Common Courtesy Isn’t So Common, Apparently

, , , , , | Friendly | March 31, 2021

A new Italian cafe has opened not far from where I live — a fifteen-minute walk — and I decide to check it out by myself for breakfast. When I get there, I see that there aren’t many smaller tables; the ones they do have are filled and there’re only large tables left. It’s the type of place that does table service, and the woman working on the door directs me to a six-seater.

About five minutes later, a family of five comes in. They look around in dismay to notice that there’re hardly any free large tables; they all have one or two people sitting at them like I am. Because the table I’m at is right near the entry, I can hear their conversation as they debate whether they should leave.

I haven’t ordered yet, and I decide that this won’t do; I’m a single person and they’re a family who have come out for a nice breakfast. So, I get up and tell them that they can take my table — where there’s more than enough room for them — and that I’ll find somewhere else. The family looks shocked, and the mother thanks me twice. The staff asks if I will be okay sitting at one of the bench-seat-style tables — one has another lone person at one end, so I would be at the other — and I say yes. I’m sat and served a coffee and rather delicious bruschetta, with the staff alternating between thanking me for moving and apologising for the inconvenience of moving. Before I pay and leave, the woman from the family runs up to me and thanks me, again.

Seriously, do people not do nice things for others anymore? Moving tables as a single person isn’t a huge deal, especially when you’re given a huge one, but the staff and family acted like I’d done this massive thing for them. To me, it seemed like the sensible — and right — thing to do. Why would a single person need a six-seater, anyway?

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