The Politeness Project

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Day 2: I Rethink the Angry Rant

I'm running errands downtown when I notice that the car is making a sound like a spatula slapping a counter. I get out, look at the flat tire, sigh, and drive to a nearby gas station. The mechanic says he'll have it fixed in an hour.

When I call back an hour later, the mechanic admits that he hasn't touched my car because he's been swamped all morning long. I feel my blood start to boil. I should have called AAA, I think, instead of trusting this idiot. I could've arranged for someone else to pick my son up from school if I'd known it was going to take this long. I'm about to launch into a rant when I take a deep breath and change tactics. "I'm sorry you're having a crazy day," I tell the mechanic. "I hate to rush you. I apologize. It's fine, really. I can call around and get a friend to pick up my son from school. When do you think I might be able to get the car?"

There's a brief silence. Then he says he'll put my car on the lift right away. "I'll have it done in 20 minutes," he promises. "I'm sorry you had to wait."

He hangs up. I sit and study my cell phone, stunned. Was this an accident or are good manners contagious?

Continued on page 4:  Day 3: I Swallow My Road Rage

 

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