I was pondering this on the flight home from NYC this past weekend and laughed over the stereotype that New Yorkers are “rude” This has certainly NEVER been my experience.
Over the last couple of years I’ve made about a dozen trips to the city for various reasons. Business and personal. And I’ve never had a single experience with a “rude” New Yorker.
My love for New Yorkers actually dates back YEARS and I’ll tell you a story :)
When I was a teenager, I spent a summer in France as an exchange student. When I was sixteen I participated in an exchange program and this was also going to be my first flight EVER.
These were the days of no cell phones and no computers to check flight statuses or changes online, nor did you receive “alerts” if your flight was changed or canceled. These were also the days of paper tickets you received in ADVANCE and well you showed up at the airport and just HOPED that your flight hadn’t changed or been cancelled.
I was flying out of New Orleans with a group of exchange students all from Louisiana and we had a connection in Charlotte where we’d meet up with MORE exchange students and then we were flying on to JFK where we’d get our Air France flight to Paris.
I lived in central Louisiana and we had family in Baton Rouge so we drove and spent the night with them the night before my early a.m. flight out of New Orleans. Well, when we arrived at the airport we were met by a harried exchange student representative who said they’d tried to call us the evening before to let me know my flight had been changed to a much EARLIER flight, a flight I had now MISSED and they’d also called every single hotel in the New Orleans area, hoping to “find” us, not realizing we’d spent the night in Baton Rouge.
They then told me I had FIVE minutes to catch a flight to Detroit where I could then connect to Laguardia and a representative would meet me there and we’d take a taxi to JFK. My mother was freaking out and of course didn’t want her baby thrown onto a different flight where I’d have NO supervision or anyone else traveling WITH me but what else were we to do?
My luggage obviously wasn’t going to make it on the flight to Detroit but they assured me it would “catch up to me” They then rushed me to the terminal where the plane was already pulling AWAY from the gate. They called it to come BACK for me (that would SO never happen today lol. Once that door closes there is no reopening it!)
So I get on the plane and everyone is staring at me because they had to pull BACK to get me. The stewardess then very apologetically told me that since I was an unplanned passenger that she had nothing to eat for me but offered me a coke instead.
I flew to Detroit not knowing WHAT I was supposed to do. A very nice agent at least got me to the gate with the connection to Laguardia and I sat on the floor for two hours waiting to board.
I was seated in the very front row of coach and still terrified. I was seated next to a woman who looked to be in her 40s and her teenage son. The woman must have sensed my utter terror and noted the fact that I was an unaccompanied minor and so she asked me my name and where I was traveling etc.
Turns out she was a New Yorker and her and her son had been visiting the university of Michigan and were now returning home. When she learned of my circumstances she instantly mothered me and talked to me the entire flight and took me under her wing and promised to stay with me when we landed until we found a representative. How awesome was she? I’ve never forgotten her to this day.
When we landed, she took me in hand and told me everything would be fine and true to her word, she stayed with me until we found a representative from my exchange program. But her kindness didn’t end there. She took my phone number and promised to call my parents and assure them that I’d arrived safely in NYC and had met back up with my exchange group.
When I got home a month later, I wrote her a letter to thank her for her kindness and she wrote me back and we exchanged letters for a couple of years. I”ll never forget her. She took a terrified teenager under her wing and kept me from melting down. And she was a supposed “rude” New Yorker *snort*
In all my trips to NYC since all those years ago, I have never encountered rudeness at all. In fact, I’ve found New Yorkers to be some of the kindest, most generous people in the world. And I’ve traveled a LOT since that first flight when I was a teenager.
This past weekend I took my oldest son to NYC for his birthday because my younger two children had gone with me in the past but this was my oldest’s first visit. He too marveled at how NICE everyone was.
So while the “south” may have a reputation for “southern hospitality” we certainly don’t have the market cornered on nice OR hospitable!
And that’s my shout out to all the lovely New Yorkers I’ve met during my travels and especially to the wonderful woman who took a scared teenage girl under her wing and mothered her :)
10 thoughts on “I love New Yorkers”
As a born and bread NY’er I love that you love us, cause you are my favorite writer. My first romance book *the one that started me on my path as an addict* was “Sweet Persuasion”
Although I was born and raised the first 13 yrs of my life, we moved to the subburbs of New Jersey, but about 10 yrs ago, I moved back to home state after visiting on/off for the last 15 yrs. And I have to admit – I have not experienced a nice New Yorker to date (I’m in my late 30’s).
It’s nice to read how others view the citizens here, but I hope someday soon I too can meet one of these nice people. This did warm my heart to hear that they do in fact exist!
I love NYC and I couldn’t agree more about the people. I have never encountered rudeness or mean while I was there. It is a shame that you lost contact with the woman from the plane.
I’m a Canadian but but spent the first 11 years of my life in Far Rockaway, N.Y. so N.Y. holds a dear place close to my heart, along with your story Maya. Thank you for sharing.
As somebody who was born on Long Island only a 20 minute train ride into NYC. Have family in the Catskill mountains and in and around the Buffalo area I can’t help but love New York. I now live in Florida and people aren’t as hurried and talk more to strangers but it doesn’t beat home :)
Well thank you so much for noticing that we are indeed a special breed here in NY. I spent the first 11 yrs of my life in Brookyn the next 18 in Staten Island, then moved the Hudson Valley after I got married. I’ve worked in Mahattan my whole life.
Love this post Maya! I was born and raised in Long Island, NY and lived there until just three years ago and I agree that we unfortunately have a bad reputation. There are many kind, caring and generous people living in NY who are more than willing to help and do for others. What a lovely lady to take you under her wing like that :).
I can totally relate. Everyone told me how RUDE Parisians were and how obnoxious the French were, and OMG I didn’t meet a single rude or obnoxious person there.
In fact, when mom and I were taking the train from Paris to Versailles, we ended up on the wrong train. Two strangers (to ourselves and each other) both overheard us talking, told us we were on the wrong train, got us off the train, walked us to the train we should have been on, waited with us until we got on the right train, before they both returned to pick up their train again to continue on their way.
Yeah. Rude. Right. Everyone I met was so nice and helpful to the American trying to find her way around. My uncle, on that same trip, bitched and complained about the French the entire time he was there and didn’t meet a single “nice” person. Just goes to show it’s all in how you approach people. I always did it with a smile and grateful they spoke more English than I did French.
I have been to NY a few times and have loved it. I found that like everywhere else there are rude and nice people there.
I went to NY the first time in high school and we got lost in a not so nice section of town, our chaperon asked a nice weirdly dressed lady the way back to our hotel and she walked us back.
As a born and bred New Yorker, I so appreciate your shout out to us, New Yorkers, and for attempting to dispel the rude New Yorker stereotype. We, New Yorkers, love everyone, we are just in a hurry most of the time
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