For the last week, I’ve been traveling in Amish country (Lancaster County, PA). The guidebooks have plenty to say to keep tourists from getting underfoot, to the point where a shy person like me would hardly want to speak to an Amish person for fear of giving offense. But you know what? Without exception I was treated with kindness, and my respect for the plain people grew with every conversation.
I know. Folks are folks, wherever you find them. Kindness and respect will usually meet kindness and respect in turn. Take Omar, for instance, who works at Abe’s Buggy Rides. Not only did I get a private drive, just him and me, but he knew I wanted to drive the buggy. So without ado, he handed me the reins. Just at that moment a tourist bus came around the corner and I froze in sheer terror. What should I do? Stop? Go? Turn off? The horse could have run away with me and I couldn’t have done a thing. Omar laughed and called up to the bus driver (who had brought the bus to a halt), “Women drivers!”
Everyone laughed, including me, while I got the reins in hand and flapped them over Magic the horse’s back. It wasn’t until we were trotting on up the road that Omar began to apologize for his joke. Horrified that he would think I could take offense at my own idiocy, I stopped him and told him I’d thought it was funny, too. Plus, you know, I am a woman. And I was driving 🙂 You see, Omar’s humility was such that he was afraid he had hurt my feelings. And since that bus had humbled me big time, we met on equal ground.
After that, conversation just rolled and we became good friends. I was able to learn what I had come to learn, plus picked up a few nifty facts on the way.