How often do you encounter people who are impatient, inconsiderate, or just plain rude? I’m not saying each of us doesn’t have our own “bad” days to deal with. But there are people whose first impulse seems to always be negative. And it seems to come all too naturally to them.
That’s something I just don’t understand.
For example, one day as I was driving along, I attempted to make a routine lane change in order to get in the exit lane of the highway. I put on my turn signal, and just as I was beginning to move to the right, a rapidly moving car sped up behind me, made a last second lane change and raced past.
As he sped by, he blared his horn and almost ran me off the road, shouting a bunch of expletives as he passed me. To emphasize his point, he thrust an obscene gesture at me.
Obviously, I missed my exit. As I finally reached my destination, I wondered how that guy had learned to be such an impatient, angry, road rage driver.
Of course, he may have been having an unusually stressful day to begin with, and he just couldn’t handle one more inconvenience. But his language and his gesture made me think that his actions had been well-practiced. He didn’t seem to be new at it.
If only I could have shared with that man how much better I feel after rendering a gesture of kindness. What would he have said if I could have sat him down and treated him to a cup of coffee? How had he become that way? I’ll never know.
How many folks live and work in an environment that fosters a “me-first” mentality? Many people get lost in the mish-mash of life’s frenetic pace. For others, daily existence has become such drudgery that they couldn’t care less what happens beyond themselves.
What I experienced that morning led me to realize that kindness is a trait that, in most cases, must be learned. I’ve become convinced that if each of us could put kindness into practice, we’d live in a much better world.