I once heard great advice that you should approach every person like they are going through a life crisis, because ninety percent of the time you will be right. This goes for every interaction, great or small. The car going too slow in front of you, the woman at the check- out line taking forever, the ornery lady on the telephone who makes you want to say rude things back to her.
In fitting bah hah, nature, I had this experience the other day. We were in a hurry to pick up kids from lessons,stopped at a red light, and already late. Every second seemed to take two seconds. The light finally turned green, but the car in front of us didn’t go. It just sat there. They were probably on the phone or texting, I thought to myself. So I called for them to go. They didn’t hear me, or didn’t care, (since my windows were rolled up, I figured it was the first idea) My patience was non-existent. My husband was being way too forgiving of this person which, by the way, was highly unusual since I usually had to remind him to be patient and not honk the horn, because they just might end up being our neighbors, and how awkward would that be? But it had been several seconds, and a horn honking was now in order. I leaned over to pat the horn for him, since he seemed to be taking this Happy Holidays thing way too far. Luckily I couldn’t find it before my dear husband explained that the car in front of us was stalled. I guess he had noticed the flickering tail lights. I hadn’t noticed. I had only worried that the green light was going to turn red before we could get through it, and the cars behind us were stacking up. And we were already late picking up our kids. And it was super cold. Like single digits. Dan didn’t worry about that, instead he turned our hazard lights on and got out to see what was going on.
It was a young high school aged girl, and every time she tried to go the engine would stall. Soon another guy appeared from behind us. Dan and the guy popped the hood of her car to check things out. I looked at the temperature gage. It read something like 12 degrees. He jiggled some wires. She turned the key. It started. All was well. Dan jumped back into the car. I sighed in relief and thanked him for realizing she had been in trouble. But the light turned yellow and then red before the girl could go. My husband moaned, worried her car would stall again and they’d have to start all over. I glared at the red light. It taunted us, refusing to turn green again. I thought of my kids, waiting in the freezing dark for us to pick them up. I willed the light to turn green. Finally, after what seemed long enough to jog a lap around a football field, it beamed green. Just as Dan predicted, her tail lights flickered on and off. She didn’t move. Stalled…again. Green light… laughing. Dan jumped out of the car… again. A collective moan rippled through our car as we watched Dan and the other man work to start her car… again. The other man had a brilliant idea.This time he sent her to his car with his wife, while he climbed into the girl’s car. In the meantime we had sat through another green light and now it was turning yellow. Before it could turn red again, the man got it started and blasted through the yellowing light to the nearest gas station. We went too. Sitting through two green lights was long enough for us.
We finally were able to pick our kids up--late of course--but I was grateful for a husband who took the time to notice another’s need even when I did not. I’ve been thinking about this all week. How many times do I pass by someone in need? Maybe that new neighbor who still hasn’t acknowledged me isn’t really a jerk, but is going through a hard time…well, I don’t know…but I know I need to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. So that is my resolution. Be more aware of others needs. That and building up my year supply of dark chocolate.