What Is This, Gentlemen’s Day?

 

During Poemvember last year, a few interesting things happened.  One such event was the first Sunday in November.  Two guys and myself from our church community’s men’s group went to the local mall on a mission.  It had the potential for danger, for uncertainty, and stares upon stares from the masses.  We were going to the belly of the beast for one reason only: to hold open doors.

 

Where Are All The Thanksgiving Carols?

The three of us arrived this brisk fall Sunday afternoon with our spirits high.  We were going to do a service project inspired by a man I knew in the late ’90s who, every spankin’ Sunday, would go to the mall to hold open the main entrance doors for people.  Not for money, not for recognition.  It was his gift to the community.

The idea was pitched, the guys were all about it, and there we were.  As we divided up at the main entrance to Spotsylvania Town Centre (If you are from around here, you can truly appreciate how funny it is center is spelled the old english way of centre.) and began our task, we quickly realized having another person would have worked out much better.

After the human traffic jam we inadvertently caused, we quickly reorganized and I manned the inner door while Sean and Chuck took care of the outer doors.  As people walked up, we smiled and opened the doors for them.  This garnered a few different reactions:

 

The Why Are You Doing This Reaction– Our response of “we wanted to provide a service to the community” sat well with some people, others not so much.  A few people thought we were employed by the mall, one lady asked Sean something to the effect of was this court ordered.  Funny now, not at the time.  Okay, it was funny at the time too.

The “I Don’t Deserve To Have a Door Opened For Me Reaction”– Several people would say, “Is this for me?” or “I feel like a princess” or something that seemed to indicate they were not accustomed to having a door opened for them, in particular by men.  One lady, bless her heart, said, “What is this, gentlemen’s day?”  I smiled and thought to myself, “Thank you ma’am, you have provide a fine title to this story when I write it up.”

The “I’m A Grown Man/Woman And I’m Capable Of Opening My Own Doors Thank You Very Much” Reaction-  Sir, I have an open door you can walk through and you see me but you’re going to open you’re own door and ignore Sean and Chuck’s open door too.  I don’t know what kind of day you may have had, but happy holidays?

The Woman With A Stroller, A Bunch Of Kids, Bags Upon Bags of Gifts, Who Is About To Go Off On Somebody Reaction-  There were several women and men with strollers who seemed appreciative of our little service project.  The good feeling I felt was the free prize I had not expected.

In the midst of all this, whoever the Mall Town Centre DJ was decided it was time for Christmas Carols.  No, I’m not against the carols, I love rudolph and trying to figure out why “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a Christmas song as much as the next person.  But Halloween was just last week.  What about Thanksgiving?  Where are the Thanksgiving Carols?  I’m going to spankin’ write one one day, but I’ll need your help to market that bad boy.

 

The Fuzz and My Favorite Shopper

About 30 minutes into the gig, a Town Centre security guard approached us.  Uh-oh, it’s the man.  Who dropped a dime on us?  Who sold us out?  Who…oh it’s okay and you just wanted to know why we were doing this?  Word.  Also, check this out:  the Town Centre security guard held the door open for people for about a minute.  Nice.

I figured out a system to cause people to walk through my open door.  If I opened the door, made eye contact, and threw in a smile before they reached the spot where the floor tiles changed color near the doors, they were more likely to walk through my open door than tackle opening a door on their own.

Also, kids seemed to figure out quicker there were guys holding doors open than the adults did.  Make of that what you will.  Some people would also open their own door, see me holding a door open for them, and then apologize to me.  Again, make of that what you will.

My favorite person who walked through my door, hands down, was the guy with the pony tail in the fur coat.  Let me paint you a portrait:  He was tall, probably like 6ft, 6ft 2in., green shirt, blue jeans, big black boots.  A full length, thick brown fur coat with his hair slicked back into a pony tail, each ear rockin’ their own collection of earrings.

Maybe it’s because I’ve watched 4 1/2 seasons of Psych, but this man is now in my permanent memory.  I may not be able to tell you all the state capitals (Do you know the capital of Wyoming or South Dakota?  Ok then.)  but I’ll remember this guy’s outfit for life.  I salute you sir and if by some miracle you’re reading this, thank you for your bravery.

 

This was a wonderful project, we stayed about 2 hours, and we didn’t spend a penny to do this.  All it took was gumption, time, and energy.  It is still fascinating to me how something as small as holding the door open for someone seemed to make the day of so many people.  Until next time, may hope be with you, may hope be multiplied.

(What small thing could you do for someone that could make a big impact?  Or what small thing did someone do for you that absolutely made your day?)

 

 

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2 Comments

  • I loved reading this – it is so very YOU and all the things that make you wonderful and thoughtful! People are so quirky about how they respond to small kindness, and you have captured that so well.
    I think the biggest “small thing” that I learned was how simple comforts are not at all complicated as a ministry. I was at a band event with Ed in the mountains – it was an all day thing in late October and it was not only much colder than predicted, it POURED. Like, “rain dripping off your nose” poured. While we were sitting on metal bleachers with no raincoats. I finally gave up, practically in tears because I was so cold/miserable/hungry/etc and went back to the truck for a bit. It wasn’t the world’s most comfortable to place to lie down, but it was warmer than outside, it was certainly dry and, glory of glories, there was a granola bar in there. I was warm, dry and had something to eat. 20 minutes later, I was refreshed and ready to take on the remainder of the event, rain and all. While a homeless soul may disagree with me, it burned into my mind how simple the ministry of creature comforts can be to those who don’t have them. You don’t have to fix the world all at once to make it a nicer place – even if just for 20 minutes or an hour – for someone who needs it. One of my very favorite quotations is from Edward Everett Hale and goes along the lines of: I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I CAN do.

    Sorry for the novel! Thanks for holding the doors 🙂

  • Hey Heidi!! Thank you so much for the kind words. Your story sounds like a true adventure, good grief. I’m glad it all worked out, how was that ride back?

    “You don’t have to fix the world all at once to make it a nicer place – even if just for 20 minutes or an hour – for someone who needs it.” – wow, that is amazing Heidi and actually coincides with the poem I’m tinkering with for tomorrow, who told you? 🙂

    ps. Love the Edward E. Hale quote, spankin’ awesome!

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