Sunday 29 November, 2020

Put the seat down for the next person on World Kindness Day

Be kind to those around you, but more so your elders. (iStock photo)

Be kind to those around you, but more so your elders. (iStock photo)

Those who feel it, know it and they are not amused; this is not about toilets or the bathroom for that matter.

It’s about thoughtfulness and extending care to those around us: the elderly whose mannerisms, wisdom, and overall knowledge we often reference.

You know the story, you organize your day, and everything goes according to plan until you get to the bank.

You wait to get called up …for the doors to open, to share a ‘how you doing?’ nod with passersby and to watch as time tick-tocks away.

Anyone who’s ever experienced this displeasure knows how irritating it can be.

You’d think the waiting game ends there, wrong, think again and imagine what it’s like for seniors.

Not every person in the ‘retired’ line wants to make small talk with the security guard, start a new crossword puzzle, or sit in limbo waiting to be acknowledged by the designated teller while other customers complete their transactions and get on with their days.

FYI, seniors have lives too.

Granted, it might be to pick up their grandkids after dance rehearsals, fill a prescription (personal or otherwise), make bill payments, or rush home before midday to catch the daily dose of soap operas.

At supermarkets … restaurants? Seniors seldom get by unless, for the latter, you’ve made a reservation – a commendable ‘old school’ trait, mind you.

Why should seniors have to wait their turn like everyone else in first-come-first-serve instances?

A certain level of respect and priority should be doled out.

Plus, elderly customers are often the most loyal – some even know the employees by name.

Why then is it so hard to put them first?

On the flip side, some seniors may very well like things the way they are.

The constant age reminder can be off-putting, and people are generally offended when others feign kindness or do something to save face.

While others, according to, don’t want to be bothered.

‘Even if you have the goodwill of offering your seat, it doesn’t mean other people have to accept that kindness ... there are some people who are afraid they will ’cause you ‘inconvenience or trouble’ or simply ‘don’t want to receive your pity’.

For those who insist on more civil treatment, however, there are a few demands…

1 Provide at least two tellers at the bank as one is simply not enough.

2 Additionally, well-mannered staff that are patient, understanding, and move with alacrity are preferred to their opposites.

3 Young'uns, get up when you see elders on public transport, offer assistance to those wanting to cross the road, looking for help to complete forms, or reach for the item on the top shelf in aisle six.

Let’s face it, seniors are no less human than the rest of us and therefore deserve higher levels of respect and care.

Sooner or later, you too may be in the same position expecting the same level of unrequited respect.

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