There’s no question that the title of this article could be a bit harsh sounding – the mean and nasty post office lady – and it’s kind of how I felt at the time. That is, until she transformed herself right before my very eyes at the end of our time together. Another reminder to myself why judging others is such a waste of energy.
As I stepped up to the counter I greeted her with a smile and asked how her day was going. She just looked at me and said, “What do you need to mail?” in a not so nice tone.
A really not so nice tone, actually!
At that moment I wanted to step back and get into line again, waiting for another clerk. I had a package going to Switzerland and it required several things to make sure I got this delivery right. I was a little concerned about the whole address thing because it’s a small village and it’s quite different than what I was used to with addresses.
Taking a deep breath, I kept on smiling and did my best to maintain my emotional energy so I could stay in a place of peace and not get pulled into her energy. As she was punching things into the computer it kept bringing up wrong information. She sighed heavily and banged on a few other keys. This just slowed the computer down and kept giving her a blank screen while it struggled to search for whatever she needed. More sighing, a little bit of cursing, while aggressively doing other business as she waited for the computer.
I found myself getting annoyed at her behavior and being pulled out of my place of peace and happiness – which was how I felt when I walked in.
My worst fear
Finally the screen brought up information and she could move forward with my shipping.
Or so I thought!
My worst fear was happening – the address wasn’t making sense! She looked at me and gruffly said, “Are you sure you have this right? I’m thinking not since the computer says it’s not!”
Really! The computer said that! I didn’t hear any such thing!
Keep in mind I only thought this. I dare not say it out loud. But at this point my peace was slipping away and my sarcasm and anger were starting to come through.
“Could it be operator error?” I thought to myself. I knew that the street name was a difficult spelling and since I had written it wrong a couple of times prior to going to the post office, it was possible she typed it in wrong – especially as angry and frustrated as she was feeling.
After another deep breath, trying to purposely bring my peace back, I said in the most kind voice I could muster up, “Would you mind double checking the spelling of the street? It’s a bit difficult with the letter arrangement and I wrote it wrong several times before getting it right, myself.”
Her response? “I doubt I got it wrong.”
Turning back to her computer and without saying another word she made some adjustments and voila, the payment machine in front of me started spitting out delivery options and prices! While holding a place of compassion I thanked her and picked my best option.
Finishing up the process in silence I took my receipt and told her, “I truly do hope your day gets better because you deserve a great day, every day.”
As I turned to leave she touched my hand. She gave me a faint smile and with tears in her eyes said, “I’m sorry for my behavior. I’m having a bad day. Thank you for your patience and kindness.”
And with that I touched her hand and said, “You are so welcome.”
We just never know
I’ve said it a million times and I believe it can never be said enough. We just never know what is going on in someone’s life. And no matter how they are behaving toward us we are always able to choose the type of behavior we give in return.
Her water filled eyes told me all I needed to know in that moment – there was something deeper happening within her. I wanted to reach across the counter and give her the hug of a lifetime but decided for now it was enough that we connected with our hands and hearts.
There are so many situations that happen throughout your day, week or month that gives you the opportunity to practice managing your internal peace so you don’t get sucked into someone else’s energy. And it’s through your peaceful state that you can change people’s lives – even if just for a moment.