Please and Thank You

Today is a day that most will never forget. I’m sure everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing twelve years ago at 8:46 am ET. I was sitting in my college health class that morning when I heard the tragic news. A commuter student who carpooled that day, I didn’t see any television footage until later that evening. I’m thankful that I didn’t see the death and destruction on live TV. I probably would have been traumatized.

As I drove to work this morning, I heard one of the local radio personalities remind listeners that today is National Service Day. She encouraged people to do something nice for someone, like hold open a door for the person behind you, or say “please” and “thank you.”

I have to say that this request saddened me. Do we really need to remind people to say “please” and “thank you?” I understand her good intentions, but I think it’s incredibly shameful that this is considered a way to help other people. People should automatically do these things. It should be second nature. If you pass someone in the hallway, is it really that difficult to say hello? Why is being nice such a rare character trait? I just don’t get it.

The world is full of good hearted people. Unfortunately, we just don’t see it. Every night, the news is full of devastating tales of robbery, murder, and other heinous crimes. On occasion, we see a heartwarming story where someone lent a hand to someone else. The reaction is always the same. “Oh wow, what a great story.” “That is amazing to see.” Why is it amazing to see? This is what we should see. This is how people should act. But people only see the bad things shoved in their face. Maybe if our kids saw all of the good that people are capable of, there would be less violence and destruction. There would be more hope in the world.

Today, we are reminded of the countless stories of what people did for each other. Many of these people sacrificed their lives doing it. The firefighters and first responders. The passengers on the hijacked planes. The rescue workers. Let’s remember that people do these things for us every day, whether we hear about it or not. Let’s honor them by being a little bit nicer. Not just today, but every day from now on.

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