Stress can follow you everywhere, and can be triggered by the smallest things. Sometimes, it follows you around, and negatively impacts those around you, if you let it. It can be difficult to fight it, pretending it’s not there just ends up making it worse later. In your own head, things seem so complicated, and you assume that no one around you could even begin to understand how much you must think about, or worry about. You become irritable, and it shows a lot of the time. Every now and then, however, you’ll come across an unexpected helping hand, someone who reminds you that you’re not alone.
On one sunny Sunday, I went into work, bringing the stress along with me. I was stressing over finals, and probably some other dumb stuff that was out of my control as well. I was also sleep deprived, having stayed up so late studying and then not being able to sleep as well. I remember stocking the shelves, and it was very busy in the store that day. I could hardly move without getting in someone’s way. My coworker came around the corner to say something. This lady walks right in front of me to grab some pasta, and I said “Hey, I’m really sick of all these people getting in my way” right in front of her, directly into her ear. Immediately, I regretted it. I knew that was wrong of me, and I think about that all the time. My coworker quickly walks away to avoid the situation. The lady snaps her head, and lightly grabs my arm. At this point, I was just confused, and didn’t pull away. She very calmly says “You’re doing a great job today.” She let go of my arm, and then proceeded to walk away. Of course, all I could think was how sarcastic she was, and I continued to work. A few minutes pass, and over the intercom I hear “Brandon please come to the manager’s office.” Damn. All I could think about was how I was about to get chewed out for a good few minutes. I walked into the office, and sat down. The manager closes the door, and says “Great job today Brandon.” I probably had the most confused face. “This nice lady says you provided excellent customer service, and helped her find what she was looking for happily.” Then he slid me a “Free Sub” card. I sat in awe. I was so rude to that lady, and she went well out of her way to show kindness. I never looked her in the eye, so even at the time I couldn’t even tell you what she looked like. I think about this all the time, and I wonder how many times I’ve run into her without even knowing it.
I try to remind myself of this scenario often, hoping it keeps me in check. This lady could have had all the problems in the world at the time, and then she had to deal with me being extremely rude for no reason. She showed me kindness when I showed her attitude. I wish I could thank her, or even apologize, but if nothing else, I’ll take the lesson I was given. No matter what’s going on in life, there’s always someone willing to help, and something as simple as showing kindness can be all it takes.