Chivalry Is Not Dead!

I hear a lot of stuff on social media and in my ‘real’ life about how the world is going to the dogs. You know, people don’t have any manners anymore and we’re an angry world and everybody’s horrid to everybody else and… You know the drill.

I have to say in general, while there are definitely rotten apples out there, that hasn’t been my experience.

This blog has been on the backburner for a while – because I had new books out, I’ve been talking about my stories rather than doing general posts over the last few months. But I want to tell you about some lovely experiences I had last September. And a post so near Valentine’s Day seems just ideal!

I seemed to spend most of last September on public transport going from my home on the beautiful Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. It’s actually not far but getting there if you don’t drive is a major effort – three hours if I’m lucky, more if I’m not. I was also on deadline for my second Sons of Sin book, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, which made it quite a stressful time. 

So three trips to Briz Vegas (the Brisbane Writers Festival, a workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre and a visit to see the Hamburg Ballet – OK, I can’t blame that one on my writing career, LOL!). Because time was at a premium, on each of these three occasions, after staying in town, I caught the 5am express train home. Because trains are fairly widely spaced, if I left it any later, I’d lose most of the day in travel whereas the 5am train gets me home just after 8am and ready (if yawning) for a day’s work on the computer.

That meant leaving my hotel on the Queen Street Mall at around 4:30 to catch a cab to Roma Street Station where I get my train north. Picture dark, scary, lonely Queen Street Mall full of closed shops with the freezing wind blowing MacDonald’s wrappers around. Me with suitcase rolling up to the taxi rank opposite Brisbane’s Casino, sure I was going to get bopped on the head at the very least.

No taxis!

My first experience of this, there were some guys there in a South African Rugby club’s shirts – players or supporters, not sure, but BIG!!! And clearly having spent the night carousing at the casino. Me – wondering if maybe this was a good idea. Praying for a heap of taxis to turn up, I try and shrink into myself and be inconspicuous which is fairly hard when you’re a woman facing down about eight liquor-happy men and there’s NOBODY ELSE AROUND!

My prayers are heard. A taxi arrives. Only one! Eeeek! Rugby player turns to me and asks very nicely if I’d like to take the cab as I have a suitcase. Now these guys are obviously ready to call it a night and I imagine were just as keen for a taxi to turn up as I was. I demur (why, I now ask myself!). They insist, most politely, and even lift my case into the cab. Off I go to get my vilely early train, amazed at the kindness of strangers.

Second occasion about a week later – picture the setting exactly the same, except this time I’m facing a couple of local lads who are clearly ready to go home after a big night. Taxi finally turns up, local lads step back, allow me to take it and wave me on my way. Remember, this is 4:30 on a cold early spring morning! Everybody is keen to go where they need to!

Third occasion – same setting but one very charming Irish boy who looks like he should still be home with Mamma. Turns out he’s worked all night at the casino. He’s obviously tired and ready to go home. He rang for taxis when I joined him and when only one turned up, let me take it with such lovely manners.

Wow, that’s three out of three for people being unnecessarily kind! Who says the world is an awful place? Not me!

So I’d like to thank those kind and unnamed knights in shining armour for proving that niceness isn’t nearly as rare as some people would like us to believe. And in your honor, I’m decorating this blog with flowers as a cyber bouquet for you! I hope you all went on to win the lottery!

So have you been the recipient of any random acts of kindness lately? Do you think the world is becoming a hard and horrible place? Or are you like me, much more of a cockeyed optimist?

As a random act of kindness, I’ll give away a download of my novella THE WINTER WIFE to someone who comments today. Good luck!       

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Comments

66 thoughts on “Chivalry Is Not Dead!

  1. 1
    Fedora says:

    How perfectly lovely, Anna! While I do think sometimes that there are perfectly horrid things going on and that some people are capable of being awful and unkind and cruel, there are also those who are generous and warm and friendly and who make the world a beautiful place. Just this past week, I had a friend unexpectedly bring me a hot mocha, on a chilly afternoon, just as I could use a pick me up. She wasn’t a stranger to me, but she certainly had no reason to do that, but she really blessed me that day. I do think instances like that or the ones you encountered remind me of the joys and joyful people in the world still to be found. Thanks for the hope, Anna! :)

    • 1.1

      Well the blog gremlins have struck once more. Fedora you might have to share the GR with Jane as your post took a bit of time to get up today!

      • 1.1.1

        Suz, thanks for wrangling the blog for me overnight!

      • 1.1.2
        Fedora says:

        LOL! No worries–I think there’s plenty of GR to go around ;) Maybe Jane can keep him out of my chocolate stash today :D Thanks again for the lovely post–it’s fabulous to read about everyone’s run-ins with kindness!

    • 1.2

      And what a lovely friend to just pop in with hot mocha!! Did it have whipped cream?

    • 1.3

      Oh, Fedora, so very sorry about your comment. Grrrr to the bug gremlins. I was hoping we’d sorted them out. I’m away from home (went to see Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury yesterday afternoon – magic). Because I’m not logged in as a Bandit but as a Bandita buddy, I didn’t see that your comment needed approving.

    • 1.4

      Fedora, how lovely about the mocha. Sometimes it’s those unexpected kindnesses that really touch us, isn’t it? Hope you enjoyed it! As you say, there are some awful things happening in the world, but that doesn’t mean the world’s an awful place. I often think of the film Love Actually which basically has that message.

  2. 2
    Jane says:

    Ooh, rugby players. A lot of people think of NYC and its citizens as rude, but I think the majority of us kind and willing to lend hand. When I watch the new I sometimes get the feeling that the world is harsh and people getting more intolerant, but then a feel good story comes along and you have hope again.

  3. 3
    Helen Sibbritt says:

    Anna

    That is so lovely to hear and I do agree that there are still some great people out there. I have just got home from the City after being at our Romance Reader lunch we had a great time but it Is Chinese New Year so the City was very busy and the trains only went to Central City Rail were doing a clean up LOL but that is OK because we get of at Central and catch the light rail down to Darling Harbour and it was packed we had to stand which is OK except that adults let children of the ages 2 or 3 take a seat instead of sitting them on their lap but there was another young Guy who offered me his seat so yep these nice people are still out there.

    Have Fun
    Helen
    Not long now till I am in Brisbane YAY

    • 3.1

      Helen, that’s SOOOO annoying about the little kids. And rude. So glad you had a lovely time at your lunch. They always sound such fun. I was sitting at a restaurant yesterday looking at the Mercure hotel where our Australian Romance Readers Association Convention is to happen in a couple of weeks. Got all excited!

  4. 4
    Barb says:

    hi Anna

    Helen and I had a couple of acts of kindness today… we went to the ARRA lunch today in Sydney down at Darling Harbour and the place was packed as it was Chinese New Year weekend…. and of course the railway in their wisdom decided to close the city circle so all trains stopped at Central… we went on the light tram and it was packed and a gentleman got up to let me sit down… on the way home got to the station and had 30 mins to wait for the train and another gentleman got up off the bench to let us sit down…. don’t ask about the mothers that let their kids take up a seat though lol

  5. 5

    Barb, how lovely that you were the beneficiary of an act of chivalry today! Good timing for my blog. I actually think it’s sad when people don’t teach their kids good manners. It doesn’t do them any favors through the rest of their lives!

  6. 6
    Tracey says:

    Last weekend, I ran into a friend’s mother. I happened to mention that I had been looking for work. She gave me a name in an organization that was getting ready to place an advertisement. I called, filled out an application and dropped off my resume. I got called for an interview later this week. Plus I found out that this friend’s mother has called the individual to give a recommendation. I don’t know if I will get the job, but no matter what, I appreciate her efforts to help me where she can.

    • 6.1

      Wow, Tracey, that’s certainly kindness in action, isn’t it? Fingers crossed you get the job. What a lovely thing for that lady to do! I think sometimes the awful stuff is so shoved into our face, we can forget that there’s some really nice stuff happening as well.

  7. 7
    Amy Conley says:

    Well Anna, I am quite happy for your great experiences. I live in the middle of nowhere, so we don’t have trains, no buses, and nope, definately NO taxis! Heck, it’s over an hour and a half drive to the closest major airport. So nothing like that has happened to me. The closest I can come is early Jan and I was renting a car for a trip. Now, I’d called this car rental place at least 3 times the week before I was suppose to get my car to leave.
    Finally, the day arrives, we go get my father-in-law and hubby takes us to the car rental place. THEY WERE CLOSED! I had called and talked to the guy not 45 minutes before this and he never said a word about closing at 5pm. So I grab my phone, call the main office for this car rental place. Yes, they can get me a car (the one I actually ordered) but I have to drive a little over an hour to get it. Hubby calls work and tells them he’s going to be a couple hours late, he’s driving, at what to me feels like a snail’s pace, and the place we need to get to closes at 6pm and it was already after 5pm. When it gets to be 5:45 I call the main office, again to ask them to call the office I am going to be getting the car from to let them know where we are and we are on way. The guy knows we are a little bit over 15 minutes away and he swears he will wait for us. Luckily for me, he did just that. And not only did he wait for us, he had my car all ready to go, like I said, the one I reserved in the first place, and unlike most car rental agencies, they would fill the car up for almost half of what the gas stations were charging, if I didn’t get it fill-up myself before bringing it back! That alone was a shocker.
    All was good, I got all my things in the rental car, told hubby good-bye, and I was off. I was several hours later than planned, but thank goodness I was finally on my way.
    After I returned from my trip the company called me to ask how my experience was with them. Believe me, I told them how angry I was with our local agency bur how wonderful the guys were at the other agency.
    I was so furious with our local agency, for many reasons, but truthfully, the other guys were so great, I could forget about the creep locally (shouldn’t have been surprised either, that town is well known for being less than kind, to put it nicely). My trip eneded up being wonderful and the next time I have to rent a car I will use the guys a bit further away and forget about the local guys, but I am loyal like that. If I get good service someplace, I will always go back to them, even if it is a bit further to drive.

    • 7.1

      Amy, I’m so glad things worked out for you. How utterly nasty that they didn’t tell you about closing. That’s just wrong. So glad the guys at the next place did the right thing. Yes, I definitely think we should reward good behaviour where we can. One of the sad things about all my knights in shining armor is that I couldn’t really do anything in return. Except write this blog which I’m pretty sure none of them will see! I’m sending my gratitude out into the universe.

  8. 8
    Linda Thum says:

    There was an article in the paper just yday about a martial arts black belter who gave his pair of shoes to a bare footed old lady (i think it was a lady).

    • 8.1

      Linda, how lovely! You see a lot of this stuff on Facebook. There was a really lovely video going around of acts of unexpected kindness and niceness to remind us it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ll see if I can find the link. It really is lovely!

  9. 9
    may says:

    I am an optimist…. Have to be in this world! Yes, there are still strangers who are nice. I saw people helping others during the snow storm here…

    • 9.1

      Oh, what a lovely attitude, May! Glad everybody pulled together in the snow storm. We had major flooding in my state in the last few weeks – lots of wonderful acts of kindness in response.

  10. 10
    GrowlyCub says:

    A couple of young guys let me go in line before them at the grocery store. That was a pleasant surprise.

  11. 11

    I can’t think of any example of randoms acts of kindness lately. Usually, I feel like I’m the one letting people ahead of me in lines and things like that. I figure at some point all that good karma will come back to me.

  12. 12
    CateS says:

    Our very kind neighbor came over with his ATV w/snow blade to shovel out our driveway after we received 12 inches of heavy wet snow… I was so grateful!!

  13. 13

    What a lovely post! I am so glad you’ve had such good experiences, especially at such awful hours all by yourself! Apparently parents are raising good guys in Australia.

    I think that is the key. Children are raises with good manners. It is possible to acquire them later in life, but few people these days try. But a child raised to be kind and considerate and polite seldom deviates from that early teaching.

    I remarked on something similar this week. I sent a text message to my college aged niece and nephew to ask if they had heard from their Nana (my Mom, who tends to take trips without telling me! ) I received immediate responses from both of them. My niece, however, surprised many of my coworkers. Her text read “No ma’am.” Now for those of you who do not know, the correct response when speaking to an elder is “yes, ma’am or no ma’am.” But texting has taken much of the polite out of speech. My niece has not forgotten her manners in the techno age!

    I have had young men offer to lift fifty pound bags of dog food into my shopping cart for me. I am always pleased and surprised when they do. I can certainly do it myself, but I always let them do it if they ask. The thing about good manners is they should be encouraged and rewarded!

    • 13.1

      Louisa, I so agree with you. I’ve got some friends who have brought their children up with beautiful manners – and they’re the kids you take to dinner or go the extra mile for because they say please and thank you. I know it sounds a bit kindergarten, but it really makes a difference. How lovely that you’ve hit lots of random kindness too!!!

  14. 14

    Anna C.

    How charming and chivalrous of those lads! There mamas raised them right!

    A number of years ago right after my son learned to drive, he had a flat tire. My hubby and I went over, hubby with the idea he’d just fix it, me with the idea he’d instruct son on doing so. Guess who won? So hubby and I stood there and watched as son followed his father’s instructions and successfully changed his own tire.

    Not long after that, son and I had been to the groceries, when on our way home, there was a lady who had just pulled over with a flat. My son pulled over and got out, offering to fix the tire for the lady. Now son at the time had half his hair died pink and a scruffy beard.

    giggle

    So, the lady wasn’t sure, but when I stepped out and reassured her that he indeed knew what he was doing, she let him help her.

    He and I grinned all the way home.

    • 14.1

      Oh, what a gorgeous story, Suz! Seriously these three experiences gave me quite a rosy glow about the world.

      Your story about your son and his pink hair reminds me of a trip I took in the tube in London many years ago. It was Sunday afternoon, I was alone in the carriage and two really extreme punks got on. The next station, a lady with a pram got on. We all got off at the same station – scary. Until the punks carried the ladies pram up the stairs because the lift wasn’t working. I always think of that as a message not to judge by outward appearances!

  15. 15
    Maureen says:

    I think people can be considerate but we definitely don’t expect it anymore. The other day when I was going into the library I was holding the door for an older woman who was moving slowly so she was a bit behind me. She was so surprised that I held the door for her, explaining that she never expected that I would wait for her.

    • 15.1

      Maureen, I think it’s sad that so many of us have been conditioned to expect people NOT to be nice. Honestly my experience generally is that people sort of range from quite nice through to very nice – and a few rotten apples in the barrel to make the mix interesting (putting it kindly, but that’s what today is about!).

  16. 16
    catslady says:

    What I think is us every day folk are nice as all get out! But, unfortunately, it seems too many that have it all have no understand of what’s it’s like to live everyday lives and not have everything and everybody be at their disposal. When is enough, enough. Luckily, they are the minority but it’s amazing how such a small amount of people can weld so much power and instead of appreciating what they have, they don’t want others to have the same. I love the idea of pass it on.

    • 16.1

      Catslady, I think you’re right that the vast majority of us are pretty well disposed toward our fellow creatures. It’s like I think lots of nice things happen. The reason there’s bad things in the new is that it’s NEWS, after all. I mean, he fact that I had a lovely lunch with friends yesterday isn’t exactly going to make the front page. Although perhaps it should, LOL!

  17. 17

    Hi Anna!

    I’m not surprised you found chivalry in unexpected places – I honestly think the world is more that way than the other. I think tv & the news glorifies the negative in society, but most people are kind and generous. They do acts of kindness because it makes you feel good, but it also makes them feel good.

    Most recent act of kindness? Yesterday I was at a booksigning and a lady brought little boxes of cupcakes for each of the authors. How sweet and totally unexpected.

    • 17.1

      Donna, I think you’re so right! The bad stuff gets reported because it’s NOT typical. How lovely about the cupcakes! Hmm, wonder if she’ll come to one of my signings. I like that idea very much! ;-)

  18. 18
    Connie Fischer says:

    I think to label an entire city as rude or not is unfair. Big cities attract people with very busy jobs and who are always in a hurry. Traffic is congested and the vast number of people using the streets, public transportation and the sidewalks means lots of crowds. When I lived in Paris, I found all of this to be true. Even though my job emphasized that I not stand out as an American, I cannot blame what others do which is that the French hate Americans. Not true. That is simply lame and rude because it labels a nationality unfairly. It’s the same in New York or any other big and busy city anywhere in the world. People are stressed and they tend to forget their manners. However, I found people to be kind and I always made it a point to smile at people, say Merci or Pardon-Moi, etc. Take the time to be pleasant and thank store clerks and others who help you and wish them a nice day. We’re told that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown and it makes YOU feel good too.

    Thanks for your post today, Anna. Sorry if I tend to get on my soapbox. It’s a bad habit of mine! :-) All the best, Dear Lady!

    • 18.1

      Connie, no need to apologise at all. I was kind of inviting rants, frankly! I think you’re right about it being unfair to characterise whole nations or cities or whatever from a few bad experiences. Just shows what a responsibility we’ve got to represent our particular tribe, doesn’t it? I try and be nice to visitors to Australia because I know as a traveller myself, that those impressions are often the ones that stick. And as you say, makes you feel good if you can do something good for someone!

  19. 19
    Deb says:

    Oh, my goodness, Anna! I’d be quaking in my shoes. You are a brave soul. But, those acts of kindness, and being in the same spot, were awesome.

    I haven’t had a random act of kindness occur lately, but during Christmas week, I was lined up at the little local market, getting bread and milk, and the person ahead of me paid for both items. Milk, mind you, was about $3.75 gallon and is now up to $4.25.

    I have not paid it forward. I mean to, but haven’t, so perhaps this will be my week to do so.

    • 19.1

      Wow, Deb, what a lovely thing for that person to do. That’s never actually happened to me – perhaps the knights in shining armour need to up the ante and pay my taxi fare as well, LOL!

  20. 20

    Calling all Bandits! I’m not on my home computer and the blog won’t let me approve comments. Can you please keep an eye on things in pending for me?

    This majorly annoying and apologies to anyone who’s still waiting to see their comment turn up.

  21. 21
    Annie West says:

    Anna, what a great way to start a cool, grey day. Reading your post made me smile. Having walked past that taxi rank you mention, I can visualise just how cold and lonely it was. Brr.

    Your so right about the acts of kindness not disappearing, and I think we don’t talk about them enough. There’s so much pessimism these days, isn’t there.

    A recent one for me – at local markets I splurged and bout enough patisserie treats (they’re gorgeous, worth every penny but not cheap) for the family plus my parents who I was visiting later in the day. I had them in a baker’s box which I put down on a counter 5 minutes later to buy something else. I walked off, hands full and then realised I’d left the box behind. When I returned the box had gone and I spent a fruitless 10 mins searching for it but it had gone. I was going to go straight home, feeling my morning had been ruined by that act of theft, when I realised I didn’t want it to spoil my day (the outing had been a special treat after a hard week). So I dumped my gear and went to the patisserie with just enough money to buy 2 more pastries, one for me and one for dh that we could have as soon as I returned. I told the pastry chef (who also served) how popular her baking was as my box had been stolen. She wanted to give me the replacement 2 for free as she was so upset for me. I thought that lovely of her, but of course refused. It wasn’t her fault the pastries had been snaffled. Anyway, I paid, getting distracted by someone else as she packed up my box of goodies. When I got home I found she’d replaced all of the pastries that had been stolen, not just the two I’d bought. That act of kindness still makes me smile now, months later.

    • 21.1
      Annie West says:

      I can spell, really. I know it should be ‘you’re right’ not ‘your right’. Blame the fact I’ve just woken up. Hm, better not read the rest in case there are more typos.

    • 21.2

      Ann, isn’t that just an example of life’s rich tapestry? Someone real rotter and then someone doing something lovely. I had a similar experience years ago when I travelled in Spain. I’d had all my luggage stolen and I was so sour and cranky and unhappy but the weird thing is in the next two places we stopped, people went out of their place to be nice (without having any idea about our robbery). In the first, we were in a seaside cafe and a lovely couple ordered and paid for the local specialty so we could try it. In the next, it was a tiny little village, but the people at the hotel went looking for the one person in the village who had been to Australia and the evening turned into a party. Really touching to be welcomed like that!

  22. 22
    maryde says:

    I’ve had many occasions of recent, where young men have held a door or stepped back from the train door to let you in/out!
    And I do not think it is because I was as old as their mama, but more that they were taught some basic manners from their papa’s and mamas.
    I agree there are still some feel – good moments in the world :)

    Anna, I noticed the word Casino slipped in twice in your post … you sure you were in Briz Vagas on WRITING BUSINESS? lol
    Too funny :)

    • 22.1

      Mary, they do say a writing career is a gamble!!! ;-) Hmm, perhaps my next highwayman should be a one-armed bandit! Is that what you call poker machines? It’s one of their nicknames here and I think it’s so right! Mary, I think we all agree that there’s a lot of niceness that doesn’t get credited in the world. But then of course the lair is a place that’s full of niceness – although Paolo mightn’t agree in the middle of a big launch party, LOL!

  23. 23
    Quilt Lady says:

    I still do a few things like letting people go ahead of me in the check out line when they have a lot less then I do. I have noticed that people are not like that to much anymore. I guess the world has just gotten to busy for people to think of others.

    • 23.1

      QL, I know the ‘world is busy excuse’ comes out a lot. When I lived in Sydney, I noticed that people were too busy telling you how busy they were to look outside themselves. Not everyone, of course, but enough to be noticeable. I think it’s very nice when people do simple things like let people ahead of them in the queue. Good on you!

  24. 24
    melody may says:

    You know when I lived in the south I saw more people being nice. Occasionally, I have a guy hold the door while I carry my kid, but not to often. However, when people are nice I tend to be nice to the next person.

    • 24.1

      Interesting about the south being nicer, Melody. I have to say whenever I visit America I’m absolutely overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone is to me. If I started a list of nice things people did for me, I’d be here all day. And I think you’re right about those little nice touches changing our whole outlook for the better and making us more inclined to do something generous further down the track.

  25. 25
    Marcy says:

    What wonderful experiences you had, Anna!

    I’m basically house-bound so don’t see many strangers, but I mentioned to some online friends I was interested in reading a certain author’s series of books. Next thing I know a box arrives with 10 books from that very series from a friend I’ve never even met. I try to treat people the way I wish to be treated. It seems to work for me. :)

  26. 26

    Oh, Anna, what lovely boys! You warm my heart with those stories. Truly, chivalry isn’t dead–and I think we appreciate it more when we do find it, because we don’t expect it. Gorgeous flowers, btw!

    I think it’s all down to how their mother raises them and I’m doing my best to raise a couple of gentlemen over here!

    As for random acts of kindness, on Saturday I had to go to a lunch at Richlands and you know how terrified I am of driving to strange places. A friend’s husband offered to pick me up and drop us there, then collect us when we were finished. Can’t tell you how much I appreciated that random act of kindness! It also meant I could indulge in some champagne, so I was doubly grateful!

    • 26.1

      Christina, what a lovely thing for your friend’s husband to do. Phew! Really takes away the stress element, doesn’t it? I actually get really stressed when I’m catching public transport to somewhere new. Managing connections and things really has me in a spin. Always glad when it goes OK, so I feel your pain!

  27. 27
    LilMissMolly says:

    I’ve done a few acts – paid someone’s change so they didn’t have to charge something when they came up a few cents short in their pockets.

    • 27.1

      Molly, what a nice thing to do. I bet the people were grateful. What I love about all these examples is that they’re practical instances of help! Yay, Bandits and Bandita Buddies! It’s a privilege to know you all – although I’m not sure I’d give you my taxi at 4:30am!

  28. 28

    Anna, what lovely men you’ve encountered!

    At DragonCon last year, a friend and I were late to a popular panel. The room was crowded, the sets mostly full, so we sat on the floor. A few minutes later, a young man who’d been sitting by an empty chair got up, leaned over us, and whispered that we should take those seats. He stood in the back, where a young woman joined him a bit later.

    It’s a bit lowering to think we probably reminded him of his mother, but it was still a lovely gesture.

    • 28.1

      Nancy, what a lovely story! Forget the age thing. It was such a kind thing to do. Something similar happened to me years ago when I was standing through Tristan and Isolde which goes for about five hours. I was MUCH younger and much more ready to overestimate my stamina. About halfway through, someone actually stood up and gave me their seat. Completely beyond the call of duty – still remember the kindness.

  29. 29

    Thanks, guys. Huge apologies for the moderation problems – compounded by the fact that I was away from home. And thanks to my Bandita sisters who stepped in to help.

  30. 30

    And don’t forget to check back to see who won the download of the Winter Wife!

  31. 31
    Lianne says:

    Nice to read of so many positive things that have happened. All too often the news on TV and in the newspapers seems to be full of doom and gloom!