I was raised to respect everyone, regardless of sex, race, creed and anything else that makes people individuals. Sure, we learned a lot of jokes that you would consider racial and/or discriminatory, but we also learned that there's a time and a place, and no real malice should be intended.
We were also taught manners: please, thank you, may I be excused from the table?, and so on.
So why is it that when you display those good manners and do things like holding a door for someone, you are greeted with surprise, albeit pleasant surprise?
Case in point from today: I had an appointment for a tuberculosis test, in connection with some volunteer work I'm planning to do at a hospital. There was an accident on the Queensway, so I called from my cellphone, and left voicemail saying that I might be a bit late, and apologizing for it. When I did arrive about ten minutes late, the nurse who gave me the test immediately thanked me, expressing delight that someone would be so thoughtful. I hope it didn't show how surprised I was, that she would be so surprised.
Another time, when I was still living in Timmins, I met Little Bro Dan, his mom and sister at the mall ("The Square" as it's known locally -- official name, Timmins Square) after work one Friday night. The guy at New York Fries thought that both Dan and Chantal were my kids, and told me how mannerly they were, always saying please and thank you, and how rare it is in kids. Rather than the entire explanation that they weren't my kids, I just thanked him for saying so, and passed along the word to their mom, who was even prouder of them than I was.
Common courtesy and the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I guess it is a rare commodity. Sad.