October 26 11

“Mrs. Martell, I have to tell you that your daughter Emily is just so delightful. She has a permanent smile. I don’t think I have ever seen her without it.”

“What a pleasure Isabella was to have at the birthday party. What a happy, happy kid.”

“Ali, Josh is such a pleasure. He is welcome into our home at any time. He is so polite. Always smiling and offering to help. I wish my boys were like that.”

Yesterday, there was rain. I hadn’t anticipated it, so I had no umbrella with me. My ballet slippers were soaked through before I made it the long blocks to the subway. I sat in tired silence and read my book—The Night Circus—on the slow, wet ride home. I got off of the subway and decided to grab a large coffee, knowing full well that when it rains, drivers forget how to drive and there would likely be a long haul ahead of me. I hadn’t been to that particular Tim Hortons location, but I got in line behind the one person in front of me, standing just to the left of the sign that instructed people to please line up here. I waited patiently for my turn to order.

A pouty-faced woman swooped in out of nowhere and stood beside me, and then a woman came and stood behind her. Confused, she looked over at me.

“Are you in line?”

“I am,” I said. I was pretty sure that had been obvious. “I am,” I repeated to pouty face.

“NO YOU ARE NOT!” shouts Pouty McGee.

“….”

“YOU ARE NOT STANDING WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. SO YOU AREN’T IN LINE.”

“Actually, I am in line. And I’m standing right beside this sign here that says this is where I should be standing.”

“NO. You are wrong.”

“…”

“YOU NEED TO STAND UP AGAINST THE GLASS. THIS IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE DONE.”

“Um, I’m just following the sign. This is my first time here.”

“YOU ARE NOT IN LINE.”

“Also, you saw me standing here. You could have asked…instead of just assumed. I mean, what else would I be doing here?”

“THERE IS NO HELPING PEOPLE LIKE YOU.”

“There is no harm in being polite. Have a nice day,” I say before placing my large coffee with milk and one splenda order and walking up and out into the pouring rain, umbrella-less.

 

Smiling.

It’s such an easy thing to do.

An ounce of polite.

It takes less effort than an ounce of bitter and rude.

Yet it still amazes me how many people can’t figure out how to smile. Or how to have some manners.

I make a lot of mistakes as a parent. But there’s one thing that I know I have done right.

I am raising my three children to talk to people with respect, to say please and thank you, to SMILE, even when they don’t feel much like smiling.

 

 

 

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  1. So so true. It takes a lot less effort to smile than look miserable. Life is happier wehn you are smiling. : )

    [Reply]

    Comment by Chris on October 26, 2011
  2. I couldnot agree with you more. You’d think that it would take MORE energy to be an ass than not, but some can’t seem to help themselves. Oy vey!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Rae Ann on October 26, 2011
  3. As we age, it seems some of us have our sunshine squeezed out of us. Sad.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Yes. The world needs a little bit more sunshine :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Erica Ehm on October 26, 2011
  4. This post made me smile.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Then it seems that your mama did something right too ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sharon on October 26, 2011
  5. But can I smile as I punch people who deserve it in the face?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Avitable on October 26, 2011
  6. What is wrong with people lately? I’m impressed you were so nice! I would have just stared at her with my mouth agape.

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    ali replied on

    oh there was agape mouth, I assure you.

    also, my WTF face.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on October 26, 2011
  7. But tell me you were just a teeny bit angry when she accosted you like that? How rude of her!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    A teeny bit?? OH GIRL I WAS ANGRY AS HELL.

    [Reply]

    Comment by sarah on October 26, 2011
  8. Good on you for having the perfect responses. I’m sure she did feel like a bit of an ass. Happy rainy Tuesday! (and Wednesday, and Thursday….)

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    she totally did not feel like an ass.

    she just IS one.
    Heh.

    And today I have an umbrella! and waterproof boots! yay!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on October 26, 2011
  9. This is kind of a mission of mine. Being mean and nasty actually feels bad, too. Also, I can’t stop giggling that someone called you “Mrs. Martell.” :)

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    ali replied on

    Ha! I know! The Mrs. Martell kills me every time!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Tamara on October 26, 2011
  10. I could not agree with you more. You’d think that it would take MORE energy to be an ass than not, but some can’t seem to help themselves. | :P

    [Reply]

    Comment by ghostfighter0506 on October 26, 2011
  11. Me too. In a world that loses more and more politeness every day, I’m still raising polite, well behaved kids.

    I tell mine all the time: you do not have to like everyone, but you absolutely have to be polite to everyone you meet.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Issa on October 26, 2011
  12. Rude people bump me up :(

    [Reply]

    Comment by Larissa on October 26, 2011
  13. I love this so.

    The one thing I know I’m doing right with my girls is that they are very well-behaved in public and are “a joy to have in class.”

    Also, when people are rude to me or I see them yelling at me from their car, I always smile the biggest smile I can and wave at them. I may look like a crazy person, but at least they got a smile out of their rudeness.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on October 26, 2011
  14. I just like that you tweeted this by quoting Buddy the Elf!

    [Reply]

    Comment by the muskrat on October 26, 2011
  15. I love the movie Elf! And you, too. And? I’m smiling. And being kind and happy, helpful people is what I’m traching my boys, too. So important.

    (And seriously? What a b*tch you encountered today!)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Loukia on October 26, 2011
  16. *teaching!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Loukia on October 26, 2011
  17. alimartell, you are a delight.

    [Reply]

    Comment by heather... on October 27, 2011
  18. You KNOW that I am with you on this one. :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on October 27, 2011
  19. Hi Ali,

    You race your children wonderfully because even other people noticed that they are smiling and happy kids.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Martina on October 27, 2011
  20. I always smile the biggest smile I can and wave at them. I may look like a crazy person, but at least they got a smile out of their rudeness.

    [Reply]

    Comment by nicole on October 27, 2011
  21. My first thought about the Tim Horton’s conversation is – REALLY?! Unbelievable.
    As for raising polite children – thank you. Although my class is a nice group this year, I am being worn down by the missing manners and the disrespectful tones and mannerisms. :( I fully admit that a polite child gets a heck of a lot further with me than one who isn’t.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Amanda on October 27, 2011
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