Iâ€™ve been spending a fair amount of effort recently observing human behavior and really wondering, â€œWhat is wrong with people these days?â€ Although there are exceptions, it seems that most people are content to bury their heads in their phones and deal with their fellow humans through social media. Many of us fail to remember that every single person we encounter during the course of the day has their own unique story that we are completely unaware of. We react to someoneâ€™s attitude or tone by only the shallow surface of the situation.
Image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
With all the conflict going on in the world recently; an airliner shot down over the Ukraine, strife in Israel, and countless other situations, I had an encounter yesterday that reminded me that there is still good in this world. There are still people out there that do kind acts for no other reason than to help out a fellow person who might be having a bad day.
I had been in Walmart for over an hour grocery shopping, and was anxious to get home. All the checkout lanes were stacked with customers three deep, and my beloved self-checkout lanes were clogged with people who seemingly didnâ€™t know how to operate them efficiently.
â€œYou should have to be certified to use these things,â€ I thought to myself as I watched someone struggle with what to do with produce that had no UPC symbol.
After I was through the checkout lane I stopped and picked up delicious Subway for lunch for my family. There too, I was stuck in line. The people in front of me were indecisive about what they wanted and took forever.
When I finally exited the store I was almost frantic to get out of the parking lot and get home. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something drop from my cart. The package of cherry tomatoes I had purchased wiggled its way out of my bag placed in the child carrier part of the cart, and busted open spilling 3/4ths of its contents when it hit the ground. Barking a few choice words I scooped up what was left of my purchase and put it back in the cart.
As I loaded my groceries into my van, I noticed another minivan stop behind me. A man got out, and told his young daughter to stay in her seat as heâ€™d just be a minute. I turned to continue doing my business, when I heard him walk up behind me.
â€œExcuse me, Iâ€™d like to share these with you, â€œ he said.
I looked down and noticed he was holding a very large container of cherry tomatoes.
I smiled, and replied, â€œOh, you donâ€™t have to do that.â€
â€œItâ€™s no problem. I saw what happened back there, and thatâ€™s just miserable. I wonâ€™t even notice the difference out of my package,â€ The man said to me as he opened up the container.
I remembered reading something recently about what to do when people thanked you for something, or offered help. The advice of the article was simply to accept it. So I did. I opened my container, and he filled it up. I looked the man right in the eyes and thanked him. We wished each other a good day, and then he was gone.
I stood there for a moment, flabbergasted. I remembered my actions from inside the store. I could have helped the man struggling at the self-checkout lane. I could have been more patient with the people in front of me at Subway.
I began this article by asking, â€œWhatâ€™s wrong with people these days?â€ Through this experience I proved that Iâ€™m really no different than those Iâ€™ve been observing. I promised myself that I would look for a way to pay it forward, to find some way to brighten someone elseâ€™s day.
We all have the ability to affect someoneâ€™s day through our interaction with them. The question we should ask ourselves is, do we want to go through life affecting people with eye rolls and scowls, or do we want to fill up their container of spilt cherry tomatoes?
Have you positively impacted someoneâ€™s day recently?