One of the first times I stopped to help what appeared to be a person with a flat, I got a good long (loud) lecture about how just because she was a woman, she wasn't helpless... how men should just ... if we'd all just... call the police if I don't ...
Honestly, I couldn't tell by sight at 5 feet is she was male or female. To say this response caught me by surprise is an understatement. Over the long haul, this experience did not deter me from stopping to help, I'm just a little more careful not to go bounding up like an over-excited Labrador puppy with my offers of assistance.
This is probably good advice from a security standpoint as well. Stop to help, but be situationally aware.
I am European as well, and although I completely agree that American people are the best part of the American experience (INS officials being an exceptions, because they are not humans, of course), there was this one exception the first week I came first time in my life to Boston. I was rushing to the revolving door and I saw a lady obviously some kind of professional who was rushing to the same doors. I have opened the door and hold it for her. I couldn't believe when I was slapped on my face and told she didn't need a help from a sexist pig. Fortunately, I have not gave up on being courteous and I have never repeated this experience, but this was surely weird situation.
I live in the Southern U.S. (Atlanta) and what I love the most about this place is how courteous people are. If I was walking towards a door and someone was there first, it would be uncommon for them not to hold it open, genders notwithstanding.
I am sorry you had this experience. There are always some people who take positive ideas to the other extreme and become exactly like the people they despise.
That makes sense. I tend to roll out the "Sorry about that" in situations like that because apology can be used to signal more than just sorrow or guilt--it is also a widely accepted method of disconnecting from a conversation. Just because someone surrenders doesn't mean they agree with you.
Really, though; the apology isn't the gist of what I was trying to say. The gist is that the parent poster was in no way obligated to stand and take that lady's entire retarded rant.