On being nice to strangers

This weekend I’ve witnessed two exchanges between strangers that have made me feel quite sad about our capacity, as humans, to be unpleasant to one another.

The first was yesterday at the bar of the British Film Institute. There was a bit of a queue building up and when the girl who was serving asked who was next and a woman began to order her drink, the man beside her said, “Actually I think you’ll find I’ve been waiting longer than her.” The woman who was ordering turned to him and explained her film was about to start and that she was in quite a rush, but instead of letting her go in front of him he began to order a round of three drinks and food. Not only that, he nastily said to her, “I don’t care about your film.”

The second incident was today on a bus travelling along Oxford Street, when a middle aged Caribbean woman started needlessly laying into a rather overweight elderly (possibly also homeless) gentleman for – as far as I could discern given the distance between us – blocking the aisle by standing in it instead of sitting down. As he had a lot of bags in the luggage rack I thought it was quite obvious why he had chosen to stand rather than sit, but the woman wouldn’t let up with her rude questioning and by the time I disembarked the atmosphere on the bus was frosty to say the least.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, why can’t people just be nice to one another? Life is hard enough as it is without being kicked by strangers when you’re feeling down. A little kindness goes a long way, and if we can’t be kind to one another then we can at least be civil. Remember the old saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? Well, that. And that’s all I’ve got to say on the matter.

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3 thoughts on “On being nice to strangers

    • Their ethnicities aren’t relevant at all, I was just describing the situation and remembered the detail that the lady was Caribbean because she had a very distinctive voice. I certainly wasn’t implying anything or meaning to come across in any way as racist (which I am most certainly not). Apologies if my post offended you.

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