Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chivalry is not dead, at least not in Rio.

It's not uncommon to see me opening the gate to our building with my back and maneuvering the stroller in. It takes me a minute but I can do it fairly easily, although it'd be a lot easier if someone would hold open the door.

I don't expect anyone to do that. Not even my doorman. It's not a big deal. And no one on the street has ever stopped to help me. Only neighbors or friends who happen to be passing.  To put this into perspective, I have two kids and one is almost 4 years old. So no stranger has offered to open the door to my gate for almost 4 years.

Again, I don't expect it. It's not a big deal and I'm not bitching.  I just wanted to mention the history because of what happened today.

I was cruising up to my building with my youngest in a single stroller and my oldest walking next to me, holding my free hand. I saw a guy approaching using two crutches. All the muscles I could see in one leg had atrophied and the other one didn't seem to have that much more strength than the first. He depended on his crutches to get around. 

When I got to the gate, the man called to me to wait. He leaned on one crutch and used the other one to open the gate for me.

Now I'm not one to regard chivalry in any way. I don't frown upon it nor expect it.  But this, this was a golden form of chivalry.  I didn't make a big deal out of it, just a big smile and a thank you. 

My brother uses a cane and hates to feel stared at or treated different.  I understand that and I know he was just being a good man. 

And that's the thing that hit me.  There are so many people who wouldn't have to miss a beat in their life to do something good for someone else and don't.  This guy had to make a effort and he didn't appear to think twice about it.  He was just helping a tired Mom get her kids home. 

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