The news reporter’s comment that Jay Rodgers got shot merely for opening a door for another person doesn’t quite tell the whole story.
Man Shot After Manners Scolding
Channel 2’s Eric Philips reports.
May 13, 2011
ATLANTA — A Douglasville man said he was shot after trying to give another man a lesson on manners. Police are still looking for the shooter.
Jay Rodgers and his family were on their way home from a Tim McGraw concert last month when they stopped at an Atlanta Shell station so his niece could use the bathroom. He said he felt insulted after a man he encountered ignored a polite gesture.
“I opened up the door for a gentleman. He walked in, and I quietly said, ‘Why don’t you say thank you for holding the door open?’” Rodgers told Channel 2’s Eric Philips.
When the man didn’t respond, Rodgers said he followed him outside and asked him to say “thank you” again, but the man kept quiet.
“He went to his car, put whatever he purchased inside it, and he pulled out a gun and shot me from about 15 to 16 feet away from me,” Rodgers said. “I passed out in my wife’s arms.”
The remainder of this article as well as a news video can be viewed here.
The news media portrays Jay Rodgers as a hero of good graces and manners, a man shot in the defense of courtesy. I may be the first and only person to go on record for saying that had Jay Rodgers really understood manners, the likelihood of his getting shot would have been non-existent.
The first thing that jumps out was Mr. Rodger’s self serving manners. He expects something for his courtesy of opening the door and the price is some acknowledgment, some validation of his behavior from the person receiving the benefit of his actions. “Graciousness” is defined as “extending the hand of kindness to the undeserving”, and that includes clods who never acknowledge what you do for them. We exercise courtesy to others and strangers because it betters society and ourselves to do so. If you behave in socially courteous ways in order to receive reciprocity or verbal praise, you are being courteous for the wrong reasons.
Mr. Rodgers is solely responsible for his own manners (and as a parent, for his children’s until they are of age) and no one else’s. His second mistake was to assume it was within his sphere of responsibility to educate a total stranger, an adult male, in the ways of manners. It was not the time nor place to have that conversation even if he *was* in a position to speak into the man’s life.
Mr. Rodgers then is either oblivious or completely disregards the very obvious non-verbal message being given to him and proceeds to press his point by following the man and nagging him pedantically. He’s a man on a mission to fulfill his own agenda of “pushing” a manners education on a stranger rather than letting his example be the message. In summary, Mr. Rodgers was one rude dude.
Does this all justify someone pulling a gun and shooting him? Of course not. We all know the right and wrong of a very obvious illegal, criminal act. But it’s the subtle nuances of social interaction that people seem far more confused as to what is correct and what is not. Discretion is a large part of good manners, so is the good graces to overlook someone ignoring a kindness. Had Jay Rodgers opened the door for the man as just a courteous gesture to a fellow human with no expectation of receiving reciprocal courtesies, there would be no news story to report.