Wearing Your Heart On Your Vest - Manners and Etiquette

Jorge was a young construction worker, sitting near the front of the bus. Natasha was an older lady confined to a wheelchair. She asked him about his orange safety vest, "Where do you get those?"

The vests are highly reflective and are easily seen by oncoming automobile traffic. Natasha thought that a similar vest might protect her as she crossed the street from the bus stop to her house in the evening.

Jorge stood up, took the vest off, and presented it to Natasha as a gift.

In a world that seems less concerned with the well being of others, than with grabbing what you can, Jorge's selflessness stands out as a welcome gesture.

In our personal lives and the business world there is room for improvement in manners and etiquette. In the business etiquette training video America the Rude, the lack of good manners and honesty is pointed out as a growing problem.

"As common courtesy becomes less common and good taste is all but a contradiction of terms, Americans continue to push the envelope of socially acceptable behavior. Does the Golden Rule still apply, or are people too busy to care about the feelings of others? This program probes the apparent erosion of decorum in the United States, which has had a profound impact on respect for authority, trust for one another, and willingness to give a helping hand. Experts include Professor Stephen Carter, of Yale University; psychologist Arnold Nerenberg, author of Overcoming Road Rage; and Pier Forni, of Johns Hopkins University's Civility Project."

-- Ad copy for America the Rude

Doing nice things for people should be the norm, not the exception. In our shrinking world, we need to make the effort. We still need to adhere to the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Is that really so hard? Of course, if were easy, we wouldn't need training videos like America the Rude, which is actually the first tape in a two-part series called Truth and Consequences: Is America Going Downhill? The second video is called Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

Lies and rudeness seem to be so prevalent that small courtesies really stand out. This is good for people and businesses that do practice polite customs like expressing pleasantries and sending thank you notes.

Who really wants to be an oaf or a bumpkin? In today's world it's easier than ever to be a gentleman or a lady. Sometimes all it takes is a smile, a nod of recognition, or the gift of a used plastic vest.


Don Doman is a published author of self-help books on small business. He and his wife own Ideas and Training, which supplies business training products to organizations around the world. Don and Peg also own and operate PNW Video Productions, which produces video productions for distribution and internet viewing.

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