I don’t understand why it would be so inconvenient for just one person to interrupt a conversation and help someone. Really not a big deal, it would have taken only a few seconds to move a chair toward the table. What if that woman had been pushing a stroller and not a homeless woman pushing a cart? I fear our society has become so self- and ego-centric that courtesy is a concept and not a behavior.
My regret is that I didn’t look at the table and say something, except it might have been negative and judgmental because I was annoyed. “Too feeble to move your chairs?” and “That was callous” are aggressive statements and would have only clouded a social communication. And it’s not healthy to foment anger in myself much less incite it. We opted to assist rather than confront.
I wonder if I can stop expecting others to do what they wouldn’t want done to them. I wonder what it takes to increase social empathy. Foresight says this type of encounter will happen again, and next time I’m going with “Would you mind moving your chair so this lady can get by?” I’m committing myself to the process of reciprocal influence. Kind communication opens the possibility of constructive give and take. Give what you’d like to get applies to me too.
Sounds like a worthy and doable contribution to a new normal.