In the checkout line at the grocery store today an altercation erupted between a patron and the cashier. It had to do with the purchase of liquor for minors. The strawberry blonde refused to sell two cases of beer, politely stating it was illegal to do so. The clerk remained polite, non-confrontational, and calm despite the customer’s increasing frustration. Management arrived and supported staff with the same composure. The situation quickly deescalated and it was over.
I was impressed.
Last week, I witnessed another situation where a person behaved gracefully under pressure, avoiding drama and choosing a peaceful approach. This involved liquor and theft. Different from what I’ve seen in the past, no police were called, the booze was retrieved gently but firmly, and the story ended.
I was impressed.
Until tonight, I would not have considered myself jaded but my reaction to these situations suggests otherwise. I am surprised. Is it that I’ve little faith in people? Has my experience not shown me mature decency?
It’s probably that I expect confrontation and instead of looking for goodness, have been enamoured of the histrionics of bad, or at least more aggressive, attitudes.
I much prefer what I’ve been seeing. It is exemplary behaviour and I’d like to see more of it. It is kindness manifested. It is thoughtful.
I am impressed.
These lovely incidents have reminded me that goodness still exists. But then, why wouldn’t it? I’m basically good even if inconsistently so.
My wish tonight is for the courage to see and then, act. If what you witness stirs you, then it is a signal. How does the stirring make you feel? Do you want to recreate the experience, or change it? Whatever the case, it takes a brave soul to try to make a difference.