Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Can't Believe I Just Did That

You guys, I ate sooo healthy at this conference in North Carolina.
I mean, look at all those veggies.  (Confession: I strategically cropped
this picture so you can't see my absolutely monstrous dessert plate). 

Oh heck no, I argued with myself.  Absolutely NOT.  Do something— anything—else. 

I had just settled in at Gate 49, a piping hot Starbucks coffee in one hand, fully-charged iPad in the other.  I was looking forward to reading my recently downloaded book before boarding.


Relaxing was pretty darn impossible when the two gate agents were playing a game called I Swear I Hate My Job More Than You.

“I have to turn around the Miami flight in 20 minutes?!? Are you kidding me??!”  barked Mean Lady. 

“What do you want ME to do about it!?” shouted Grouchy Guy.

I had encountered Cranky #1 and Cranky #2 earlier when I wanted to catch another flight.

Standing at the desk, I waited while the two of them tried very hard to ignore me.  30 seconds…1 minute…no acknowledgement.  I finally piped up, “Excuse me, can someone help me with the earlier flight to Dallas?” 

Two sets of irritated eyes darted in my direction.  

“It’s FULL,” Grouchy screeched.

Allllllrighty then.  

I grabbed a seat and had started to read my book when an incredibly annoying thought entered my head: You should buy them coffee.  

I jolted.  Where the heck did that come from?

Then I remembered a story that a speaker at my conference had shared: She and her family had vowed to do one nice thing for a stranger every day for a year.  

At the time I thought, Wow what a fantastic idea. I'll get right on that!  

And then, I ran into my first opportunity. Which sucked. 

You know, I told myself, it is only 10am.  Surely I’ll have plenty of other opportunities to be nice.  

But the idea continued to gnaw at me.  And I realized, I was curious.  I mean, what would they do?

So I slowly got up, and made my way back to The Desk of Anger.

Mean Lady saw me approaching and shouted, “ARE YOU GOING TO MIAMI?”

“Um, no,” I said in a teeny tiny little voice

Grouchy Guy turned his head in our direction.

I cleared my throat.  “I was wondering…if I could buy you coffee?” My voice had gone up 3 octaves.

They stared.  

5 seconds went by as they pondered my offer, then suddenly Grouchy snapped back to reality.  

“Oh. No,” he said with a confused expression.  And they both went back to work. 

Half of me was relieved.  The other half was pissed.  Um, I was trying to do something nice for you and you couldn't even say “No THANK YOU”?  RUDE. 

I pretended that’s exactly what I expected (why hello fellow passengers who now think I'm freaking crazy) as I returned to my seat to read my book until it was time to board.  

When my group was called, I filed into line and noticed that Grouchy was checking tickets.  Oh great, I thought, he gets one last chance to make me feel like an idiot. 

It was finally my turn.  I handed him my ticket, and in a last-ditch effort, I looked straight into his eyes and said, “Thank you, sir.”

Then something miraculous happened.

He winked.  


Look, I have no idea if my effort made any lasting impact.  It’s possible that he forgot about our interaction 2 seconds later. But, maybe he didn't.

Kindness is a beautiful thing.  And a little too rare in our world.  I'll confess that sometimes I'm downright shocked by an unexpected smile from a stranger. 

It bedazzles my mind to think how these little gestures could change lives. 

So I'm continuing this little experiment.  Will you join me?  I’d love to hear from you- please keep me posted on what happens in the comments below. 

Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! - Hebrews 13:2
Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.  - Steve Maraboli

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