On this particular day, a down right grumpy associate taught me a lesson.
I was sent in search of a heavy duty plastic lining for a tile shower so I headed over to the plumbing department. When I inquired about this particular product to the plumbing guy, he waved his arms and said with frustration "I don't have any of that over here, go check in flooring."
I headed over to flooring and got a similar answer in reverse..."That should be in plumbing." Finally a kindly soul in an orange apron walked me over to where the shower liner might be...right in the middle of the plumbing department!
I saw the original arm waving plumbing guy walk by so I flagged him down and made an exaggerated pointing motion to the product he said he didn't have in his department. He grabbed a new roll from under the shelves and proceeded to cut, his body language screaming "I am annoyed!"
I was still trying to find out if we needed 5 or 6 feet at the same time he was cutting a 5 foot piece. We needed 6 feet. He was boiling now. My naughty side wanted to give him a tongue lashing for being so rude when a minor miracle happened... I thought before I spoke.
"Are you having a bad day besides this right now?"
At that moment his whole demeanor changed. He looked up from the floor and smiled at me. He apologized for being gruff and said, "I have diabetes and took my medicine without having a chance to eat and it really makes me feel bad." It was then we connected as humans. I softened. I understood. I had compassion instead of anger.
It made me think of all the times that I had been "acting out" in frustration because something was going on "behind the scenes." This experience proved to me once again that we do not have all of the information to make judgements about people. Mercy is better than justice. I am so very glad I did not let him "have it." It seems that the golden rule has not lost it's shine...Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!