Thursday, March 05, 2009

There's just no pleasing some people

You might not believe me when I say this, but my mom and dad raised me to be polite to others, but there are times when you have to dial down you expectations from others where courtesy is concerned. Case in point:
Desiderio Fortunato, 54, is a Canadian citizen who was born in Portugal. As he sees it, border inspectors should be role models who live up to the pledges of goodwill posted on signs on both sides of the border.

But Mike Milne, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman, said the incident illustrates the importance of obeying lawful orders from uniformed officers, on the border or anywhere else.

Fortunato lives in Coquitlam and crosses the border two or three times a week to visit his second home in Blaine. Most of the time, he said, inspectors are courteous. But on Monday, when he attempted to cross into the U.S. shortly after noon, things were different.

"This gentleman was very aggressive to me," Fortunato said.

As Fortunato described it, the inspector ordered him to turn off his car in what Fortunato thought was a rude way.

"What I just requested was the word 'please,'" Fortunato said. "He repeated it (the order) three times and I repeated three times the word 'please.' ... He told me, 'Turn the car off or else I'm going to spray you.'"

Fortunato figured the officer wouldn't make good on the threat, since he wasn't being abusive or threatening to the officer.

He miscalculated.
Um, no law enforcement official has ever threatened to spray me in the face with pepper spray, but I've got to figure that if it ever happens, I'm going to stop insisting that he or she should ask me nicely to turn off my car.

Also not recommended: asking the officer to "Smile when you say that."

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