“Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist (1803-1882)
Photograph by James Edward Mills
There was a long line at the Detroit Airport Eisenstein Bros’ bagel stand. A crew of food servers hustled out orders quick as they could, but the progress was slowed because there was only one register processing checks. A man with gold wings and a dark suit was getting impatient.
“Can’t somebody get on this other register?” he yelled. “I’ve been waiting 15 minutes for a bagel. I’m going to miss my flight!”
The irony of an airline pilot complaining about an untimely departure was wasted on no one. But his little snit-fit did nothing to speed the pace of the harried workers behind the counter. In fact, it likely damped their spirits and made their moods equally foul. A little courtesy would have required much less effort and may have allowed the time to pass more quickly had the pilot embraced his misdirected rage.
If he had made better choices, arriving earlier or allotting more time for a meal between flights, the pilot wouldn’t have to take out his frustration with himself on others just trying to do their jobs. The time we take to be courteous to those around us is a gift of forgiveness we give ourselves. Courtesy is an acknowledgement that everyone makes mistakes, nobody’s perfect and maybe we’ll do better next time.