In what is being called “the ultimate act of betrayal” and “a sign that society is on the verge of collapse,” a pedestrian has failed to give a little wave of thanks after you let him cross the street.
The backstabbing took place on Thursday afternoon, and it was made all the more audacious considering you were in a great hurry to get to the boulangerie before it closed because you really needed a pain au chocolat to make your 22-minute drive home tolerable.
“It’s okay, I see you,” you mumbled to the pedestrian as you slowed down to let him cross in front of your 1400-kilogram vehicle. “Go ahead, you can pass.”
When you noticed he was hesitating, unsure if you really saw him, you half-smiled and motioned for him to cross, which he then did. That was when he failed to reciprocate.
“What a jackass,” you said to yourself, tempted to roll down your window and demand he come back and do what’s right.
The wave, which can be a subtle raising of the fingers or a more complex gesture involving the entire arm, has been socially prescribed ever since medieval landowners would order their drivers to slow their horse-drawn wagons to avoid crushing peasants who had drunkenly stumbled onto the road, experts say.
Dr. Leonora Hammelsplops, an etiquette educator and author of “Well, That Was Rude,” says that forgetting to thank a driver who has allowed you to cross is unpardonable.
“At a bare minuum, you need to smile and mouth the words ‘merci,’” she said “But for many of today’s benevolent drivers, you need to work a little harder to show your gratitude.”
“What you really should do is extend your arms and give what we call an ‘air hug’ and then say ‘best wishes to you and yours, my good sir’ – or milady, whatever the case may be.”