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Terri Simon

Fresh air ...


It was a beautiful Sunday morning. With a cup of home-brewed coffee in hand, we set off on an early morning journey, hoping to get a glimpse of this beautiful spring day before the rest of the world had woken. Of course you can’t go on an early morning Sunday drive without a bit of a treat, so we swung into the Sheffield Casey’s to grab a doughnut for the journey.

We pulled into Casey’s about the same time two young children — a little girl about 6 and her older brother, who was about 10 — were riding their bikes toward the door. I jumped out of the truck and headed toward the door. The little girl had already gone inside, but the little boy waited when he saw me and opened the door for me. I thanked him. “You’re very welcome,” he said.

Inside Casey’s, the little girl was standing in front of the doughnut case. Her brother joined her, and I stepped back to give them some space. The little girl had a terrible cold, and she consistently caught her cough in the crook of her elbow. After three or four coughs, her big brother told her to stand aside. “You’re getting germs all over,” he told her. “You need to stand away from the doughnuts.” With that insight coupled with his polite gesture a couple of minutes earlier, this kid had my attention.

Careful not to touch any doughnuts with his hands, he used the tongs to carefully remove each doughnut. The tongs were awkward for him, but he knew the unspoken rule of not touching the other doughnuts that other customers would eventually buy. Actually, it was taking the boy quite a while to get his box filled up, but I really didn’t mind. His careful attention to the situation was fun to watch.

But then he noticed me behind him, and he immediately looked hurried. He turned to me and said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you were waiting. You can go ahead of me.”

“No. You’re fine,” I said to him. “I’m not in a hurry.”

Oh my gosh! This kid had manners. I stepped a little closer to the doughnut case and helped him a bit, as he recounted how many doughnuts he needed to make a dozen. We struck up a conversation. He spoke quietly. His maturity seemed well beyond his years, and as he picked up his box of doughnuts and motioned to his sister who was still standing a ways away, he thanked me for my help.

“Have a good day,” he said to me with a smile.

As we stood in line to pay for our Sunday morning treats, I listened to the boy speak kindly to his sister, telling her he would ask his mom to give her some cough syrup once they got home. He was as kind to the cashier as he was to me and thanked her when she handed him his change. Again, he paused and waited for me to pay and juggled his box of doughnuts as he held the door for me one more time.

I don’t mind telling you I was a bit incredulous as I got back in the truck. I had just had an interaction with a little boy who was polite, kind and had impeccable manners — to say I was impressed was an understatement.

It’s been a few weeks since that early morning interaction, and even though I don’t know the child’s name, I haven’t forgotten him. I think there’s some irony in that fact. You see, usually, it’s the kid who has awful behavior that gets one’s attention — the kid who has no manners, no inkling of appropriate conduct. Those are the ones we remember.

But on that early Sunday morning, I found a refreshing glimpse of a polite young soul, and I still find it ironic that the kid with manners — which is not necessarily the norm these days — caught my attention and has stuck with me for many days. I’m not sure what that says about our world these days, but I have to say it clearly was a breath of fresh Sunday air.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcrnews.tsimon.