DEAR ABBY: Your letters about chivalry prompted mine. Years ago, I was standing in a crowded post office. There was a long wooden bench where customers could wait for their number to be called for their turn at the counter. Many people were standing that day.
I was in my 20s at the time and had four small children with me, when a man who appeared to be in his 70s struggled up off the bench and offered me his seat. He obviously needed it far more than I, so I refused his offer. He said a man couldn't even be a gentleman anymore. I have remembered his hurt all these 30 years. I'll never forgive myself for that thoughtless act.
Since then I have always thanked every man who steps aside, assists me, holds a door or offers me a seat. I am blessed to have a husband who does all those things for me -- even after more than 20 years together -- and I appreciate every gesture, no matter how small.
I hope that all the gentlemen who read your column will accept my gratitude. Some of us can do it for ourselves, but we also know that everyone can use kindness and assistance sometimes. -- CHARLA IN ROSEMEAD, CALIF.
DEAR CHARLA: I agree. Good manners dictate that every kindness we receive -- large or small -- be gratefully acknowledged.