Friday, October 29, 2010

Qwest for the Best

"Do not present a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, and do not accept such a picture of them yourself."

A couple of weeks ago a man came into the credit union on a Saturday and walked up to my teller station. I was not having a good day. 

I was still recovering from my write-up and feeling a bit insecure and unsure of myself at work and I had not gotten a good night's sleep so I was very tired. 

I had helped this guy before and he always seemed a bit arrogant to me, but I had never had a particularly negative interaction with him. 

As I did his deposit I asked him how his day was going. His response was, "Obviously better than yours since you're working and I'm not." He said it not with empathy, but with glee. 

The same glee my sons use when talking to each other about something they have that the other one wants. "I got to watch TV and you didn't....I'm going to a birthday party and you aren't....I have enough money to buy a new Lego set and you don't!" 

He couldn't have made it much clearer if he'd thrown in a, "Na-na-na-boo-boo."

I paused - and bristled - for just a moment, then straightened myself up and smiled, continuing to process his transaction, but saying nothing. 

Inside of course I was thinking, ASS-HOLE.

I finished his transaction, handed him his cash and said, with a terse smile, "Have a nice day."

His response? "Thanks, I will. Better than you I'm sure now that I've ruined it for you." Again, with the glee.

That did it. I smiled, a wide, but angry smile and said very clearly, "You didn't ruin my day. If I didn't want to be here I wouldn't be here."

I could tell he was stunned as he stammered out, "W-w-ell, that's a really good attitude to have." I nodded, but said nothing more, silently sending him on his way.

When I went home that afternoon I told my husband about the immature ASS-HOLE I had at my station that day. Then I pretty much forgot about it.  

But guess who was back at the credit union and back at my teller station this Saturday? 

As he walked in, he looked in my direction and I could see it in his eyes: he expected me to hate him. He expected me to treat him poorly, with disdain and vengeance. 

In that moment I felt a wave of compassion for him so great that it actually made me smile a big, wide smile. 

I greeted him warmly, "Hi! Come on over."

And what came next was priceless. The surprise in his face at not being hated made him look like a little boy, expecting to get into trouble for breaking his mom's best China, who gets a big hug and an "it's okay" instead.

When I asked him about his day he told me he was taking his kids on a tour of Qwest Field and I said I thought my kids would love that. He fell all over himself, promising two or three times to tell me how it was the next time he came in. 

I was so glad in that moment that I had not presented a false and unworthy picture of myself or accepted a false and unworthy picture of him, but rather looked for - and found - the best in both of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment