I see a woman in an electronic car on the other side of the glass doors and jog to reach the door handle first. I pull it open, step through and stand aside to allow her car to move through easily. She gives me a quick thank you and maneuvers between the door jamb like a pro.
My fingers relax when I see a woman heading towards the door in the opposite direction. I stand still as a statue and wait for her to pass.
A man saunters behind her, “My own personal doorman!” he quips.
“Door woman,” I correct and smile.
With no one else in site, I let the door slip from my hands.
I like holding the door. It’s an easy way to show a stranger a small act of kindness and shows my kids that common courtesy does have a place in everyday life.
My boys love to open doors for people. It’s something they can manage on their own and get immediate satisfaction (and praise). “Aren’t you sweet!” “What a nice young man you are!” “Welll, thank you!”
They beam proudly certain their halos are blinding me. With such feedback, they’ll stand patiently until the parade of people ends.
Which leads me to wonder how can such a simple thing turn to such a tricky and confusing business?
When I. and I visited New York City in the fall, I found if I held the door the line of people never ended. At the Starbucks in Time Square, I held the door for a line of no less than twenty people. It never ended. No one offered to take my place. No one motioned for me to step aside and let him have a turn at the fun.
When is it polite to let go of the door? After one person? Two? When you’ve losing a visual on your 9-year-old who has continued to walk down the sidewalk? Maybe instead of grabbing the door, we should relieve the doorman. Now wouldn’t that be random.