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a tribute to common courtesy and the well-mannered among us

Social Marketing and the Common Good

common courtesy

by Kenneth Rudich (This is another installment for the “Promote a Social Good” marketing campaign.  If you’d like to contribute your own installment, please let me know.)

Though the law where I live explicitly states that pedestrians have the right-of-way over cars at an intersection, it has become apparent there are some motorists who either don’t care or are oblivious to it.

It’s bad that drivers will blow through an intersection without showing the slightest inclination to stop at the stop sign.  Even when I’m approaching from an easily seen angle, with my dog trotting several steps ahead on a leash, they’ll glide past with no hesitation whatsoever.  Extra caution on my part has saved both me and the dog from rudely being introduced to the front grill of a car – in fact, on more occasions than I care to recall.  What’s worse is that it usually happens in broad daylight, in an area with an unobstructed view.

A few drivers have even shot me a last second glance of seething irritation, as if momentarily debating the thought of pausing to reprimand me for being there and nearly forcing them to stop.  Only, for them to actually stop would be irony so they don’t. 

To all my fellow flesh and bone human beings who fall into this category of behavior, I have this and only this to say: The brakes on your vehicle will always be a better ally than the gas pedal ever will.  Road kill is never pretty.  Indeed, it can ruin your whole day.  Learn that and you will have mastered a universally important lesson in life.

the well-mannered experience by comparison

By my estimation, the majority of motorists do stop, and they’ll patiently wait for me and my canine friend to cross the street. 

When that happens, I acknowledge their courtesy with a friendly wave and mouth the words, “Thank you” while passing in front of them.  They typically nod or smile in return and mouth the words, “You’re welcome.” 

And with that supremely simple gesture, we have reinforced our common commitment to preserving humanity for the sake of…well, preserving humanity.

revere the common courtesy

I like to think most people recognize the great and good of common courtesy – how a supremely simple gesture like saying please, thank you, or excuse me can emotionally enrich a given moment, even if only fleeting in nature. 

It can make a rough day just a bit smoother, and it can elevate a good day even higher.  It can slow the passage of time just long enough to have noticed and be noticed.  To paraphrase Neil Armstrong’s famous words, the common courtesy can be a small step for man, and a giant leap for mankind.

The option to be courteous is available to everyone.  It’s a choice to be made.  And to those of you that choose to regularly exercise common courtesy, I just want to say, “Thank you.”  

24 Comments

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