I chalked it up to a chance moment in time when my little nicety touched someone in a bigger than expected way. But, it happened again just a few days later.

As I left Whole Foods Market, I held the door open for a group of young men heading in at lunch time. Again, it was no big deal. Just another automatic act of common courtesy. But, like just the other day, it was more than that.

One of the men looked at me with shock in his eyes and with a tone of disbelief heard in his voice, he blurted out - "You're a nice person."

I think I was as shocked by his comment as he was by my action. I didn't consciously think about what any of the men would think about my little gesture. I just did it.

Both experiences made me ask the question - Are life's niceties threatened with extinction?

In a time, when the world visibly comes to one another's aid in the aftermath of unimagined tragedies, have we forgot about the impact life's small, everyday gestures can have on people? Our neighbors. Other drivers and pedestrians. Parents in school drop-off lines. Other shoppers in grocery store checkout lanes. Could we do just a little bit more to make each other's days a little better and brighter?

If you asked me a few days ago, my answer may not have been as clear or as readily given. But, today, I say YES.

From here on out, I am going to make a conscious decision to be more deliberate in my actions and to opt to take the extra time to make things a little easier and a lot better for someone else.

With the holiday season upon us, I'm going to try to give the gift of bestowing more small acts of kindness upon others - and maybe they'll do the same. In the end, I hope all of these little acts will cause a chain reaction, helping to preserve life's little niceties.

It took one man to offer to buy me coffee and for another to tell me I'm "nice" to remind me of those little things that also can make a big difference. And, that's the best gift of all.

To those two men, I say thank you - right back at them.

Do you think that life's little niceties are no longer the norm? What can or will you do to help make someone's day a little bit nicer? Please share your thoughts below.

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Filed under: Life Lessons

Tags: Life Lessons

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