Just a Thought on Politeness…

It would not kill us to be polite…rather it could make the difference between life and death.

So… let us picture a possible scenario; a young man goes to an area he has never been before, possibly to visit a friend for the very first time. On his way into the compound, he sees two young men about his age sitting on a bench…discussing. They carry on talking when they notice him, failing to even acknowledge his presence. This young man says “UNA GOOD MORNING” with a polite nod and a smile and walks on by to the apartment he knows his friend occupies as per his description. They stare for a moment at one another, and the departing fellow, utter a few words and carry on their prior conversation.

Unfortunately his friend isn’t home and after commenting to himself about how much of a buffoon his friend is for not keeping their appointment, he turns around and walks out of the compound without really noticing the two fellows he’d passed by earlier.

He’s heading back to the road to take a cab home…he knows his way.

He takes his second turning, with one more to go before he can find a cab, but is almost knocked off his feet by an agitated fellow who seems to be in quite the hurry. He fails to recognize the weird similarities between both in terms of physique, complexion and even clothing colors. The fellow rushes on without a backward glance.

Our young man barely takes five steps before he is set upon by a small group of people, all of whom seem to be frothing in their mouths…he is swiftly pummeled to the ground before he can make sense of the situation.   The crowd grows…so does their seeming fury.

Everyone seems to be talking at the same time and he is unable to make any sense of anything…all he knows is the blinding pain he feels all over his body. He tastes metal n salt in his mouth…and realizes he is bleeding. Soon he is horrified to hear the word “thief” from a few mouths.

Now he knows he is in trouble. He tries to get up to speak…but is hit even harder on the head. He is dizzy and can barely make sense his spatial positioning, let alone utter coherent sentences.

He knows true horror when he feels a firm circular object being lowered over his head. Quickly realizes it is a tire….and fully understands what follows shortly. He is fully aware of himself and surroundings, but too dazed to utter coherent speech in his defense.

It feels cold on contact with his skin…pungent smell. Petrol. Now he knows utter despair. He is drenched in it. No way out. To be burned alive. Very bad way to go. Someone is lighting a matchstick…. absolutely helpless and hopeless. He opens his mouth to scream his innocence, yet no sound comes out. He wills his body to struggle violently against his bonds to no avail. Hopeless…

“WAIT!”…someone is screaming. “I know this guy! No be him. Na my friend!” The crowd ignores him. His friend joins him, even more forceful. “We know this guy…no be him!” Crowd’s resolve wavers…the two young men press their point. They are authoritative; obviously well-known and respected in the community.

Eventually, the crowd is intimidated or convinced enough to finally realize they have the wrong person after taking a second look.

Our young man is beside himself with relief…grateful for the gift of life, and his good fortune at striking a rapport with two complete strangers he was under no obligation to acknowledge.

A little politeness saved his life. It does not cost anything to be the first to hello…or good morning, even to those considered younger or belonging to lower social classes than ourselves.