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Friday, September 17, 2010

Chivalry is Not Dead

It's the little things, that make the difference. When you are constantly faced with the feeling that you are inferior because you are a woman, the smallest acts of kindness will not go unnoticed. Doors being held open; someone asking "How are you doing?" and you know they really care. Today it was an empty seat.

I came to vespers a few minutes late, and while normally that would mean there wouldn't be a seat left in the house because everyone else felt the need to arrive 15 minutes early and start singing, tonight a third of the usual crowd was gone for the weekend so I felt pretty confident I would be able to find a seat. I was wrong. I scanned the audience and quickly realized that unless I chose to stride to the front of the chapel or to perch on a stack of three-high chairs in the very back, I would be standing all evening. Every seat was taken or reserved.

It had been a long week and this evening I had actually been looking forward to the presentation. To realize that I could either stand for two hours on 3 1/2 inch heels or return home was rather disappointing. I decided to wait until the choir had shared their special music and then leave after that. I leaned against the wall, taking the weight off one foot, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. The preliminaries were stretching out to be rather lengthy and not only was I anxious for the music to begin, I was also tired of standing. As I stood there, several other latecomers came in and managed to find a spot to sit down.

One of my good friends was the evening's MC and part-way through, he called for people to make room for the growing number of us who were standing in the back. It was then that a well-dressed young man stood up in the back row, walked directly up to me, and motioned rather vigorously for me to take his seat. People were rushing forward to nab seats up front and I was distracted by all the movement and slightly confused as the stranger gestured towards the empty seat once more in an urgent manner. I finally realized he was offering it to me and with a grateful "thank you" I headed to the row and sat down.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~Aesop

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