I was having a crappy day. I nearly lost it at the office, and was grumpy and foul mouthed, definately not the "professional" behavior that I try to exhibit.
So I went out to get some food, and as I was checking out, I was answering an email on my handheld. This is something that bothers me, when I see other people fiddling or talking on their phones at the cashier, and when I realized I was being rude, I stopped, looked up and apologized.
"Pardon me. I'm sorry, that's something I shouldn't do."
"That's OK, there is no one waiting. I understand.", said the young woman behind the counter with a slight smile.
Like I said, I was having a really shit day, and that small but sincere interaction brightened my mood immensely.
I got my soda and sat down for a bit, finished the stupid and pointless email that I had started. As I was on my way out, I stopped at the register to say thanks for brightening my day.
"I just wanted to say thank you.", I said, making eye contact and smiling. "Thanks for being so kind, that was about the most understanding I've gotten all day. "
"It's OK...I get it.", she responded with a small smile, true kindness and sincerity in her tone.
Part of being human is experiencing the full range of our emotions, dealing with them in a mature way, and being compassionate to our fellow man. This small interaction that I had with a clerk at a sandwich shop reminded me of this. Being able to recognize and accept kindness from others is a trait I need to cultivate in myself.
"It's OK...I get it." Five words, spoken with compassion and sincerity and a smile. Sometimes that's all it takes.