I was going to work the other day, and I pulled out of my driveway and drove to the end of my block where there is a busy cross street, Old Shakopee Road. An older gentleman was in another car looking to make a right hand turn. I couldn’t see beyond him for he was blocking my line of sight, and as I was going to be making a left hand turn, I pulled up along side of him.
Apparently, he thought I must have blocked his view for when he made his right turn he looked at me hard, and then gave me the finger. Really, I thought, was that necessary? Road Rage over this? Really?
This brought to mind an incident that happened last year. I was driving to church in Woodbury, MN and I came upon a Roundabout. I didn’t see the other car coming around the bend and I cut him off. I waved my hand to say I’m sorry. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t help but notice he was tailgating me, shaking his fist, giving me the finger, and cursing me, all in the same motion. I waved my hand again in apology and upon looking in my mirror again I saw that he was exiting the Roundabout, but still shaking his fist, giving me the finger, and cursing me. Seriously, that was crazy! It is my sincere belief that we can all find ways to take a deep breath, realize we are human, and don’t always get it right. Road Rage, in its simplest form, is a bad option.
Now, I must talk about a few days ago. I headed over to the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park, MN to attend a Table Tennis Clinic. I do this virtually every Saturday as I’m possessed by Table Tennis. Upon walking in I realized I had forgotten to bring the $10 it cost. “Is there a cash machine in this building?” I asked the front desk attendant.
“No, I’m sorry there isn’t,” came her reply. “But there is one at the Cub Foods not too far from here.”
As I walked down the hallway to exit the building to go to that cash machine I heard a voice say, “How much do you need?” I didn’t react at first, but then I heard it again, “Hey, how much do you need?” I turned and realized the elderly gentleman, the janitor, was speaking to me.
“Oh,” I said, “I need $10. I’m here for the Table Tennis Clinic and I forgot my cash, so I’m headed to a cash machine over at Cub Foods.”
He pulled out a wad, yanked out a $10 bill and handed it to me. “Here’s $10, when you get the cash you can give it to the front desk and I’ll get it. My name is Phillip.” I stood in shock. A total stranger offering to help me when he didn’t have to. The opposite of Road Rage. A Random Act of Kindness. I couldn’t believe it. But it happened.
I gushed to all who would listen at the clinic about this, “Wow, that was a Random Act of Kindness. He didn’t have to. This never happens. This restores my faith in my fellow man.” They all loved it.
So, thank you Phillip. You didn’t have to, but you did. Your small act of kindness made my day. You’ve made it easier for me to forget those Road Rage incidents. They are nothing now. Your act of kindness is all that matters.
When I came back later that day, with $10 in hand, I pulled out another $1, giving the clerk a total of $11. “Here,” I said beaming, “this is for Phillip. He gave me $10, and I’m going to repay him $11. He deserves it.
He sure does.