By Barb Bolin
I am appreciative of life lessons over the years that have helped with my decision-making. I am reminded of a day many years ago, as a tired, young mother of a one-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Both of my children had been running high fevers and quite ill all night. As I pulled into the parking lot of our pediatrician's office, I saw a truck pull out of a space and I pulled in.
As I got out of the car and started to get my young son out, two women in a car pulled up. The driver started yelling at me and said, "What you did was stinky." She went on to tell me that I had known that she was waiting for the spot and that I was rude and inconsiderate. She caught me off guard, so in an irritated voice I explained that I had been up all night with two sick babies and was trying to get them to the doctor. As she continued to berate me, I had time for my emotions to recover from the original verbal attack.
I began to comprehend that I had not seen her and had taken the parking spot.I then walked over to the car and apologized. I told her that I had not seen her and would not have taken the spot if I had noticed that she was waiting.I then offered to pull out and find another spot. She began to calm down and said, "No, I will find another spot." I said, "Please, let me give you this spot. I don't want you to have a bad day."
She became teary and very soft spoken. She said that she was having a bad day anyway. Her mom was sick and nothing had gone right. As I looked at her, I saw a frustrated, sad, and nice lady who was overwhelmed. A car pulled out next to me so she took that spot. We wished each other a better day and went on.
That incident has stayed with me all these years. I learned that with some people, I can take a difficult situation and help facilitate a different outcome. I first became defensive, but when I had time to quiet my emotions, I was able to better see what had happened and communicate in an empathetic, fair manner.