Thursday, April 25, 2019
I am walking out of my local Walmart toting a coconut water when something catches my eye. It’s a note. Someone is offended and in turn has left it for a stranger to find when said stranger comes out to their car. The note assumes, the note accuses, the note name calls. It’s signed with a smiley face.
The note writer feels wronged. The note writer wants the offensive parker to feel pain.
My co-worker is hungry and she’s angry. Some stranger refuses to merge properly in the Wendy’s drive-thru. My co-worker honks angrily at the stranger. The stranger gives her an offensive hand gesture. My co-worker gives her one in return.
Both people in the exchange drive away angry. One of them angry enough to retell the story.
A random couple strolls into the store. I smile and greet them. In turn they smiles and happily wave. We chat as they ask for some assistance. They are a cheery older couple and we continue to have a pleasant exchange while I help them with their purchase. As they walk away I wish then a pleasant afternoon and the husband says “It was a pleasure shopping with you again.”
He and his wife walk away feeling pleased and helped as customers. I felt happy from the sheer pleasantness of the interaction.
A customer who has openly and forcefully berated me in the past walks though the door. He is pleasant at first, but then complains that our credit card system is unsafe. He indicates that our country would be a much better place if we fixed XYZ.
He leaves annoyed and feeling the need to make a point. I thank the heavens that he’s gone.
A random customer approaches me and asks for the fitting room. As I attempt to direct him with detailed instructions and pointing he still looks blank faced and confused. After a 5 second pause he laughs and says he was just messing with me and thanked me for my unbelievable patience with customers. I laugh and my co-workers and I end up chatting and sharing our favorite stories with the customer about times when we needed intense amounts of patience at the store. We all laugh, but also we shake our heads and wonder why some humans are so sad and angry at the world.
We shared a human moment with each other and we collectively feel comic relief and compassion for those who have hurt us in their own hurt.
I’m stopped at a busy intersection in one of the left turn lanes. A lady in the straight lane makes eye contact with me and asks if she can cut in before I turn. I smile and wave. She smiles and waves. She turns left.
I was kind. She was kind back.
I’m stopped at yet another light. Two cars are trying to merge on a busy street that’s backed up through several lights. I give them space, smile, and let them in. They give me a smile and the customary “Thanks” hand gesture and we drive through the light.
I am kind. They are kind back.
Emotions are contagious.