The Gospel of Dalton: Be nice

In what we all agree is one of cinema’s finest moments, bar bouncer Dalton, in the critically acclaimed film “Road House,” instructs his team of bouncers to “Be nice.” If you are unfamiliar with this movie or this scene, you can pretty much turn on cable any time and find it. That and “Shawshank Redemption.”

But Dalton’s point rings true: Be nice. And good readers, I implore you today: Be nice. I have experienced some non niceties recently, and I think we can all be better.

So a few ways you can, like Dalton says, be nice:

  • If you drive a truck or an SUV, you are not, by definition, a compact car. So please, in a parking garage, don’t try and wedge yourself into a spot designated for a compact car. Oftentimes, you take up two spaces, which is not nice. Other times, you park about three inches from my driver’s side door, which means I have to climb through the passenger’s side car to get in. Add to that I was wearing a suit at the time, and while I will grant you the visual is worth a chuckle, it’s not nice.
  • If you are at the grocery store and have an overflowing shopping cart and a guy behind you has just a jug of milk, let him go ahead of you. Especially if he looks remarkably like me.
  • Speaking of the grocery store, you know those plastic bags they put your stuff in? Yeah, you can hang on to those, and then, when you are walking your dog, you can use said bags to pick up your dog’s mess from other people’s yard. Or you can be extra fancy like me and get a little thing that clips to your leash that carries bags just for that purpose. The little container is even shaped like a bone.
  • People are often criticized for failure to use turn signals. However, equally egregious is assuming that a turn signal is an automatic pass to begin merging over into a lane. You know what’s nice? When you make sure the other driver actually sees you and lets you in, rather than just barging into the lane nearly causing a collision.
  • That crying baby in public? No, it’s not pleasant to listen to. But you know who it’s most unpleasant for? The parents trying to soothe it. That said, parents — it’s nice to maybe take said unhappy camper outside for a little jaunt. Goodness knows I have taken plenty of walks out of events in order to soothe a crying baby, and that includes quite a few meals at restaurants, as well as my sister’s wedding.
  • I love sports, especially college football. One aspect of sports I have never loved is the trash talking, in particular to strangers in public. We’re a Bama family, so we have had our share of success over the last few years. That said, hey, awesome job by the Clemson Tigers, and a well deserved national championship win. But you know what’s not nice? Walking up to my son, while he is wearing a Bama shirt, and pointing to your Clemson shirt and saying, “Yeah, we rolled you! HAHAHAHAHA!” That’s not an indictment of Clemson fans. I know there are plenty of obnoxious Bama fans, too. Every fanbase has them. And they should all be nice as well. And really no grown-up should ever talk trash to a kid. You’re a grown man, and I don’t care how many beers you’ve had.
  • I am legally required to include returning shopping carts in this column.

So there you go, America. A few simple measures you can take to just be nice. Dalton thanks you for your service.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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