Does your reaction to life situations create potential long-term damage or good long-term memories?
"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:
- Did the bus driver react so rigidly because he is very committed to doing his job ethically correctly?
- Did he react so negatively to the boy because the boy was black?
- Did he have¬†a preconceived idea that black boys try to ride the bus for free and¬† he was out to get them?
- Would he have treated a white boy, an old woman, an old man, a beautiful woman differently?
- Did¬† this¬† man have¬†children or any child in his life? What if his child had been caught in a situation without a bus ticket?
- Would it have cost anything to the driver or the tax payers to let the boy ride safely home? If he did not have a ticket and no one let him on the bus, would he have to sleep at the station tonight?
- What¬†was gained from invoking so much anger, embarrassment and fear? One may argue that if the driver let the boy ride for free, it may send the wrong message and¬†perhaps give the boy the message that¬†he¬†could do it¬†again and cheat the system.