A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Social Responsibility

Couple DiningLast night on the way to dinner my husband and I were discussing today’s blog.  We were talking about several topics such as Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to eliminate Styrofoam, what we gave up for Lent, and a couple other things.  We had it mostly locked-down, and I’m sure it would have been witty, extremely pertinent, heck, maybe even award-winning!  And then we got to the restaurant.

As we stood along the wall in the bar waiting for a spot to open up, a twenty-something brushed past us and took his place at the front of the group of us waiting.  When two stools opened up, I made my way over and proceeded to hang my coat on the back of the chair.  All of a sudden Mr. Twenty-something barged up to us and announced he had been waiting longer and these were his stools.  What?  I didn’t know what to say!  Several people sitting nearby were watching us as our faces reddened with embarrassment.  Not wanting to prolong this scene, I removed my coat from the chair, took my husband by the arm, and went back to the wall.  His girlfriend was mortified.

The couple next to them (about the same age) got up from their stools and came over to us and told us to take their place.  We sat and had a glass of wine, occasionally observing the poor girl next to us.  Mr. Twenty-something, in all his chivalrous glory, ate a meal-for-two as fast as he could; using his spoon to shovel the noodles onto his fork.  He never looked up or said a word to her.  When the bartender brought over their pizza, she just continued to anxiously nibble at her salad while the petulant child persisted in gorging himself.

Luckily our wait next to them didn’t go on much after this.  However, our conversation about it did.  Have we gotten so used to short bursts of communication through social media that we’ve forgotten how to show courtesy and good manners?  Individual social responsibility involves looking at your environment and working to make it better.  That means treating others with compassion, whether it’s random acts of kindness or just acting with common sense.  It means being held accountable for your actions.  And sometimes it just means giving up your seat, especially if it wasn’t yours to begin with.

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