As I walked into Preston Hall this morning, I entered slightly ahead of another person. In that instance, I faced two choices. Choice number one: Walk on in and let the young man get the door for himself. Choice number two: Politely hold the door open, allowing him to pass. I understand there are differences in how generations act and think, in some cases vast differences. However, common courtesy, acts of kindness and overall good, old fashion good manners should transcend generational boundaries. So for me, it was never a choice. I held the door open for him. His response was, to say the least, astoundingly surprising.
I found myself in an actual conflict with this young man because I had the nerve to hold the door open for him. He actually took offense to it. In fact, he took such offense, that as we walked in the same direction toward our destinations, he proceeded to explain to me how he studied this exact issue: men holding doors open for other people. He attempted to explain that women, in fact, take issue with a gentleman holding the door for them. It sends a message of inferiority toward their sex. He was agitated further because I wouldn’t argue my reasoning for holding doors open. He refused to accept the only response I gave: It is plain good manners.
I am 53, soon to be 54 years old. For as long as I can remember, I have been holding doors open for other people, particularly — no, especially — for ladies. Let me now, to the many ladies in the past, and to the continued many in the future, offer my profound apologies if my act of kindness and respect offends and insults you in any way.
You see, during my upbringing, I was taught a man treats others with respect and a gentleman always, ALWAYS, opens doors for ladies. It saddens me to know there are those in this world who feel the need to belittle someone for performing an act of kindness.
But know this, young man and any who read this: I remain steadfast and undeterred. Should our paths cross at the threshold of another door, I will continue to hold it open for you. Worse than that, if it’s raining, I’ll share my umbrella; if I see you with a heavy load, I’ll offer help; and if you are having a bad day, I’ll offer a cup of coffee and a kind word.
Perhaps if we all focus more on opening doors for others, rather than spending useless time and effort studying the perceived negative effects of being kind and respectful, this might just be a better place to live.