I'm sure everyone's been taught this simple rule by their parents: be kind. Be kind to your parents, to your friends, to strangers. I'm sure they also taught you not to talk to them, but as you grow up, you'll find yourself socializing with strangers quite frequently.
I work in retail so I pretty much talk to strangers on an everyday basis. And, strangers talk to me. Some of them are nice. They're traveling from another country, shopping for their family back home, enjoying the greater Seattle area.
For others, they're moms. They're shopping for school clothes for their kids. They're grandmas shopping for a nice sweater for their niece, or tweens trying to scope out the hottest trends--they're all people with lives. They're people with stories and each and every single one of them matter.
This is something I've had to remind myself every single day--especially at work. Every so often I'll come across an angry mom or a bargain hunting foreigner. In those cases, I've had to take a step back, breathe, and kindly handle the situation.
That doesn't excuse their rude behavior, though. It's never okay to yell at a sales associate or manager because your coupon expired, or the item you wanted to purchase wasn't on sale after all. It's not okay to threaten to call HR or demand a refund on an item that's unreturnable.
It's never okay to be mean to a stranger--to another human being. There's always a nicer way to say things, and sometimes we forget that.
And yeah, we all have our days. Not all of us can be chipper all the time--I can personally attest to that.
But is it okay to take it out on others? No. Absolutely not.
You also have no idea what someone may be going through. The girl you sit next to in class every day could possibly be working three jobs just to afford to live, let alone school. The waiter who served you your pasta could possibly be going through a lot of personal issues at home.
These are people in your everyday lives who, just like you and I, have things going on. So, please, be kind to others. It's not that hard. If you want to take it a step further, go out of your way to do nice things, too! Buy that homeless guy a meal, or round up your change for charity.
It could even be something as small and simple as holding open a door for someone. Whatever it is you do, it may not seem like much to you, but it could mean a whole lot to someone else.