What's your Problem?
I was headed into a meeting following shortly behind my dad- my hands were full of coffee, for the security guard, my friend who keeps the meeting running smoothly, and one more random person that would be determined when I saw them.
My dad paused to comb back his perfect white hair back with his hands in the reflection of the window. Something I have seen him do often.
As he did this, unbeknownst to him because of his close proximity to the situation- he cut off a homeless gentleman.
I saw it all- I saw my dad cut him off- with no guile - purely unaware focused on what he was doing and where he was going.
I saw the scruffy jerk cuss at him almost ready to punch my oblivious dad.
As he passed me I said to him, "what's your problem" and for one second it crossed my mind to throw coffee on him- the same split second the thought to give him a coffee crossed my mind-I did not choose either. Instead my blood boiled, who is he to say such things to MY dad?
I was on my way to a meeting, a meeting where I professed to speak about kindness. The importance of kindness and how kindness can change the world...blah blah blah- when it came down to it- I failed my own test.
Kindness- when it's easy and convenient is one thing- but kindness when it's raw and fresh and in your face that's another story.
And here I am, defending my dad- ready to beat some guy up for him. Fighting his fight he didn't even know was happening-Unkindness at its finest.
As I walked away, boiling, I thought of what a dumb question "what's your problem?" is.
Obviously he has problems. Different problems than me and my dad at that exact moment maybe even bigger problems. Problems I have no idea about.
What if I would have paused, and given him a coffee and asked, "What's your story?" Instead of cursing "what's your problem".
There is a reason people are the way they are.
Find the story-or at least know that more is going on than meets the eye- the problem is merely the tip of the iceberg.
The next time someone crosses my path - instead of cursing them for being the way they are, hopefully I can pause and wonder "what's your story".
When someone cuts me off in traffic- wonder what their story is.
When customer service is less perfect- wonder what their story is.
When family is acting weird-wonder what their story is.
When the option to become offended ever comes up- pause and wonder. Hmmm there is probably more going on here than I realize.
Kindness matters. You matter. You make a difference - make sure it's a good one!
Tammy Dickson Guffey
Kindness given, received or witnessed benefits all parties involved- if you have stories of kindness you would like to share please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org