Sunday, August 03, 2008
Kindness Begins With Me
I thought that it was interesting that in church today, they talked about being kind.
You see, I really never think about being kind, but it had actually crossed my mind a few days ago when I was in yet another airport, in New York, no less, and there just happens to be the unkindest people in:
2. New York.
I had had a fairly uneventful trip from Boston to NY, even though I was functioning on about 3 hours of sleep and had just traveled/driven the night before from Long Island, NY, from a gig----I know, duh, why didn't I just fly out from there, you ask? Well, I am not that good at planning, and I had visions of not being able to get to the airport from who knows where on Long Island at whatever 8th rate motel that I could afford.
So, back to the airport.
I decided to be nice that day. I decided to be kind to people. I decided to smile at people and react nicely, no matter what others did. It was an interesting exercise.
So, this is what happened.
I smiled at the crew as I got off the plane, and they smiled back. Well, they had to, its their job. So, we can't count that.
I walked down to the terminal and made a bee-line for the bathroom. Of course, I had to stand in line to wait, but I tried to catch peoples eyes and smile or nod encouragement to those with annoying children. No one really noticed me. Oh, well.
I moved on to the food stations to grab me some much needed nourishment before my next flight. I decided on Chinese food---the food in this terminal is actually really good, so I was having a cheap thrill, and was a bit excited to eat one thing good on this uber long trip.
I ordered my food and asked, nicely, for chopsticks. The girl didn't speak English very well, but she smiled back all the same and seemed happy that I wished her a great day. Unlike the girl behind me that clearly wasn't having a good day. She complained that they didn't make the line very exact and she didn't know which side to enter in... Whatever, I thought, as I agreed with her, but smiled all the same.
I got my food, checked my schedule and realized that I had to go to another terminal, so I had to get on a shuttle to get there. No worries, I thought, I still had a half hour before my flight boarded.
I walked down to the bottom of the ramp to catch the shuttle. There was a line, and a woman getting on the bus was yelling for her husband to come---that the bus was leaving. Of course, the guy was behind me, and had to run down the ramp and go through everyone---well, you can imagine the woman at the bottom that worked there---getting people on and off the shuttle. She was annoyed and made a comment about stupid people that put other people out, because they can't stay together. I just smiled at her and commiserated with her----I understood how it felt. I don't think that she noticed me.
So, as our shuttle bus pulled up, I walked by her and got onto the bus---she pointed out to us that we could use the back entrance, as no one seemed to be doing that. She was clearly still annoyed.
When I got onto the bus, I smiled at the driver, a young African American guy, and said "Hey! How's it going?" He smiled back and nodded---then drove us to the new terminal.
I felt rather good about my exchanges so far, but it all finally paid off, when I started to exit the bus. The driver smiled at me when I was getting off, and said, "Hey, I really like the colors you are wearing...nice..." I smiled and said "Thanks!"
Well, it pretty much made my day better. I had proved to myself that if I just CHOSE to be nice to people, they would eventually reiterate in....well...kind...
I'm sure that you are wondering if I kept it up the rest of the day. After all, it had still been before noon---well, depending on which time zone you were in. All I can say is that I ended up sitting next to a woman on the next flight--the five hour one---that thought that gum chewing was supposed to sound like some kind of wild animal eating. It was disgusting and no matter how much I made small groaning sounds or annoying "ohhhh", she didn't get the idea that she NEEDED TO SHUT HER MOUTH WHILE SHE CHEWED!
So, I have to admit that she threw me off for the day, and I was seriously happy when she fell asleep and looked like a total dork with her mouth open---snorting like a pig. I just wish that she would have sucked that gum back on one of those snorts and sort of choked.
Oh, oh...did I really say that?