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Respond, Don’t React

I drove into a Bulk Barn parking lot. Innocent enough, right?

I was driving really slowly and I passed by a car that was already parked, drove a little farther and settled into a parking spot one spot over, two spots past. Following me so far?

I had two young passengers with me and we were heading into the store for some treats.

As soon as I exited the car, an older man started yelling at me.

“You crazy driver! Don’t you know how to drive? You could have killed her (I assume he was referring to the woman sitting in the front passenger seat) when she was getting outĀ of the car! Don’t you watch where you’re going?”

At first, I didn’t even realize he was talking to me so I just stared at him.

But he wasn’t finished yelling . . . and his rude comments were definitely directed to me. My two young passengers weren’t sure what to do so they stood behind me and waited for this man’s rant to finish.

I was trying to figure out if I had actually done anything wrong so I quickly reviewed the situation in my head and decided there was no reason to apologize.

“I don’t think I did anything to deserve your screaming at me, Sir” is all that I could get out.

The man gave me a very nasty look and mumbled something under his breath as he turned away from me.

One of my young passengers looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I wonder why that man is screaming? He must have had a terrible morning.”

What a mature perspective. Thoughtful empathy. Gentle self control. Patient love.

We all carry our days with us. Sometimes, the burden gets too heavy and spills over onto others.

How wise it is to respond, not react.

To feel with, not to judge.

To step back, rather than attack.

It’s not about being right. It’s about being kind.










  1. Anne Loewen

    There was a YouTube once about a guy going about his day and it seemed everyone was giving him grief. Later there were dialogue bubbles above the people he had met explaining why they may have reacted as they did – health issues, lost job, divorce, etc. Can’t remember the scenarios but do remember that we don’t know what is going on in people’s lives – be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard battle – Plato, I think.

    • Diane (Author)

      Exactly. Our inconveniences can often happen because of other peoples’ REALLY tough circumstances. The message is good – be kind. Thanks, Anne for your comment.

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