As an etiquette consultant, I try to evaluate my own behavior to make sure I’m growing more considerate, rather than focusing on the behavior of others. However, yesterday I witnessed an encounter that completely captured my attention. I had just pulled into a parking spot in front of my neighborhood Starbucks when I noticed a situation unfolding between the drivers (both women) of two automobiles: a large, black Denali and a red Camry. For the sake of this story, I will refer to the women involved in the exchange by their vehicles.
Black Denali was talking on her cell phone as she pulled out of the parking lot.
Red Camry was making a wide turn into the parking lot, attempting to pull into an employee parking space.
Black Denali’s position in the lot prohibited Red Camry from making a wide turn into the spot.
Black Denali held her ground. Red Camry pointed to the spot.
Black Denali still held her ground. Red Camry again pointed to the spot.
Black Denali continued to hold her ground. Red Camry put her hands together, pleading with Black Denali.
Black Denali held her ground. Red Camry conceded, reversing into oncoming parking lot traffic to allow Black Denali to exit.
As I watched this confrontation, I was puzzled by the spirit of the Denali driver. I understand the difficulty of maneuvering a large vehicle. However, Black Denali did not attempt to make space for Red Camry—even though there were four vacant parking spots next to her, which would have allowed her to pull over. As a bystander, I don’t think Red Camry was fault free, because her wide turn caused the incident. However, consideration should be extended no matter if we are in the right or if we are in the wrong.
I have never met Black Denali, but I do see her frequently around town. Next time I see her, I will associate her with this encounter. Fair or not, we never know who is a spectator to our interactions and what conclusions they draw from our behavior. Extending consideration to everyone will make us not only feel better but look better too.
Let’s take this idea of being generous with consideration, no matter who is in the “right.”
I’d love for you to check back on Monday and share your experiences!