To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I read Shawna Norton’s letter ("What became of Berkshire kindness?," Aug. 21) with dismay but not surprise. I’m not jumping into the "native vs. tourist" fray that has been in the Eagle lately because I think it’s irrelevant. Kindness and rudeness are never irrelevant.

As a teacher with more than 30 years of experience, it was especially jarring for me to read the insult from the woman who was asked to move her picnic from the parking lot. People who say such things are known the world over by an epithet this paper can’t print, and Shawna’s friend should ignore the woman’s words and attitude. Anyway, the woman must be somewhat confused; there are no parking attendants at McDonald’s.

My son has been parking cars this summer at a popular venue, and he has noted some similar behavior. He has also told me about kind people who ask him how he’s doing, compliment him on his work, and cooperate with him. He enjoys their good spirit.

All three of my daughters worked as servers in various local restaurants. They had similar experiences with kindness and gentleness juxtaposed with rudeness. In fact, one of them waited on a man who had a short-lived career in the U.S. Senate. Before his election, much was made of his being a "regular guy" as he drove around in his pickup truck. He ensured that I would never vote for him for any position when I heard that he had been rude to my daughter.


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A "regular guy’’ would know from experience that the girl was working hard because she had to. The effects of our acts of kindness or rudeness can be far-reaching and long-lived, and we may not even know what they are!

As I’ve listened to my son talk about his difficult encounters in the parking lot this summer, I’ve wondered about the lives of rude people. I imagine that they also make tradespeople wait for payment because it gives them power, or maybe just because they don’t think paying the plumber is important. I wonder if they have ever delivered newspapers, worked in a delicatessen, painted houses, moved furniture, parked cars, sold shoes, flagged traffic, or many of the others jobs people do. I’ve done all those and a few more. I hope that those jobs have made me sensitive to the people I encounter daily in the stores, on the roads, or hopping from trucks to make a delivery.

I have noted that my children’s experiences have made them more sensitive and kind in this regard. Shawna and her friend and anyone in service should remember these experiences and choose a life of kindness.

That way, wherever they go, they will make it a better place.

KEVIN KAVANAH

Great Barrington