I was scheduled to ring the Salvation Army Bells at a local sporting goods store last week.
I always love doing that and am so glad that our Credit Union Chapter does this each year.
For two hours I was able to ring that little bell, greet incoming and leaving customers, and connect with a few amazing stories.
I love the variety of people that you encounter.
Some people would walk quickly as to not make any eye contact.
Some would stop, chat for awhile and then slide a bill in the red bucket.
A few children excitedly ran up and plunked coins in as they bumped into each other and giggled.
At one point a woman grabbed my hand and shook the bell with me commenting that she had received help from the Salvation Army before and was so grateful before sliding a $50 into the bucket.
I always leave my two-hour time slot thankful and grateful for the experience.
As I passed the red apron and bell to the next volunteer, I walked with a smile to my car.
That smile turned to concern as I realized a work truck was parked extremely close to mine.
In fact, it was so close that there was not a prayer (or a tub of Crisco) that would allow me to slide in.
I attempted to crawl over from the passenger side, but it turned out that my legs were not a fan of that unnamed Yoga pose.
So, I stood in front of my car.
I wasn’t mad at all.
There was a nice crisp North Dakota breeze and a fun hustle of people going to the store.
I love to people watch.
Ten minutes turned into twenty.
Twenty minutes turned into thirty.
I noticed the work truck had a number on the side.
In hopes of catching the call center for that company, I called to ask if they could connect with the driver in his cell to ask him to allow me into my car.
It went to voicemail and I left a message.
Thirty minutes turned into forty.
I finally saw an extremely tiny woman walk by and I asked her if she could possibly get into my car and move it forward.
She couldn’t but she was much nimbler and was able to slide over the passenger seat.
As she pulled it forward a gentleman came whistling out of the front door of the sporting goods store.
The woman looked at him as she exited my car and winked at me before saying, “I am so sorry you had to wait so long and that someone parked so crazy close!”
The guy looked over his shoulder before getting into the truck and shrugged his shoulders.
Although I was not upset earlier, his reaction upset me now.
I got in my car and drove off thinking about how extremely rude he was and how it was a great reminder to try my best to be kind in unkind situations.
All of the sudden my cell phone rang.
“I was well within my parking lines”
It dawned on me that he had my cell because I had called to see if someone could contact the driver.
Turns out the driver was the company owner.
“Okay, but you angled my car in and I was only calling to see if you could allow me to leave.”
“I was well within my lines.”
“Well sir, I am just kindly asking you in the future to make sure those parking around you can get into their vehicles after you park.”
“I at least fit into my car.”
Boom, there it was.
The ultimate 5 year old comeback from a grown man.
I could feel my cheeks get warm and I wanted to go all kinds of crazy, but I didn’t.
He had said that and hung up.
HE hung up on ME.
Oh I wanted to call back.
I wanted to tell him how rude and how inconsiderate he was.
I wanted to tell him that I had been ringing the Salvation Army Bell and how he brought that experience down.
I wanted to tell him that he was immature and that I felt sorry for his lack of communication skills.
I wanted to do all of that, but I didn’t.
Instead I pulled my car over, hoped on Amazon.com, and sent a copy of How The Grinch Stole Christmas to his work address.
I included a gift note that simply said, “ …and his heart grew three times larger that day.”
Now what does this have to do with financial institutions?
We serve all kinds of people.
Some days they are so happy to be with us and some days they wish that we would take a hike.
Regardless, we have the choice in how we choose our part in that interaction.
We have that choice every single moment of every single day.
Inside and outside of work
You can either steal the gifts from Whoville, or you can share the gift of holiday Roast-Beast.
One leaves you feeling pretty empty and the other, full.
Embrace the diversity of personality in the world this season and for the times you struggle, The Grinch is under $10 on Amazon.