Today in Kindness
Or, Have a Nice Day.
- •So I woke up this morning with a debate hangover. The internet was sputtering with different takeaways. It was raining and I had to get up early.Basically, Monday, except it was Tuesday.
- •Drove my kid to school and went to get some gas.We've had a gas shortage here in NC because of the pipeline break, but things are mostly back to normal.
- •But at this particular station, even though there weren't any NO GAS signs, the pumps weren't working. I tried 3 before I went inside.I said to cashier, "The pumps aren't working. Are you out? Just wanted--"
- •"YES, THE PUMPS AREN'T WORKING!" interrupted a very frustrated looking man who had come in behind me. He was in a raincoat and clearly agitated. You could just feel the annoyance, the way dogs can smell fear.The cashier looked at him. "We only have regular," she replied. "We just ran out of the others."
- •"WELL WHY AREN'T THERE ANY FRIGGIN SIGNS SAYING THAT?" he yelled. This was a small convenience store and he was right behind me. Not even 8am."Sir, it's a mistake. There's no need to get ugly and curse at me," the cashier told him. "I'm not CURSING," he replied. "I said FRIGGIN." He was still yelling.
- •The other cashier and I exchanged a look. Mine said, "I am just hoping he doesn't freak out and kill us all." He was driving a black BMW, and I took note of this."Sir, you clearly need to go elsewhere," the first cashier told him. Cool as a cucumber. "You have a great day."
- •"GO TO HELL!" he yelled, and stomped out. We all just stood there a second. Then I said, "I'll just try somewhere else. You guys have a good day."They told me to do the same. When I left, he tried to cut in front of me and I stopped quickly. I did not want him behind me. Zoomed off down the road, turn signal blinking quickly.
- •It's just kind of unsettling to see such an unnecessary confrontation escalate so quickly. It's just gas.I went to get more coffee and work on my book. I stress ate a breakfast biscuit (not because of this, because of my book. I think).
- •Then I had to go to the UPS store. It was raining again and my umbrella was buried somewhere in my trunk. So I got out and decided to just get wet or make a a run for it.I am usually too lazy to find my umbrella, if I am totally honest.
- •I'd just started walking when I heard a voice behind me. "Hey there!"I turned. It was a man with a big smile who I had never seen before. I said hello back because this is NC and that's what you do.
- •"Want to share my umbrella?" he asked. It was blue. He held it up higher, so I'd see there was plenty of room. I said yes.He walked me all the way to the door. Said hello to every OTHER person we passed just as cheerfully. When I thanked him, he told me to have a great day.
- •Third time I'd heard a variation of this that day, but this time it resonated. I'm still thinking about it, all these hours later.Kindness. It's easy. That's all.