Be kind to each other

Monday, March 11, 2013

I was sitting at the Gypsy Beans window bar this past Saturday doing a little work when an elderly lady asked the room if anyone had taken the "Forum" section of her Plain Dealer from her table, which she had secured with her coat.

I glanced around to see if anyone had it and it turned out the table directly next to her did. There were two women and a man at the table, the man was reading the section of the paper in question. Once the women realized he had taken it (his back was to her) they quickly brought it to his attention and told him to hand it over.

Easy peasy right? I'm sure it was all a misunderstanding, grabbing a paper from a coffee shop table isn't abnormal and then you just hand it back - no biggie.

Well instead, the gentleman reading the paper had what I can only describe as a visceral reaction to the elderly woman asking for her paper back. His voiced raised, he became angry and venting, saying he didn't know it was hers and told her to relax, etc. etc.

This little old woman, WHO WAS CARRYING AROUND AN OXYGEN TANK mind you, was definitely shaken and moved to a table further away from him.

If it had ended at that it would have been a rude situation yes, but whatever, instead the guy started talking loudly to the people at his table calling this elderly woman "a bitch" repeatedly and continued to vent - I turned around and shot the table a look of disgust but kept my mouth shut.

It didn't stop though.

This elderly woman was not rude, simply asked a question, it was only a newspaper section in question, not a million dollars.

Finally, after about 20 minutes, I turned around to the table and said something to the effect of "are you seriously still talking about that nice little old lady asking for the section of the paper back?", to which the gentleman in question (who was probably around my age) said he was entitled to voice his opinion and blah blah blah.

That doesn't mean his opinion wasn't rude, crass, short-sighted and didn't make the entire section uncomfortable. The newspaper didn't belong to him, he didn't need to call a harmless stranger "a bitch", nor did he need to continue to loudly talk about how mad he was at the woman for calling him out.

He had such anger in his tone, that I hope something else was going on in his life that was really worth getting upset about, instead of an elderly woman asking for a section of the PD.

Long story short, the whole episode shook me - why are people so quick to jump to anger and accusations?

This was very timely for me as I'm dealing with a personal situation where I'm frustrated with someone taking the defensive, being aggressive and not taking the time to think about how other people see them.

Thus is life though, and these types of people will always be around.

I take it as my job (and hopefully yours too) to take the high road, always be looking out for others and know that even on your worst day someone else is worse off than you. Everyone is struggling with something and a smile goes a long way.

Be kind to each other today.

25 comments:

  1. What a great reminder to us all, thank you.

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  2. Ugh! People really suck sometimes. We all have bad days when we don't act our best for sure but a little kindness goes a long way.

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  3. Wow, imagine how that guy would treat a family member if he treats a stranger that way! It's sad but there are a lot of mean people out there. Good for you for speaking up!

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  4. Great message and reminder. I'm glad you said something! I don't know how often I witness acts of unkindness and chicken out of using my voice.

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  5. Lack of manners. His mother would be ashamed of him. What an a-hole. And good for you for saying something!

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  6. I would have been like, listen, f*&ker, you're entitled to your own opinion but you aren't entitled to your own forum section of the Plain Dealer.

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  7. I always tell Colin to give people 2 chances b/c they might have had a bad day the first time around.
    But this is completely unacceptable and rude and immature! I'm glad you said something!

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    1. that's a good rule, I try to live by that too, which was why it took A LOT of meanness from this dude to get me to say anything. sigh.

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  8. Hello insecurities! One "pardon me, did you accidentally take my paper" turns into, "hey you, douchebag, did you put your dirty fingers on my paper and ignore me when I asked for it back. here's a big eff you!" ... talk about needing to take a chill pill and settle down. I know that feeling of being unsettled after a situation like that, but good for you for speaking up for that woman - what you said reflected what 90% of the people there were probably thinking.

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  9. Kudos to saying something! I would have let it slide the first time, too, but a second time, no way. What a dick - hope he's reading this post and giving himself a facepalm today.

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  10. You hit the nail on the head about why- it obviously wasnt about the paper or the little old lady, it was about something in this man's life- somthing that he get my pity for- that had him lashing out. Poor, lady sure, but poor angry guy too.

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  11. I don't get this about situations. Dude, you were wrong, no one cares, GET OVER IT.

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  12. We see this at the museum all the time. A man called our guard an asshole in front of his small daughter when he told them it was closing time. What a good example he set. Makes me sad.

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  13. A hearty AMEN. Life is way, way, way too short to be angry, vindictive, rude or all three. We all have our own struggles, and there's no reason we should make anyone else's life worse.

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  14. I am so happy you said something. It's really hard to stand up for someone, whether they are a stranger or not. I am enjoying the comments here - I agree about giving at least two chances, but unfortunately I tend to give out several chances even when I know I am getting hurt in the process. I am learning to protect myself and others more and realizing that fine balance between giving people chances and knowing when they do not have good intentions. I really appreciate this post.

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  15. I'm glad i wasn't there. I would have thrown a meatball at that goof!

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  16. I'm glad i wasn't there. I would have thrown a meatball at that goof!

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  17. YES! In a number of situations I have stood up for a stranger who was being mistreated. It leaves me shaking afterward to realize how sad humanity makes me sometimes.

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  18. It's funny that as I was reading this post, I heard the word "personal respond-ability" for the first time. It fits this story perfectly. Thank you for taking the time to speak up. Your words might have not sunk in in that moment for that guy, but maybe one day they will.

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  19. wow, how disappointing. did the women at his table look embarrassed?? i would be mortified if my table companion was acting that way. good for you for saying something.

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  20. We do celebrate Mean Girls in this society, so it's not surprising. http://www.lynnaluvers.com/2011/08/understanding-mean-girls.html

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  21. Good for you for saying something! What a horrible person he sounds like, thanks for the great reminder.

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  22. I meant to comment on this the day you wrote it and just lost track of it. Many people here have already said it- but I'm really proud of you for saying something. Like Katie O. mentioned, I often find myself in these situations and want to say something, and say it gracefully but chicken out. Bravo for standing up to this bully. What a shame.

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  23. ugh that is just the worst. something similar happened to me at the post office over the holidays and a guy was just so angry and taking it out on the wrong people. i seriously wish people would be slower to reactions and be a little bit nicer, i'm glad you spoke up and said something and hopefully that guy realized what an ass he was being.

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  24. misery loves company. this man is obvious miserable.

    i'm SO glad you said something...maybe, just maybe you made him stop and think about things later in the day and helped change his perspective on the way he treats people (especially elderly women). wishful thinking.

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