Here’s the third student column, which we’ve started running monthly on the blog. Leslie Salvador is a senior at James Logan High in Union City.
Last month’s column was by Evangel Penumaka of Newark. Next month’s column will be by Jennifer Siew of Fremont.
By Leslie Salvador
New Haven Unified student board member
I have been fortunate to travel across the nation as a member of the renowned James Logan Forensics Speech and Debate Team. Last month, on my second trip to Mississippi to compete in the 2010 Hattiesburg Hub City Classic, I again experienced southern hospitality and realized that that trait is lacking in the Bay Area.
After roughly six hours of being on a plane, the James Logan Forensics Speech and Debate Team, headed by Coach Tommie Lindsey, was welcomed with open arms by two members of the Hattiesburg High School Forensics Team, Reggie and Cory, at the New Orleans airport. They rode with our team for two hours to Hattiesburg.
The time they sacrificed out of their schedules on a weekday to welcome us was a huge gesture, but the hospitality did not stop with the two young men. It started the moment I stepped off the plane and continued throughout the trip, which was something extraordinary. I have never felt so comfortable in a city other than Union City.
The major differences between Hattiesburg and Union City would be the courtesy and respect embedded among Southerners in their everyday lives. No matter where I went in Hattiesburg, be it the local grocery store or family-run restaurant, or in my interactions with other competitors, the use of “ma’am,” “sir,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” were used in every conversation.
The use of manners is not as apparent in Union City. Bay Area people are not as hospitable, simply because we like to keep to ourselves. We are so accustomed to going about our business with no expectations from those around us. Bay Area folks like to hold the door open occasionally or do the minimal day-to-day human interaction. However, down South, almost every person is willing to lend a helping hand – not only to neighbors or those they know but to complete strangers.
If only residents of Union City and other Bay Area cities could realize the impact warmness has, cities here would thrive more. This could be accomplished by a small smile or tiny acts of kindness. Union City has some work to do to catch up with the hospitality of Hattiesburg, which will always be a home away from home.