I caught myself saying it, ‘fine, don’t thank me,’ muttered under my breath as they swept past me. It was three thirty on a cold, crisp Monday afternoon. School was out so the streets were filled with kids and parents, the roads, equally as hectic. A lady bustled towards me, school age daughter dragging alongside and toddler kicking his legs joyfully in a post-box red buggy. I live in a small town and have two children, so often I recognise the families as they approach; familiar faces from school, nursery or toddler groups, but on this occasion I did not. Nevertheless, as I was exempt from having collected my children yet, I gladly moved out of the way as she approached, stepping off the pavement, avoiding the rush hour traffic, to let them pass. I smiled to let her know I was more than happy to do so. She stormed past me, did not return the smile, nor acknowledge my gesture and carried on as though I had not been in the least bit helpful.
For a moment this woman darkened my day a little. I had been humming joyfully beforehand, but her gesture wiped the smile from my face, I cursed her internally and muttered my sarcastic remarks before carrying on with my journey to nursery. In the two minutes that followed I over analysed how rude people can be and how next time I might not bother at all. I can quite openly say that I well and truly judged that lady and if first impressions are anything to go by, then I can honestly admit my thoughts were that I would never go out of my way to befriend her. But that was my final negative thought, I told myself off for being so judgemental, how I was going against everything I taught my children and had not reminded myself that everyone is fighting a battle and don’t be so quick to criticise.
Sadly, I have come to find that in life some people are just that, rude, but certainly far from all. I believe it to be my last thought, that I wouldn’t go out of my way to befriend her, that shook me up. What if this lady didn’t have friends? Didn’t have someone to rely on, to help her out, was rushing home before the toddler kicked off to save herself further hassle? Maybe she was ill, or tired, perhaps he had kept her up all night and she was struggling to stay sane? Whatever the cause for her haste, I am no stranger to it. My days seem to be a constant rush, running from one after school club to the next, trying to avoid a threenager ‘episode’. There have been many an afternoon when I am tearing up and down the high street in the hope of avoiding some sort of drama. How many people have moved out of the way for me that I haven’t even seen coming?
I am aware that this post may seem somewhat cliché in its content, a reminder to see the good in people, particularly with the festive season approaching. I can’t deny, that is exactly what it is. But in truth, I know that in the coming weeks, I will resemble that woman, I will be rushing around for Christmas presents before the kids break up from school. There will be days I am juggling sick children, simply because it is that time of year, and hand in hand with sick kids comes an extreme lack of sleep. Guaranteed, there will be at least one afternoon that I will come across as rude, I wish to apologise in advance, it’s not who I am, just circumstance on that particular day. I hope anyone who sees me on one of those days, won’t be too hasty to judge, and to the lady I was so negative towards, I’m sorry, I only hope you are having a better day today.