The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Bitte Schön

He stands up when the little old lady comes through the doors, since there are no available seats in his section of the U-Bahn. It is not a crowded mid-day, not a rush hour, but so many are sitting with newspapers covering their faces, like shy movie extras. The non-descript Austrian businessman sets himself apart by his politeness.

Yet, the old woman doesn’t see him rise, doesn’t notice him clearing a place, as she is deep in discussion with her pint-sized dog.

He is then compelled to stand in the aisle and crowd against two teenage girls with overly thin eyebrows that lift then drop with annoyance as they hold their ground.  His knees bend like Chaplin, but he hovers, stands again.  This tall man tries to take up no space, tries to go back to being part of the crowd as he reddens and shifts.

Finally, the woman seems to be looking toward him, her head tilting up from her sole companion, but she is only in a trance, staring past the open seat with his act and gaze of kindness.

At the next stop, the misguidedly chivalrous man of the U-Bahn exhales. He opt to exit in an embarrassed rush. And he pushes through the unmoving passengers, jostling the old woman who tsk-tsks to her dog before she notices a vacant seat.

-Vienna, Austria.

Loveland scuplture park, Loveland Colorado

In the Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, Colorado

12 comments on “Bitte Schön

  1. adinparadise
    October 25, 2013

    An interesting and sad account of this incident. A very unusual sculpture. I like it. 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 25, 2013

      Oh no, I didn’t want it to be sad. He was so sweet and she was so oblivious! 🙂

      • adinparadise
        October 25, 2013

        Well. I suppose it was comical in a sad sort of way. 🙂

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        October 26, 2013

        Well, this was one of my first ever posts on the blog, so maybe I didn’t have my “nice rhythm” down quite yet.
        It was the mean girls, wasn’t it? They ruin everything!

  2. billgncs
    October 25, 2013

    no good deed goes unpunished

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 25, 2013

      Haha, my Dad says that all the time.
      But, good deeds might get you a starring role in a blog post!

      • billgncs
        October 25, 2013

        I did something good once, but it was so long ago I can’t remember it. Or maybe I just dreamed it.

        You have a nice, positive blog here

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        October 26, 2013

        Well, when I put nice in the title, I locked myself into a theme. It works for me, though. I’m not a Pollyanna, but my Mom does resemble Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. So… 🙂

      • billgncs
        October 26, 2013

        I think what you are doing is great. To me, kindness is the most noble of actions. And the of course “the hills are alive…..” 🙂

  3. Mary Ann
    October 26, 2013

    Funny how people can be so absorbed in their own thoughts that they don’t even know what’s going on around them! I can relate to that sometimes. 🙂

    Nice post!!!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 26, 2013

      Thank you Mary Ann! I agree. This reminds me not to be too wrapped up in myself (I don’t have a little dog to distract me). 🙂

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2011 by in Travel and tagged , , .

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