You Never Know What People Are Going Through, So Be Kind. Always.
This is something we hear quite often, but it bears repeating.
Be kind, always.
Years ago, I was with my boyfriend after leaving the hospital where his father was staying, after having a massive stroke. The family had just made the decision to remove life support, and it was now just a matter of days, or hours. Their father, a WWII veteran and hardworking provider for the family, had also suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease for many years, and this was the end.
We skipped out to grab a quick bite to eat, close to the hospital. As we sat there, silently, I looked around and thought how we probably looked like any other couple sitting down to dinner. Nobody could tell what my boyfriend was going through, or where we had just come from.
I looked around and thought how some of these other people were possibly going though the same thing, since it was so close to the hospital.
But you just don’t know.
So be kind.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook about an encounter she recently had on the bus. You see, she is legally blind, and has a chronic, but “silent” illness which is often debilitating, but you wouldn’t know by looking at her.
She was reprimanded for taking a handicapped seat, by an older man and his wife, the man grumbling something about my friend being an “entitled millennial”. She kindly explained to him that she is disabled (and has the card to prove it), but moved anyway, as she struggled to stay balanced on the moving bus to find another seat.
You just never know. So be kind.
Those irritating old people who drive slowly in the right (or left!) lane? Be kind, for God’s sake. I’ve got news for you, these old people have been through a lot, and the likelihood of something pretty damn crappy going on in their lives at any given moment is high.
Try driving in Florida, with old people everywhere. Deal with it. If you are so blessed, you will be old someday too. And you should hope that people will have compassion for you as you struggle to go about your day-to-day activities, despite the physical and/or emotional pain that is common and likely for the aging population.
For the love of God, be kind. Especially to old people.
That Uber driver who is not so good? She might be an overwhelmed single mother trying to make ends meet by working a second job, or a guy who has been laid off and trying to provide for his family by driving. Anyone driving an Uber or Lyft is not living high on the hog, trust me on that one.
Be. Freaking. Kind.
I think about this when I am in the drug store, waiting for a prescription, or whatever. People are in pain, or waiting in line for their loved ones who are ill. I’ve been there myself. In fact, I had just left my parents’ house and was waiting in line with some things for my father who was battling cancer, when my sister called to tell me our mother had passed away. I put the stuff down, and ran out. Or did I? I don’t remember.
And I just looked like any other person standing in line at Walgreens.
So be kind.
Sometimes it takes going through some bad stuff to make you realize how truly important it is.
It seems really trivial to tell this story, but it was a big deal at the time. You see, my dad died weeks after my mom, and it was really difficult for me. They both had cancer, and it was a tough road.
I did my best to get back to “normal” after they both passed, but had legit PTSD after two years of managing their care, and their subsequent deaths. I was having a tough time getting back to work, but my photography business was rather slow anyway.
But I did have this job about a month after they died, and it was going well…I have this way of being on auto-pilot, as I have many years of experience, and I am good at my job. It was a photo shoot of a couple with their young son, and it was the second year in a row I had photographed them.
Although, I was “in the zone” professionally, it was still difficult for me emotionally. At one point, apparently I mispronounced the wife’s name. She stepped away, and the husband very curtly said to me “It’s not Anna, it’s AnYA. ANYA. ANYA”. I knew her name, but I just wasn’t thinking.
He did not say it in a kind way, and I felt like crying, or blurting out “My parents just died!”. Instead I said “I’m so sorry”, and we continued with the shoot.
So be kind.
That person next to on the bus? They might be taking themselves to the hospital for chemo.
That bad driver? They may be rushing home because of an emergency.
That cranky cashier? She may be suffering from chronic pain.
That person who is smiling and friendly? They might be suffering from severe depression.
So just be kind to everyone. Ok?