Nothing brightens my day more than meeting a young person who speaks clearly, looks me in the eye, calls me “sir” (yes, I’m that old), and uses terms like “thank you” and “please” and “excuse me.” I feel better about the person speaking, and about myself. It also gives me hope for these younger generations. I try to encourage good manners with everyone I meet by setting an example. However, more and more—or perhaps I should say: the older I get—I find young people simply ignore me, or give me a clipped response and try to move on to something/someone else. So that when I do come across someone who displays good manners, it really shines out.
As the sign says, manners cost nothing, but they can mean so much.
I feel the same way when I meet someone who takes genuine pride in his or her work and who goes the extra mile. It seems like so many people simply want to get by with the least amount of effort. Nothing makes me cranky as quickly as standing in a long line at the DMV or the bank or a department store with only one window open while a bevy of three or four workers chat among themselves in full view of the waiting customers. I’ve always had a high work ethic, which in my view means giving everything—work and play—a hundred percent effort. Back in the day when I earned a salary, I wanted the bosses to know I earned every penny, and I wanted the customers to realize that as well.
If I sound like I’m being a stogy old man, so be it. I sound that way to me as well. At my age, it should be expected.