Jumping to conclusions can lead to a lot of confusion and embarrassment in most circumstances. Mom used to say that people were like cups, full up to the brim. Whenever life got hard and “jostled” them, what spilled out was who they truly were inside. If they were sweet, you’d see it when they were under pressure. If they were sour, you’d notice right away the kind of person that they truly were. This advice has always led me to try and remain calm during stressful situations – but some people respond to stress with a bit more anger than I would have thought possible, and in this man’s case, he paid a HUGE price for his anger!
(When I was born, there were serious complications, and doctors had to step in to keep both me and my mother alive. They tore all my muscles and damaged a lot of nerves in my neck. I went to a physical therapist for many years. I hardly ever notice it now, 20 years later, but once in a while, after lifting heavy items for a long period of time, my back acts up and it hurts a lot. All of my coworkers know this, and despite this, I’m a very hard worker.)
(A customer in his 40s walks in, skips right across the line, and to me, where I’m currently working on a problem with a coffee machine. He sets an empty can of gas, the steel type, down on the floor next to me. I have equipment all over the counter and floor, trying to figure out the problem with the machine. It is also worth mentioning that I live in a small town, where everyone knows everyone. I have hardly ever dealt with rude customers because of this, and it’s well known that we can take abuse until a certain point.)
Customer: “I need you to go out to your gas cabinet and fetch me a new one of these.”
Me: “Sure, let me just clean up a little here.”
Customer: “Do you think I have time for that?! Do you know who I am? I have other places to be!”
Me: “All right, then.”
(I shuffle all the pieces and tubes onto the counter, hoping no one will brush them off and step on them. I run out to the cabinet, open the lock, grab a new can, and head back inside. Right as I walk into the store, I get insanely painful cramps in my back, I manage to scoot over to the customer and set the can down, obviously in pain, but I smile and shrug it off to my coworkers.)
Customer: “You teens are so useless these days! All you do is stare at your phones and your computers! Look at you, you can’t even carry a can of gas! You’re all useless! Now hurry up! I’m going to a very important job interview over at Law Office with Mr. Scott, himself!”
(The other customers have been startled at his behavior by now, but at the mentioning of said company, many of them snicker.)
Me: “You know what? My neck was nearly broken when I was born. I have worked at this gas station for three years, and never have I had a more rude and pretentious customer than you. I want you to calm down so we can finish this transaction. You’re startling the other customers.”
Customer: “Does it look like I give a crap about the other customers!?”
Me: “That’s it.”
(I pick up the phone and dial a number. My boss is looking at me with approval.)
Me: “Hey, Dad, I want you to know there’s a man in his 40s, drives a green Honda CRV, who said he’s heading over for an interview with you today. He has been a real pain in the butt, and if you hire him, I’m not giving you grandchildren.”
(The customer’s face goes pale. He looks at me, the other customers who are now laughing at him, and scurries out the door, leaving both his old and the new can behind. My dad didn’t hire him, either.)
When you get stressed out, how do you handle it? This guy was obviously in a rush and probably wasn’t such a great person to begin with. Just from the way he was ordering this clerk around as if he owned him was proof enough that he needed a dose of reality…good thing that kid knew just how to hand it to him! This guy will definitely think twice before being rude to anyone around him again!
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