The summer before I entered Holy Cross, my Class Dean suggested all future Crusaders read Civility by Stephen Carter. My parents bought it for me at the bookstore during Gateways and it sat on my shelf all summer. Two days before I moved into Mulledy Hall I reluctantly read it and, (to my surprise) loved it. During my four years on “the hill,” I was pleased to find that random acts of kindness existed and the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others” lived strong…..and it still does.
Yesterday, I contemplated what my most distinct memory of the 2009 travel season was and as a result I reflected on several months on the road. One might think it was interviewing bright minds or meeting fabulous students, counselors, secretaries and teachers who all brightened my days on the road. Undoubtedly, my interactions with those people were some of my favorite memories but definitely not the most distinct. The day that truly sets itself apart was a lunch that managed to make me feel completely alone.
I had an hour break between high school visits so I decided to get some soup at Panera. As I placed the bowl down on the table the massive platter went flying and landed all over me. From my hair down to my shoes, I was covered. It was there, in a crowded restaurant, I became truly amazed with the lack of civility in today’s society. To my amazement not one person came over and offered a helping hand. Sadly, that day served as a tragic realization that civility sometimes fails to exist in our society.
Standing there embarrassed and smelling of vegetable broth I had a flashback to my first year at the Cross. I was in Kimball, enjoying a meal with my friends, when a girl slipped on a wet tile and went flying. The throngs of students that rushed to her side would have made Stephen Carter proud. I truly believe civility is commonplace at Holy Cross and I find myself constantly amazed by positive student actions. Sadly enough in the “real world” it is increasingly more difficult to find.
After all, my clumsy arm did ruin my cream pants but it was the pure example of fading civility which managed to destroy my entire day.