I told the following story to a group of young people. My cofacilitator prompted it, but I’m glad I told it.
I stopped at the grocery store before work one morning. If I’m late, I don’t think anyone would notice, but I still am usually on time. I get to the check out lane, which is stressful at this time of the morning because they only have one cashier.
I’m third in line, this big gruff guy I am a gruff big guy sans intimidation) is in front of me and a woman is checking out. I see that she is separating out some groceries. Some to be paid for with food stamps and the others with cash. As you could guess, I made a judgement. Beyond just angry that her transaction takes longer.
Then she comes up short with the money. Like two dollars short. Now I would just be silently pissed, but I think, “oh yeah, this guy is going to give her the business. Say something I only wish I could say.
Instead, he simply hands the cashier the money. Gives a nod.
I am blown away. This act of kindness made me see how quickly the world can be different. The woman gets out of a sticky situation and gets to feel the kindness of a stranger.
For a measly two dollars, that guy got to feel deservedly proud. He got to teach me a lesson. Be gentle and put it to action. That woman deserved kindness because we all do. Even when people screw up or you screw them over. If you want them to change and improve, then the answer is kindness. Because it works and retribution and causing pain does not (though people are wise that walk away to keep their sanity.
I had one perspective. I could easily have had a different one- that gruff guys. Its obvious who had the better morning.