I do my best to be kind to others, no matter my mood or situation. I’d like to think that with my friendly disposition, I’d get the same in return from everyone I encounter; not so much.
I can’t shake my bewilderment when a stranger is quick to anger and unwilling to forgive. The phrase, “that’s just the way some people are” is a saying I find hard to accept. Two recent encounters have reminded me to appreciate the kindness of most strangers.
The other day, while driving I approached the main street in town, to my surprise there was absolutely no traffic, not a vehicle in sight. My excitement of not having to worry about crossing traffic was abruptly interrupted as a man on a bicycle shot in front of me, yelling at the top of his lungs “STOP SIGN LADY, STOP SIGN!!” His anger had no filter as he passed by my car window, continuing to yell at me as I was trying to apologize for not seeing him. For good measure he looked back as he rode off, giving me the stink eye as if I had done it on purpose.
As a bicyclist myself I take extra precautions with vehicles and never assume that they see me, and am vigilent with my surroundings when I drive, but mistakes still happen. As I think about the mans frustration and his treatment of me in the moment, I gave pause and thanked the good Lord that nothing tragic happened and hoped that this close call will result in the prevention of a future accident for both the bicyclist and myself. Lesson learned; so I will take this experience, accept my mistake, forgive myself and try to love the angry yelling bicycle man.
After watching extreme couponing Mitch went crazy clipping coupons for a while. Thankfully he tired of it within a couple months and we are now on our last batch of coupons before they expire. I decided to use as many as I could on my last trip to Walmart. Three hours, 4 check ins with papa patiently waiting and an overflowing cart of buy two save 50 cent items, I was in line to check out.
I placed my like items together on the conveyer belt, keeping the price match items at the end and thought we were moving along quickly. As the register passed the $300 mark I realized we hadn’t been grocery shopping in a month and it was adding up. The couple behind me placed their items on the belt and instantly began impatiently sighing. I hear the wife say to her husband that there were two checkers down the way that didn’t have anyone. I turn to her and say, “I’m sorry if it is taking to long”, and I get a blank stare in return.
She then mumbles, “how much longer is it going to be?” Again I apologize for the amount of groceries I have, and that I also have coupons and I hope it won’t take too long. I make a comment to her about trying to save money, and at this point she not only doesn’t say anything to me, she won’t look at me. I am amazed by the treatment I’m getting from this complete stranger.
If that wasn’t enough, the coupons weren’t scanning easily and the checker had to double scan quite a few, just perpetuating the volume of sighs and fidgeting the grumpy grocery shopper was doing. After I swipe my card and sign away for a stock pile of aftershaves and paper towels I try one last time to make peace with the mad mumbler.
I say to her, “thank you for being so patient and understanding, God Bless You.” Still she said not one word, just a blank stare as if I were invisible. As I pushed my overflowing card out of the store I held my head high knowing that I was kind the whole way through.
These types of encounters seem to happen in batches for me. I can go through life for months and it’s smiles, rainbows and butterflies and then BAM, angry people. I have a challenging time accepting mean people, no matter who they are, whatever their excuse.
Occasionally I give into their anger, give them back what they’re putting out and ultimately end up feeling as if I’ve let myself down.
I try and find a reason for the experience, or figure out what it is that I could get from it to better myself. With this event occurring I could learn to be more accepting of being ignored, appreciate the fact that maybe she didn’t have anything nice to say, so she didn’t say anything at all, or that when you have that many coupons put a warning sign at the end of your items stating COUPONING IN PROGRESS!
Of all the things that I could’ve learned from this experience, I’ll never learn to give up on strangers. Instead of taking that time in the isle to turn a stranger into a friend; she decided to fester in her frustration. Please, don’t be a fester, become a friend in the world of strangers.