Dear Assh*les, Stop Being Rude To The Elderly

by Kathryn Durkin

Dear Sir,

I hope this letter finds you well.

The last time I saw you, you were screaming at an older gentleman (probably around the age of 70) from your car window. He tried to go into the left lane and cut you off by accident. He was going to miss his turn.

He had to go to the grocery store to pick up his food for the week. It's a rarity that he feels well enough to leave the house and get to the store before closing time. Most days, he doesn't want to leave his house, for fear of running into people like you.

I'm writing this letter to try and figure out why you were so angry. Was it because the older gentleman was not moving fast enough for you? I sure hope not because in about 10 years, you'll be in that same position.

It's people like you who disgust me about the human race. It's people like you who make me want to move to a country where people respect their elders. Do you know about that tradition? It's a biggie. You should Google it.

I used to be like you, angry and upset when somebody would pull in front of me to make a left turn. I used to yell and scream in my car about how stupid that person was. Until one day, one of those elderly people resembled my late grandmother.

I could see the embarrassment on her face grow the more I yelled. I stopped, looked around and saw others staring. Why was I angry? Maybe, I was late to work, which is not an excuse, by the way.

I pulled over, apologized to the woman in the car and pulled myself together.

My grandmother, Rose, was one of the best women I have ever had the pleasure to meet. When my grandfather was in the army, she bought her own car and started her life before he came back. That way, they would be financially stable when he returned to the states.

As they got older, my parents and my uncle could see that my grandparents were getting fragile. Nothing to be ashamed about, but it was time to let other people take care of them. This was unacceptable.

My grandparents still drove around, even when my grandfather was legally blind. This horrified my family, but they were too proud to let us help.

They once were the people on whom others depended. They liked the way that felt.

There isn't a day that goes by I don't think about my grandparents when I see an elderly person on the road, in the grocery store or on line in the bank. I sure hope you have the same experience so you can stop being an assh*le.

I am also writing this letter to ask you about your family traditions: What were your parents like? Did they teach you respect? Mine did. How old are you? In other words, do you have a membership to AARP? My parents do.

My parents are in their early 60s, probably around the same age as you. My parents are fun-loving, hilarious and wonderful. Without them knowing, I witnessed some changes in their everyday lives. All of their children moved out of the house and they love it.

They go on adventures almost every weekend and take things a little slower. There is no little league practice, followed by a gymnastics tournaments anymore. Instead, there are lunches with old friends and quiet nights at home.

At times, I can see new quirks both of my parents have developed. My father has a specific routine to his day. He needs his lottery cards and his coffee after he has finished his work.

My mother sometimes will not see a car in her blind spot or she will ask a cashier a question about her transaction. There is nothing wrong with this; they are doing the best they can.

I feel there is a factor of fear that existed within your angry outburst. No matter how old you are, this is inevitable. You will grow old. You will be that person one day. Would you want to be treated how you treated that man? I doubt it.

There will always be that “idiot” on the road. Some day, that idiot will be you. In the meantime, be kind.

Take the time to wave on that car and stop tapping your foot in the line at the bank. Remember that your life and life, in general, is a fleeting phenomenon. It is not worth the anger and stress.