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Thursday, January 20, 2022

You Didn’t Have to Do That

Tony Tone
Tony Tone has worked as a radio personality in Muscatine and the Quad Cities since 2006. He currently serves as Muscatine Community School District Communication and Community Outreach Director and writes Talk of the Town with Tony Tone for the Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Muscatine Living

Last week, I found myself rushing out of a store doing some last-minute Christmas shopping (I know, what a surprise!). As I was preparing to exit Flipped Out Furniture in downtown Muscatine, I noticed someone approaching the door. I stopped and held the door open and was told by the friendly stranger that, “you didn’t have to do that.”

Without thinking, I replied, “No, I have to because that’s how I was raised, and it’s the right thing to do.” The stranger smiled and said, “Thank you very much,” and went about their way into the store.

It wasn’t until I got into my vehicle that my seven-year-old son, Ted, said, “Did you know that person?”

“I don’t think so, but holding the door open for people is polite.”

His follow-up question, as you can imagine, was, “What does polite mean?”

Now, Ted is very smart, but they probably haven’t come across the word polite in his first-grade class yet. I didn’t want to get the definition of polite wrong, so I did a quick Google search and read out loud, “having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.”

Henry, who turns 10 in March, exclaimed, “I knew that already!” from the back of my very cool and practical minivan.

On our drive to the next store, we continued our conversation about other ways to be polite to strangers. I shared with the boys that one thing I strive to do is always to be an active listener, especially while engaged in a conversation with a stranger or someone I don’t know that well.

Ted chimed in with, “Well, don’t you know everyone in Muscatine?”

“I wish I did! Because then I would have nearly 40,000 friends (when you take in the total population of Muscatine County.”

I wake up every day and do my very best to choose to be a polite, kind, and respectful person. I personally feel that now more than ever, we need to really examine how we treat one another, and that’s without getting into any specific examples or topics.

I mean, at the 10,000-foot perspective, are we as a society starting our day with the mindset that it will be a good one? I’ve shared with you in this space how important keeping things in perspective is for me personally.

My father has recently spent some time in the hospital. He’s working to finally address his sleep apnea, along with needing to have some work done on one of his knees. He was very distraught upon arriving at the hospital again last week. I tried my best over our phone conversations to encourage him to keep things in perspective. I also know that is easier said than done, especially when it isn’t something that comes naturally for most people (like my dad).

Look, I’m no expert; I’m just a person who is hoping to set an example for my children who can continue it long after I’m gone. If that starts with something as seemingly minor as holding a door open for a stranger, I’m taking that as a win.

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