Thursday, June 6, 2013


The other day I packed up my little family for our bi-monthly treck to Walmart. It was extremely hot and I was trying to keep track of the three year old and the one year old, who was wriggling in my arms like a thirty pound bag of snakes. I slipped into the nearest door to escape the heat (It's May in Las Vegas, which feels a little like living on the sun.)

I entered through the door that says EXIT.

Now, normally this wouldn't have been a big deal. This happens quite frequently to anyone who has ever shopped at Walmart. I venture to say this is not the craziest thing to ever happen at a Walmart. When I went through the doors I was met by a gentleman, who was following the signs carefully, exiting through EXIT.

We collided. My baby went flying out of my arms, his groceries went spilling everywhere, I think he sustained a neck injury, possibly a broken kneecap.

Okay, none of that happened. What really happened was we came towards each other and I side-stepped him while smiling, embarrassed, and said, "I'm sorry, excuse me." Based on his reaction however, you would have assumed the former happened.

He started yelling at me, in front of my family, in front of a half dozen other customers. Now, should I have entered through the exit? Absolutely not. There are reasons for specified doors and Walmart foot traffic laws. I was totally in the wrong and I can own up to that. I thought I did when I apologized to him, but it wasn't enough. He threw up his hands, disgusted, and shouted several times that he hoped that I could set a better example for my children and that I could teach them to read. I felt pretty validated by the fact that everyone around us was looking at him like he had a screw loose or something, and a few people even tried to come to my defense. (Including my husband, who had gone through the ENTER door like a good boy.)  I didn't say anything to him, just ignored and went about my day...but the next day I thought once again about that moment.

How easy is it for us to lose our temper? Maybe he was having a bad day, a bad week, a bad decade? Maybe he had a rock in his shoe or a gnarly wedgie. I'm certainly guilty of behaving irrationally, set off by a seemingly insignificant something or other. After it happened, I was reminded of our motto:

Make sorrow incidental, let joy be monumental.

 There is an old truth that states we are not always in control of what happens to us but we can control how we react to each situation. The way we react speaks volumes about our attitude toward life. Hopefully we can minimize the moments where we become a burden or annoyance on someone by not entering through the exit, but if we come across a person who may not be very considerate in the moment, lets try to take the high road. More often than not, we should give people the benefit of the doubt because the number of times people annoy us is probably pretty proportionate to the amount of times we have been annoying to someone else.

1 comment:

Lis said...

That's a good thought. You never know what's happening in a stranger's life that makes them act the way they do.