IMAGINE the scene.
An elderly lady comes to the top of the steps leading down to one of the city’s tram stops.
She has a shopping trolley with her.
So far it has been a blessing.
Shouldering the weight of her purchases and allowing her to buy more than she would otherwise be able to manage.
But now it became something of an inconvenience.
The steps were not particularly steep but shopping trolleys are not designed for them.
A young woman approaches and passes by without a glance.
I dare say the old lady didn’t notice.
But she did take note of the next lady who approached.
“Can I help?” she asked.
And taking hold of the handle, she helped her manoeuvre the trolley to the bottom of the steps.
The elderly shopper couldn’t have been happier.
“Oh, thank you,” she fussed. “That was very kind of you.”
No doubt those few words of thanks were as a king’s ransom at that moment.
The two women parted company and I was reassured that all is not wrong with the world.
Was the woman who passed without helping in the wrong?
I don’t think so.
And, in my mind, that can be as rewarding as having a good turn done for you.
This all got me thinking about politeness. Are we as polite now as in days gone by?
I don’t think that I am alone in believing that we aren’t.
It seems to be the way of the world.
Life is passing us all by at such a pace that we rush here and there with barely a sideways glance at people around us.
That is my explanation for the woman who didn’t stop to help a struggling pensioner with her shopping trolley.
She simply would not have noticed her. There would have been a million things on her mind.
That she didn’t stop doesn’t make her a bad person. Simply over-occupied.
Then there is the question of whether we should stick our noses into other people’s business.
I remember once when our family was being driven back from Manchester Airport after a holiday (They were the days! When you could afford both a holiday and a taxi from your wages).
It was the dead of winter and a car had skidded and hit a wall on the Woodhead Pass.
Our driver, a smashing bloke, pulled over and got out.
As he walked across the road, he slipped and slid like a drunk. The road was coated with ice.
But as he approached the stricken driver he was met with a string of foul-mouth abuse.
Rather than accepting his offer of help, the other motorist somehow gave the impression that he perhaps expected our Good Samaritan of a driver was going to poke fun.
But the taxi driver simply turned round and returned to his car and continued on our journey.
So you never know what might happen when you offer to help someone.
But it shouldn’t stop us, I believe.
Manners cost nowt and they are repaid in buckets of thanks.