Dagoberto Gilb opens the essay "Pride" by juxtaposing the small and local with the vastness of space, planets, and stars. This sets the pattern for his essay, which is about pride, but not the overbearing pride of kings and conquerors. Gilb's subject is the pride of ordinary people behaving decently and treating others with respect. He shows the greater meaning of small actions, locating them within the context of a civilized society in the same way that he locates the Good Time Store "at the northwest corner of Altura and Copia in El Paso" within the immensity of the universe.
The three people in the parking lot do not appear to have much in common. One is an old or middle-aged man, "gray on the edges," the assistant manager of the store. Another is a young boy, engrossed in a video game, eating a snack and carrying a huge sugary drink. The third is a plump young woman in a revealing party dress. The assistant manager's pride is reflected in his appearance and deportment, his care over his work, but most of all his courtesy towards and concern for the other people. An ill-tempered man might have seen the other two figures as symbols of what is wrong with young people today. However, the assistant manager's pride, in which there is no trace of arrogance or conceit, creates an impression of dignity and harmony.