2018-05-10 / Opinion

Guest View

The Friendly Island

We are about to celebrate our first year living on “the island” after forty-plus years in the Boston area and from the first minute we got here we have been so impressed by how friendly and helpful everyone is. Our first hour here, we used the same multi-national bank that we had in Boston to transfer the funds for our new home purchase but the difference in customer service and friendliness was striking but we later found that was not unusual.

One would expect smaller businesses to offer great service and we have not been disappointed but the same attitude often extends to branches of national chains as well. Imagine my surprise when the cashier at a big box store advised me to drive carefully as the roads were slippery! We have witnessed or been the beneficiary of many kind acts such as seeing drivers offer rides to pedestrians caught in the rain or the day a stranger offered to return my wife’s library books so she wouldn’t have to get out of the car.

In the past year I have bicycled nearly two thousand miles on The Island and never felt unsafe or threatened by motor vehicles. At intersections, drivers generally wave me through even though they have the right of way. Once, I stopped to wait for a friend and a passing car stopped to see if I needed help.

We have often wondered what factors lead to this different way of dealing with others. Perhaps it is a sense of community that we-are-all-in-it-together or maybe a slower pace of life or that we all live together in a somewhat confined geography. It’s a bit like being in the South, minus the sweet iced tea and southern drawls.

Of course, we know the proper name of our Island is Rhode Island, commonly called Aquidneck, but our nickname should be The Friendly Island. – Fred DeFinis, Middletown

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