Recently, my daughter's fifth grade class traveled to the local college for an activity. While they were waiting to board the bus, a college student rode his skateboard directly through the group of kids. He did not ride around the group. He did not stop and pick up his board and politely make his way through the kids. He did not say, "Excuse me," and wait for the group to part. Instead, he rode straight through the middle and in the process ran over my daughter's foot. Immediately, my daughter was told by her teacher to apologize for "getting in his way." She apologized. The college student? He grunted at her and then took off on his skateboard.
My daughter came home limping and when we removed her shoe, her foot was swollen and her big toe was visibly injured. Thankfully, the toe wasn't broken, but for several days she hobbled around until her foot wasn't so sore.
Both she and her cousin (who was with her during the incident) were bewildered as to why my daughter had to apologize since it wasn't her fault. I told her that apologizing was the right thing to do, even if it wasn't her fault, because it showed she was sorry that the collision occurred and usually people don't apologize enough (rather than too much). With that said, she asked why the college student (probably 8-10 years older than her) never apologized even though he'd clearly injured her. I couldn't answer her question. I think her feelings were hurt much worse than her foot.
I'm appalled that this young man, seeing he'd injured a little girl, didn't apologize. Have we, as a society, forgotten common courtesy? Have we become so self-absorbed that when we see we've hurt someone else, even if it's unintentional, we don't care? This college student didn't even ask my daughter if she was okay. He simply jumped on his skateboard and rode away.
I hope I can remember to apologize when I need to, and even if I don't. An absence of an apology can go a long way, but a sincere apology can go even further.