A reminder: It’s nice to be nice
December 6, 2017
Amid the vitriol and anger that has roiled this country and this valley during the past year, I wanted to share a story about being nice to each other.
I live in one of the larger apartment complexes in Aspen and am fully used to hearing my neighbors from time to time, a common apartment-living byproduct. Fortunately, my building features solid, cinder-block walls that mostly keep our lives separate and pleasant.
However, during the recent Thanksgiving weekend, that boundary was not thick enough.
That's because the neighbors whose bedroom abuts my bedroom went out of town and neglected to turn off their clock radio alarm before they left. So, beginning Thursday and lasting until Sunday, the beep-beep-beep of said alarm began at 4:45 each morning and, with no one to turn it off, kept right on chirping.
I don't ever arise at 4:45 a.m., thankfully, so the first two mornings, I moved to the other room when the merciless beeping began, and eventually fell back asleep. The next two mornings, I simply went to sleep in the other room and wasn't bothered by the infernal beeping.
Was I annoyed? Of course. Was I angry? Not really.
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Their oversight was clearly not intentional and I figured there was no use getting mad about a situation I could do nothing about.
Instead I wrote a simple, pleasant note asking them to please turn off their alarm the next time they left town. I said thanks and wished them happy holidays before signing my name and apartment number and tucking it into their doorjamb.
You can imagine my joy upon waking up Monday morning in my bedroom to a quiet, normal, non-alarm beeping day. I really didn't think much more about the situation and resolved to be thankful for the little things in life like quiet mornings.
Then, two days later, I was home in the evening listening to music when I heard a knock at the door. I thought maybe my neighbors on the other side were going to ask me to turn down the punk rock, though they've never done that before.
But when I opened the door, I did not recognize the young couple standing before me.
The man held out a plastic container with a large brownie inside and a red bow on top.
"It's a peace offering," he said, bringing up the alarm situation.
His wife handed me an envelope and both profusely apologized for the alarm incident. We did not know each other previously, so introductions were made, handshakes exchanged and fences mended.
When they left, I opened the envelope and found a nice note assuring me they would not leave the alarm on again and thanking me for telling them about it. They also included a gift card for a coffee shop in town.
Their kindness made me smile and has stuck with me.
"That's the way you handle a situation like that," I thought to myself. I was also glad I didn't think to leave an angry note chastising these nice people for an honest mistake.
So I thought I'd pass the story on. Whether it's the holidays or not, try to remember: It's nice to be nice.