Look, I adore Canada. I’ve been there on a few occasions, and I’ve also been to a few other countries in order to truly calibrate what I’m about to prove. As an American, I’ll confess that we have a serious attitude problem. I actually have reverse culture shock for a week whenever I return home from a place like Japan (where kindness abounds).
All that said, Canada rules. The people are as nice as you hear they are, and I’ve got the list to prove it. I just spent five days in Alberta and British Columbia, and in just 120 hours, all of these things happened.
- Jasper, Alberta cops are called Peace Officers. No, I’m serious. They straight-up dropped “Police” and went with “Peace.” Just look at the picture above. Cute, right?
- I was told “Hello!” and “Welcome!” three times by airport greeters before reaching customs. In America, I dare you to whip your phone out after you’ve arrived back in the terminal from overseas. Double-dog dare you.
- Certain Canadian elevators only have an ‘Open Door’ button, not a ‘Close Door’ button. Think about this. In America, we all secretly smash the ‘Close Door’ button as soon as we get on, just praying that no one else hops on and delays our ascent for even a second. In Canada, elevators are built to chill, and to gleefully welcome that latecomer along for the ride.
- Retail and fast food employees greet you with a smile and actually care about your satisfaction. What a concept.
- At a coffee shop in Alberta, a gentleman cheerfully asked the barista if “that drink over there” was his. The barista looked over as she was preparing someone else’s drink, nodded in affirmation, and then received the following line from the customer: “Not to worry, no hurry!” That phrase has literally never been uttered by an American.
- Waitstaff say “Thank you!” when I thank them for bringing something I asked for. It’s like Thank You Inception.
- On SportsCenter (sorry, SportsCentre), they highlighted the lone Canadian in the U.S. Open and congratulated him for making it two rounds before getting cut… with a 10 over. In America, we’d probably throw shade at our countryman’s unborn child for such an abominable performance.
- Canadians actually wait for the ‘Walk’ sign at crosswalks, even with no traffic in sight. It’s like they’re actually happy to abide by common road rules.
- Whilst lost in a foreign grocery, I asked an employee — one that was busy unpacking boxes and restocking shelves — where I could find prunes. He then proceeded to tell me which aisle to search on, and then offered to walk me over and show me where prunes were. The last time I asked a grocery employee in America for advice, I a) came away with no concrete answer and b) felt eerily guilty for seemingly ruining their life.
- A Tim Hortons employee — crazed handling zillions of orders during the morning rush — stopped everything to go hunt in the back for a plastic fork that I requested, and then handed it to me with a smile. Go into Starbucks during the morning rush and ask for anything. Good luck.
In other news, I’ve been having these odd dreams whereby my passport has an awesome, iconic maple leaf on it…
(Thanks for being awesome, Canada!)
(And you too, America!)