Yesterday, I witnessed an argument between a white bus driver and a 14-year-old black boy. Apparently, the boy put in only one ticket in the ticket slot instead of 2 (2 is the fare) and the bus driver insisted that he must put in a second ticket to ride the bus. The boy was quite upset. He kept on searching his pockets and looked quite helpless that he did not have a second ticket.
I volunteered a ticket and the bus got moving. The boy was very thankful.
I asked him why he did not have a second ticket and he told me that he thinks it fell out of his pocket. He hung his head in shame and felt very embarrassed that he was made such a spectacle of in front of everyone on the bus. (Having children myself, of course I felt bad for the kid).
When he got off the bus, he blasted a string of curses at the bus driver who also cursed him back. I was a bit shocked at his reaction and made me think of the types of emotions we hang on to. He could have walked off the bus in complete gratitude that I gave him two tickets to get him safely home but he chose to go back to the negative emotion with the bus driver!
I found myself evaluating the situation which I thought could have been handled differently. So I asked myself several questions:
My biggest questions:
What is the worst thing that could happen if the boy rode for free?
What is the best thing that could happen if the bus driver was compassionate, gave him a warning and allowed him to ride the bus? This boy would forever remember this bus driver as being kind. (Even though he may still take the chance of riding for free again.)
We will all respond to situations as such from our own point of reference and our state of emotion. From my observation in life, our state of emotion and the “stories” we have told ourselves about other people, determines what kind of battles we pick. Some things are not worth fighting over. And in some cases it is important to stand up for something even when everyone else thinks differently. I have learnt that compassion and kindness are often remembered with fondness and it soothes our spirits when others are kind to us.
Kindness invites more kindness.
Anger invokes more anger.
Which one would you consciously choose?
TuneIn to assess the situations around you at home, among your friends, at work etc. StepUp to do what will create a long-term positive memory that inspires trust, confidence, compassion and kindness in the future.