I was going to write this post several months ago… in November, but it seemed like I lost the spark for it, at the time. Something happened yesterday that reminded me of it all, and now I cannot avoid it.
On October 31, 2015 I watched history being made. Well… almost. You’ll see in this photo our dear American Pharaoh jaunting by us, preparing to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic. Dream come true for me – to be at the Breeder’s Cup in general. My dear bestie, Jordan, joined me for a cold and sometimes rainy day, full of horses, bourbon and making new friends. She was a TROOPER. I was fully in child-at-heart mode, and was overly gracious just to be at Keeneland that day.
We were able to create community about five rows away from the rail. Everyone was really nice. One family included us in on their bets, and encouraged us to pick a horse each race. Another lady was a veterinarian from Florida, who was friends with the owners of one of the champions of an earlier race. A gentleman, a row or two ahead of us, upon realizing my hunger while sharing his popcorn with me, gave me the rest of the bag to happily munch on. And as we edged closer to the big race, we made a pact with everyone around us to squeeze in so we all could have the best possible view.
That is until Mr. Entitled decided to stand on the bench directly in front of Jordan and myself. One lady, momentarily frusterated, shouted, “Are you going to stand there the whole time?” “Yes,” Mr. Entitled responded confidently. Suddenly down with that, she also stepped up on the bench. When the crowds shouted their frustrations at him, he turned around, smiled his cocky little smile, and turned back around.
The father of Mr. Incredibly-Attractive, smiled and motioned for me to simply push him, and as much as I wanted to, my polite little self decided to be simply thankful and content. So a moment later, dad to Mr. Incredibly-Attractive shouted in a respectful yet firm manner, to Mr. Entitled about how rude he was being. But of course, Mr. Entitled didn’t seem to even consider being respectful to those around him. So Jordan and I heard the race, while all we unfortunately could see was Mr. Entitled’s hiney.
Have you ever had someone stand up for you? Even in the simplest of ways? I realized at that time [I met my future father-in-law ] that the moment that made history for me that day, was not a horse running a race, but a near-stranger standing up for me. I’m used to taking care of and standing up for myself, but it was really, really, REALLY nice to have someone else do it on behalf of me.
The reason I thought about this yesterday was on the way home from the grocery store, a black truck pulled out of a gas station behind me. A seemingly normal situation. I expected, as what usually happens, to be tailgated. However, this didn’t happen. Not only did he follow behind the recommended 2-second length, but out of respect there was at least another second of space. And it wasn’t because he was driving slow [I know what that’s like – this was different], it was because he actually respected the car in front of him enough to give me some space. He considered someone other than himself.
It’s kind of sad really, that these moments stick out to me. Thinking about it more it frustrates me to realize how disrespected I feel on a daily basis – and that these moments of respect are so rare.
Where are you going, and why do you need to get there so fast? Do you really not have time to give a little extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you? Is there no time to say, “Thank you,” after someone compliments you or thinks of you with a card or gift? Are you the only person living in your own little world?
Take a moment and think, is this you? I realize I’m not perfect, but I really am working on being intentional and being considerate to everyone I meet. I’ve been challenging myself to look people in the eyes. One day last week, while operating the register at my place of employment I challenged myself to look every customer in the eyes. Well, I quickly realized it was a two-person ordeal, as out of all the folks I intentionally sought eye-contact with, only one responded. The rest looked everywhere possible to avoid it. Which then challenged me, as a customer, to look people in the eyes.
I write this over and over again, but it’s true. It’s the little things, the simple things that make all the difference. Be polite – say please and thank you. Don’t just respect your elders, respect your youngers too. Look people in the eyes, and smile. Be generous with your hugs. Compliment people. Treat people like people, not meat. Ask what people need prayers for. Even if they “don’t believe”, most people will still accept prayers. Don’t rush, give space. Use your blinkers. Pull over for emergency vehicles. Don’t live in your own little world, I’ve heard it’s a lonely place to be. Be the change.
If this is you: considerate, thoughtful, respectful and kind – Kudos! Share your joy. We need more of you in this world.