One day while visiting my daughter, Teresa’s home, my eye caught a saying on her wall that had three powerful words, “Because nice matters.” I chuckled to myself because I could hear her in my mind saying to her children as only she could, “Be nice!” It was obviously important to her that her children learn this principle which at times seems to be sadly lacking in our society.
I then thought of a man who sought me out at the bank this week to apologize for his behavior in a situation which occurred about a month ago. I was impressed with his effort to correct his mistake and the courage it took for him to come see me when I couldn’t even remember what he had done in the first place! We visited pleasantly for a while, he left feeling better, and I felt that I had a new friend. In fact, he just came in and gave me a hug this afternoon!
In contrast to this experience I recalled another man who stormed into the bank about three weeks ago, pushed himself in front of a customer I was helping, and yelled, “Your bank’s ATM just shorted me $450!” I took a deep breath, told him I was with someone at the moment and that I would help him when I was free. The customer at my desk was a distinguished older gentleman who was weeping openly as he informed me of the Newtown shooting. This was the first I had heard of the tragedy and I am sure that my face looked horrified. "That is just the news,” the upset man chortled as he scowled at me. “This guy can wait. You need to take care of ME NOW!”
I found myself appalled at his behavior, yet I pitied him because obviously nobody ever taught him that “nice matters” or that his value system was sadly askew. Refusing to help him, I sought the assistance of my manager who attended to his needs, and had his money back to him within five minutes. In all honesty I was afraid of what I might of said because it may have cost me my job (and I would have been far from nice myself!)
Sue Patton Thoele has these words to say about being nice: “Nice not only wears well, but generally, it also fares well, for kindness is never out of date nor out of style and is welcome in all circles.” When I hear the awful news reports about the atrocities going on in the world, I sometimes wonder if many of us have forgotten what “nice” is all about. Perhaps we need a refresher course because nice DOES matter……it matters A LOT!