Story & Photo by Joseph Boyle
I have a metal sign hanging in my office. The sign’s message is succinct and yet shares a powerful message, “KINDNESS 365”.
Let me share two stories with you to demonstrate how “KINDNESS 365” is a wonderful life-enhancing concept.
Story #1: A few years ago I road my Harley Davidson motorcycle into a Wyoming gas station and pulled in front of an available pump. I did not race for the pump, nor did I cut anyone off.
A pickup truck moving around the outer edge of the lot came racing up to my pump. I had no idea this guy had his eye on the same pump.
He acted as if he was going to hit me head-on. He was %%@@#** (No swearing allowed in a family-friendly newspaper) like an out of control bully.
I had done nothing wrong. It was my pump to use. How long does it take to fill the tank of a Harley with 4 gallons of gas anyway?
He has no idea how lucky he is that he was trying to bully a guy who likes to remain calm, civilized and lawful.
When I ride cross-country, I always carry my 45-semi auto handgun. Fortunately for him, I am more like me than I am like him.
I had a case at work where a guy hosed a hothead down with gas and threatened to light him on fire.
I know things can get out of control fast.
My thought process was, “Life is too short to get wrapped around the axel with this hothead. I am on vacation simply trying to buy 4 gallons.” While I am fully capable of holding my ground, I had nothing to prove to this guy.
I told him, “Hey, I am not a mind reader. I will move to another pump.”
I moved and he took over the pump. When he went inside the gas office I had this strong urge to tell the woman left sitting in his passenger seat, “Miss, if it is not too late and you have not married this bozo, take notice as to how he just treated me. One day he will treat you worse. Open the truck door, now, and run for your life.”
I did not tell her, but I still have the urge.
Story #2: Fast forward to last week. On the eve of Thanksgiving I am pulling into the Safeway gas station off North Pearl Street. The station is busy with a car in front of almost every pump. As I head towards one of the few available pumps, I see an SUV heading towards the same pump from the opposite direction.
Now the pump is mine. Even without racing forward, I can take the pump before this guy, no argument
Instead of exercising my “gas pump rights” I remembered my sign, “KINDNESS 365”, and decide to try it out.
I pull forward towards the pump; pass the pump and then angle away to stop along side the other car before he reached the pump. Through our car windows I asked, “Are you heading to the same pump?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I tell you what, I have not done anything kind for anyone all year. You go ahead and take the pump.” He laughed and said; “I doubt that, but thank you.
After circling around I caught a pump on the opposite side of the isle from the other driver. As we both filled our tanks we had the best time laughing about how we met at the gas pump. We talked about motorcycles and BMW cars. It was fun.
We do not know each other’s names. We will probably never see each other again, but we had a positive human exchange.
If the bully from Wyoming should happen to read this article, it would be my hope that he would learn, it is better and much more fun to be kind to each other.
Try out my sign’s message today and tomorrow by going out of your way to apply the “KINDNESS – 365” concept.