I wanted to share with you an incident that happened a few days ago...
A young guy, probably about 20 with a frat boy "I'm the king of my universe" look and air about him, was in front of me and opened the door to the restaurant. He then spit his gum out onto the walk to his side. Now this was also directly in the path of a small group of little old lunching ladies who were just leaving, and would now have to maneuver and step over the offending gum wad. I was disgusted by this, but said nothing to the frat boy, deciding to conjure up an image of punching him in the back of the head instead. I was about to warn the ladies when something curious, no... enthralling, happened.
The first little old lady, a timid woman I would surmise was in her 80's and dressed in a simple floral print and cardigan turned to the frat boy and said in a kindly voice, "Excuse me young man, you dropped your gum."
The frat boy stopped and looked at her. Now I only caught her gaze from the side, but you could see that while her face had a soft smile, her eyes said, "You pick up that gum. Now." I can only imagine what the full brunt of that gaze was like for the frat boy. I would assume it was akin to being struck in the chest with a sledgehammer.
"Oh... uh, sorry," he mumbled and bent down to retrieve the wad of gum in front of his floral print and cardigan conqueror. He wanted to tell her no, the annoyance and befuddlement was in his eyes, but what was he going to do? Tell a little old woman to shut up in front of a crowd of people and the restaurant staff for telling him to pick up the gum he had so disgustingly spit out? I think not.
"And with a stomp of her foot, she had vanquished them." The line from Faulkner's A Rose for Emily popped into my head and I smiled. Everyone, except the frat boy, smiled at his defeat. A victory for good manners and respect.
We need more little floral print ladies like this.