The other day I was standing in line at Costco with my son to pick up our food order. The line was long and we were waiting for a few minutes already. A second employee yelled out his window that it’s now opened. My son and I waited for people in front of us to move to the second line first. Suddenly, an adolescent boy ran to take a spot in front of me. His mom chased and immediately chastised him about cutting in line. He replied in English, “I didn’t cut.” Then in Vietnamese he said, ”They’re dumb. They’re slow so I’m here.” She explained that he mistook politeness for slow and dumb. He refused to leave.
Normally, I would just let it go but I was so happy to hear the mom's explanation that I turned to her and said she was absolutely correct. I was waiting for others in front of me to move first because they had been in line longer. I turned to the boy and said I was not dumb or slow. I was being courteous and polite. Embarrassed, Mom apologized and tugged for the boy to go back. Instead, he stayed put and went up to the window to retrieve his order.
The result was not ideal. But I love that this mom was teaching her son social mannerisms. It used to be being polite and courteous to others are expected societal virtues. The boy was about 12 y.o. so he has time to learn. It makes me happy when I see people extending common courtesy to those around them. They don’t even have to be nice, just not so mean. As a gentle reminder to our religious folks, love thy neighbors. For the spiritual yogis, please be kind of my light as I will be to yours. For our atheist friends, respect human rights and common decency.