Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A real class act

The story has been making the rounds all month: White House advisor Valerie Jarrett was attending a recent Washington dinner when Four-star Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli walked behind her. Jarrett, sitting down, only saw the general’s striped pants that resembled a waiter’s.

So she asked him for a glass of wine.

Ouch! Talk about embarrassing. But haven’t we all had some seriously red-faced social mistake? True, it probably wasn’t with someone who has Chiarelli’s rank (although if it was, you should tell us about it!) - but just the same, it might well have kept you up at night as you replay your mistake over and over.

So, what did Chiarelli do?

He got her some wine.

“It was an honest mistake that ANYONE could have made,” Chiarelli wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “…She apologized and will come to the house for dinner if a date can be worked out in March.”

As one journalist and author wrote, Chiarelli’s kindness should be the rule, but is sometimes the exception—as in the case of one famous singer, who demanded that an usher who didn’t recognize him be dismissed.

We may not be famous, but we can all learn from Chiarelli’s example.

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