It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Just be nice

The light had barely changed from red to green when the lady in the car behind me laid on her horn. I wasn't daydreaming. I hadn't hesitated. I literally had just started shifting my foot from the brake to the accelerator. I was a little shaken.

Standing in the work cafeteria line, waiting to pay a bag of chips, I heard the man in front of me - the one wearing the $200 suit - let out a huge, wet-sounding belch. He glanced back at me and shrugged. No "sorry." No "excuse me." Nothing. I bit my tongue.

And yesterday, pulling out of the grocery store lot, I was cut off by someone who zipped out in front me and zoomed out into traffic.

A lot of stuff like that has been happening lately. Doors swinging back my face. A mess left in the office kitchen. Rudeness I didn't ask for and didn't understand. It made me mad. Then it made me sad. I started thinking: Isn't anybody just plain nice anymore?

At church, our priest told the story of how he had taken his 92-year-old mother out to dinner at a local restaurant. It was crowded, and they were waiting for their names to be called for a seat. The wait was about 20 minutes. His mother ended up leaning against the lobby wall. Not one person - including a family with three able-bodied, texting teens - offered to give up a seat. They apparently didn't think about it, and their parents didn't tell them to.

That made me even sadder. I don't want to be like that. I don't want my kids to be like that, either. I vowed I wouldn't; that I would go against the grain and try to be nicer. Then I found out I wasn't alone.

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Because you know what? The world is mean enough already.


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