Yesterday I was on a flight to San Jose and decided to bring a small carry on suitcase only, packed with all of the essentials needed for a 6 day trip, including my camera and laptop (ok and with all 6 seasons of Dawson's Creek... for a friend). Even though it was a fairly small suitcase, it was pretty heavy especially considering I'm 5'1" with the arm muscles of a 10 year old chess player. Now, normally my husband is with me to do all of the heavy lifting, but I was flying solo this trip - literally. So I decided to ask for a little help; flash a nice smile at a tall guy sitting in the isle and ask him to kindly assist me with putting my bag in the overhead compartment. Easy, right?
So that's what I did - there was an older gentleman (mid to late 60s) who was over 6 feet in the isle with an open window seat. I asked if I could sit next to him and if he wouldn't mind helping me lift my bag, it was a little heavy for me. He kind of look at me said, "I've got a bad back, if it's that heavy you should consider checking it next time." I was seriously taken back. I mean, I get not being able to help me, no big deal. But he was seriously frustrated that I even asked for his help and decided I needed some advice for future traveling. Of course, there are plenty of other people around that could help me out- that couldn't possibly be an option? I asked one of the other four guys sitting in close proximity who were sitting and staring at me in the aisle (yes I still had to ask, no one just offered to help even though they were all seeing this interaction) and one finally helped me with my little bag that was actually so small it had no problem getting into the slot. Then unfortunately, I had to take my window seat next to the angry old man with his stuff sprawled out all over the middle seat. I really wanted to say "If you needed that much room, you should have checked a bag," but luckily an hour of Adele on repeat calmed me down.
PS I also had a guy blatantly steal my parking spot in downtown San Diego earlier in the week - literally as I was backing into the spot on the street, he tightly pulled in behind me and said he was there first... clearly not the case. Unfortunately, I didn't have Adele with me and had a few choice words for him after following him into a coffee shop. So maybe I'm a little sensitive. Or maybe I attract mean people, who knows?
Anyway, is this what we've come to? Help yourself or get no help at all? Was I wrong for asking? Is he right and if my bag is so heavy that I can't handle it on my own I should have checked it? Maybe I live in a misguided world and am spoiled because my husband is always offering to help anyone he sees; opening doors, carrying strollers up and down stairs, will stop the car just to guide someone out of a tight parking spot and of course lifts bags into overhead compartments for EVERYONE who walks by his seat. Yes sometimes I roll my eyes he is so helpful, but man I wished that same kind of guy was there today.
So my question is- is chivalry really dead? Is kindness and courtesy a thing of the past? And are we too concerned with our witty Facebook posts and up-to-the-second Twitter feed that we don't have time for real people anymore? In all honesty, I have to ask myself these very questions - maybe I'm just as much of the problem as anyone else and that makes me sad.
I'd love to know your thoughts. If you've got your own story or opinions on the matter, please share!
Wishing you happy and helpful travels ahead :)