Yesterday I was shopping at a local store and came upon a lady from India squatting on the floor looking for a certain product on the bottom shelf. She sprang up when she saw me as if to get out of my way. Apologetically she explained that she was a cashier at a nearby store and was on her lunch break, trying to get a few needed items before her time was up.
I reassured her, “I am in no hurry. Go ahead and do what you need to do. I have plenty of time.” While she searched for a particular brand she said that sometimes customers were rude to her at the store and she really appreciated my kindness.
I told her that I had noticed cashiers being treated rudely by some people and that those people needed to be more considerate. It is stressful to the cashier when people are glaring at them when the cashier is doing the best they know how. I explained to her that I was a retired nurse and understood some of what she was saying first hand. Sometimes patients, families, or doctors could be very rude or mean. But I tried to understand why they were feeling that way and let it go.
She thanked me for being so nice and friendly. I said the world would be a better place if we all acted kindly and compassionately toward each other. I then added that those who are rude may have bad karma coming after them eventually for treating people badly.
She nodded and was surprised that I knew what karma was. She asked, ” So you know about karma?”
My reply was simple. “A little bit. Karma is the same thing as doing something bad and it comes back to bite you on the ass.”
She paused, looked puzzled then broke out in a big smile and covered her mouth with her hand, laughing as she walked away.
I felt so good that I helped de-stress her for a few seconds. In a brief exchange I showed her there are good and kind people in the world and may have boosted her faith in inhumanity. Maybe she thought about that later in the day and laughed. Maybe she shared our meeting with someone else and made them laugh. Maybe she was having a bad day and I helped make it a little better.
What if I had been rude to her when she was apologizing by glaring at her or ignoring her? How would that have affected her? She might have gone back to work and treated her customers rudely. She might have been angry or sad the rest of the day.
You never know how what you say or how you treat someone can affect them. There are ripple effects when you do an act of kindness, as well as when you treat someone thoughtlessly. Those ripples can be smiles, eye contact, or an act of kindness that spread from one person to many more.
Try to make your contact with others a pleasant one and change the world one second, one person, one day at a time. If we all tried to be kind, compassionate and understanding we could at the least make someone who is hurting have a bright spot in their day. Being kind and helping people feels good too!