Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Rudeness and Compassion

I've been making a conscious effort lately -- since my last blog post, actually -- to try to meet other people with a smile and to think compassionately about others. I think it's starting to pay off. Today as I was getting on the bus, a woman from another country shoved her way in behind me, in front of the other passengers, without waiting in line. One of the disgruntled people behind her started up an argument, and the queue-jumper told her, "Leave me alone, woman. I've been waiting in the cold!" As had we all. They continued to natter at each other back and forth a few times as the bus got underway. I was sitting behind the queue-jumper and got to listen to all of it.

As I got off the bus at my stop, a gentleman, who had been beside me waiting for the bus and who had witnessed the whole exchange, called to me. I turned to see what he wanted and he put a hand on my arm and apologized for "that woman." I don't know why he did, or why he felt he needed to make the apology to me. I guess he had seen her push in behind me. He was also from the same country she was, and maybe he felt a sort of shame for her behaviour. I guess it's possible to feel a sense of responsibility for one's fellow countrymen's actions. Anyway, I shrugged it off with a smile. And realized that rather than feeling irritated with the mouthy woman, I instead felt rather sorry for her. If she thinks this is cold, she ain't seen nothin' yet, and she is not going to survive this winter. Someone ought to warn her...

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