We rented a car and drove throughout Europe in the summer of 1998. It was Sheryl and me together with our moms. On this day though, we had to leave the car behind. The rental car company would not allow us to drive into the recently opened Czech Republic. So we sat down on the train, four seats facing each other in pairs, ready for a full day of adventures. It was sunny and warm and we had our backpacks supplied for a day trip to Prague.
Just before the train pulled out of the station, a very friendly young man passed by and asked Sheryl, “Can I have a sip of your water?” Sweet Sheryl had one of those tall bottles of Evian water as yet unopened. It would last her a full day in the 100+ heat. But this guy reached out his hand as she hesitantly agreed. He cracked it opened, took a swig and handed it back to her enthusiastically saying “Thanks!” She had such a look of disgusted disappointment on her face. It hadn’t occurred to her early enough to tell the vagrant who obviously hadn’t bathed in many days that “no, you cannot sip from my water bottle.”
Lesson learned: It is wholly appropriate and necessary to say “no” sometimes and often…even to very friendly people who smile though green teeth.