There was a real jerk in Starbucks today. First he was rude to the clerk at the counter. There was a misunderstanding and he needed to repeat his order. He called the clerk an idiot.
Then something didn't taste right in his order. Soy milk instead of coconut. He was pissed. He let the barista know "this is unacceptable."
He said a lot more than that- I am just not putting it all in here, let's just say this guy was a real jerk.
The clerk and the barista exchanged looks. Maybe they knew him. Or maybe they knew others like him. This was not their first disgruntled customer rodeo.
I felt my protective hackles stand up for them. No one deserves to be treated with disrespect- certainly not at work, and certainly not when providing silly beverages.
When I got to the front of the line I told the clerk, "I am really sorry people talk to you that way. It is really not okay. I am sure you're doing the best you can." Expecting her to feel comforted.
Instead she said, "You're right, it's not okay, but I bet he's having a hard day. You never know what people are going through."
There you have it- compassion in a nutshell: extending goodwill, trusting the best of intentions, and holding care for folks- even the jerks.
Today I'm focusing on compassion. From it's bad drivers to customer service, to bullies- everyone has a battle.
Everyone has a wound.
Remembering we are all imperfect and striving (even the meanie I saw at Starbucks) helps me find a little more peace.