(Read on, it’s not what you think!)
This past Wednesday night, about 9:30 pm or so, I was sitting in the car outside Wendy’s. I’d just placed a large order and was waiting for them to complete it. I ordered at the drive-thru and they asked me to pull forward. No problem. As I waited, I looked inside the restaurant. There weren’t many customers at that hour, but walking to a table was a young lady (30-ish) with her daughter, who looked about 6 to 8.
Then, out of the blue, the lady looked at me and frowned. She frowned, she scowled, she gave me the kind of look mothers might give someone they warn their kids to avoid. She judged me and found me a horrible person, and I had NEVER before in my life seen her, or her me.
“How DARE you,” I thought, “How DARE you give me a look like that! You don’t know me, you don’t know who I am and you don’t know what I’ve been through! How DARE you judge me so.” Then I thought a few less pleasant things toward her.
I felt justified! Wednesday was NOT a good day for me. We had to call the ambulance for my Mom. She’s had three seizures in the past two years, the doctors don’t know why, and we were afraid she was about to have another one. She spent a long time at the hospital and was very restless, contentious and ready to leave by the time they discharged her. Fortunately she just had the flu. JUST the flu! It’s pretty crappy when influenza is a relief! No, Wednesday was a CRAPPY day for me and I really needed a smile, not a frown.
Tuesday was not a good day for me either. Midafternoon, my dad asked me to take him to the ER because he felt bad. The last time that happened… Well, scroll down to https://themoldyripegrape.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/important-things/ to find out about that. We spent a long time at the hospital, only to find out that he has a touch of pneumonia. “Not too serious,” the doctor said, “I’ll give you some antibiotics.” He did, and Dad’s better now, but Tuesday was still a crappy day. I really needed a smile and not a frown.
Oh wait. Another thing about Tuesday. I’m diabetic and I really didn’t get a chance to eat anything. By the time I got Dad home my sugar was starting to tank. Tuesday was a really CRAPPY day and I needed a smile, not a scowl.
Now back to Wednesday. My Dad’s sick, my Mom’s sick and my wife has the sniffles. So. Here I sit, waiting for a big bag of dollar burgers for a belated supper. I’m tired, stressed out, worried about Dad, worried about Mom, worried about my wife and, honestly, I’m running on fumes, and this insolent, arrogant, judgmental woman has the AUDACITY to frown at me.
Now we can add pissed off to my list of emotions. I really, really, REALLY needed a smile.
Then, as I drove away, a thought occurred to me.
That frowning lady didn’t know me, true, but neither did I know her.
Maybe she’d had a crappy day, too. Perhaps she was a single mom who’d just lost a job, or couldn’t find one. Maybe she had a jerk husband she was trying to escape. Maybe her mom, dad or other favorite relative was in the hospital. Maybe she’d just lost someone important to her. Maybe bills were pressing in and she had no way to pay them. Heck, possibly that angelic little child beside her had medical problems.
Perhaps that lady had a pile of problems on her plate, too, and she was having a crappy day, just like me.
Maybe she needed a smile. And I didn’t give one.
Needless to say, I felt badly about that.
The moral of the story is this. Any time you’re having a crappy day, any time things are bad and getting worse, whenever you think “One more thing will break me” and that was five things ago… Any time you really, really. REALLY need a smile…
Maybe that’s the best time to GIVE a smile!!