Are there any ladies and gentlemen left in 2019? Manners seem to have gone out of style and been replaced with rudeness and carelessness. Horns honk loudly even before a light has changed. Hurry up, get going! Don’t you know I’ve got places to be?! People bump into you and never say ‘excuse me’, there’s pushing and shoving to get somewhere, anywhere, nobody listens to what you have to say, nobody seems to care—courtesy seems to be just a word and nothing more than that. It no longer has substance. But, believe me, there are a few good guys in this crazy world. There are still gentlemen left.
There’s a restaurant that my husband and I frequent. The food is excellent and plentiful, the atmosphere is that of an lovely old-fashioned restaurant in Italy, and the prices are good. That alone would make it worth going there but we don’t just go there for the food—we go there for the courtesy and politeness that all who enter experience.
There is a maître d’ there who not only make everyone who walks in the door feel welcome, but, when he asks how you are, you get the impression that he really cares about your answer. It is the same with everyone, not just the regulars. He’s young, very good-looking and has impeccable manners. He’s every man’s and woman’s idea of a best friend, the kind who sincerely is interested in your life, the good and the bad.
I’ve seen this man Joe make someone who has come in to dine alone feel as welcomed as if he was a member of Joe’s family. He will take time to talk to the lone diner, listen to what they have to say, and make that person feel at ease and happy that someone cared enough to treat him or her as a special person. That’s the beauty of caring and that’s being a gentleman.
The little things count. Paying attention when someone is speaking to you, looking them in the eye to show your interest, making them feel that even for a short time, they are important and worthy of respect. Joe does all that and does it with ease.
The words lady and gentleman have become antiquated idioms that seems to hark back to a time when people mistakenly thought they were deemed only as titles for the wealthy. When I was a child, my dad told me that the words ‘lady’ and ‘gentleman’ simply describe a person who has manners, is polite, and makes other people feel at ease. That’s an excellent description. Money and position really have very little to do with being gentlefolk.
I’ve asked Joe about the kind way he treats people and he told me that he grew up in an Italian household where being polite, shaking hands, and looking someone in the eye when they talk was instilled in him as a young boy. “Respecting people matters, to them and also to me. If I can make someone feel welcome and happy, then I’m content with myself.”
When you are polite to other people, you are making them feel respected and valued as a person. That feeling of being valued is important, more so today. Being polite is being kind. One person’s kindness to another person makes a huge difference in that person’s day. You may never know what a simple, “Hello, how are you today?” and taking the time to listen to the response, may mean to someone. You literally can make someone’s day. I’ve seen how a simple smile, a thoughtful comment, and the simple act of listening can shift someone’s day.
Science supports what the power of politeness and kindness can do. A recent study showed that manners aka kindness creates a ripple effect that positively affects at least three other people. Now that’s a wonderful thing when it paid forward.
Joe epitomizes to me what my dad, a true gentleman himself, described as a what being a gentleman really means—he makes others around him feel comfortable and at ease.
Wouldn’t be a better world if we all followed Joe’s example and treated everyone with kindness? I thinks so.