It takes courage to own up to a mistake, especially one that has had a negative impact on others, and very especially one that has exploded on social media to mark one a Very Bad Person. But that's what a gentleman is, someone who has the courage to admit a mistake and to do what's possible to make up for it. So Etiquetteer has to salute Jeff Conklin, the resident of the South End of Boston who parked his BMW next to a fire hydrant last week, rendering it useless in fighting a house fire. Unlike the generally accepted stereotype of BMW owners as simply not caring about the consequences to others of their actions, Mr. Conklin has taken the trouble to visit the neighborhood firehouse to apologize personally to the firefighters whose essential work was jeopardized. Etiquetteer can only imagine the strength of character that took, and can only express admiration.
Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham writes "The social media that connect us also make it distressingly easy to be vicious. Emboldened by anonymity, we pounce on people, convicting them with scant evidence." Mr. Conklin may now have to find within himself the strength to forgive hundreds of complete strangers who convicted, tarred, and feathered him before. And you may be sure that Etiquetteer shared that column with That Mr. Dimmick Who Thinks He Knows So Much, well known for his bitter tongue on many subjects.
In short, Mr. Conklin, through a grievous error, has proved what a gentleman he really is through his response to it - and many others have proved what ladies and gentlemen they are not.