Friday, August 7, 2015

Pass it on.

Deeeeeeelicious sweet tea lemonade image found on Starbucks page

Want to hear yet another of my rather sappy "Ain't Life Grand?" stories? Of course you do.

So I'm getting some dental work done lately. After my dentist put a temporary bridge in, he gave me a card and instructed me to visit the lab that would be making my permanent one. He wanted the technician over there to check the color so that my bridge would match my other teeth.

I thought that was kind of unnecessary. My other dentists in the past got out the tooth color samples and did that sort of thing right while I was in the dentists's office.

But he assured me that this was a good idea since one of the teeth would be near the front of my mouth and he wanted a good color match. So grumbling, I took the card and the following morning called over to make an appointment at the lab.

"Come on over this morning," the tech said. "I'll be around."

I told him that I would see him at his lab in 30 minutes and he assured me that was perfect. So I hopped into Goldie and off we went. I pulled into the parking lot and walked into the office smack dab on the thirty minute mark. As I stepped in and closed the door, two white-coated staff members asked me why I was there. I told them I had an appointment for a color check thingie.

They exchanged troubled glances. "Oh. He's not here right now." I was told.

But I talked to him just a half an hour ago and he said he'd be here!

"Um. I think he said something about going to the grocery store."

He went out to get groceries? I asked in disbelief.

"Yeah. He shouldn't be gone too terribly long. Why don't you sit down and wait? Want some crappy coffee while you're waiting?" The assistant said and laughed rather apologetically.

I refused the coffee and sat down in stony silence.

"Um. I guess I could call him."

I just looked at him. I'm guessing my expression wasn't particularly friendly but I thought it better to just sit quietly or I would say something seriously cranky and that probably wasn't a good idea. I didn't want to tick off the person that had the capability of sticking gross yellow fake teeth in my mouth. So I pulled out my cell phone and was just wasting time when I heard the assistant talking quietly on his phone from another room.

"So did you tell some lady you'd be here this morning? You did? Well, she's here. And I don't think she's very happy.."

He returned to tell me that Mr. Tooth Tech Guy was on his way over. "Our coffee isn't really THAT crappy. Are you sure you don't want some?"

I looked up my my phone and just shook my head and went back to looking at cute baby goat pictures.

About ten long minutes passed before I heard a car pull in to the parking lot, and a gentleman hopped out of the car and jogged into the building. "Hey! You're here! Sorry I wasn't!"

Well, yeah.

He took me back into another room, had me open wide, took some pictures of my teeth, held a zillion little color samples up to my mouth, and within five minutes I was on my way. I did tell him goodbye and thank you as I headed out to my car. But I wasn't particularly friendly about it.

I yanked open Goldie's door; and as I jammed the seat belt buckle into place, crankily figured that that kind of aggravation called for a drive through the nearby Starbucks for an iced tea lemonade.

Love that stuff.

I buzzed over to the Starbucks, rolled down my window, placed my order and pulled up to the window. How much did you say that was?

The barista said, "Absolutely nothing. The lady in the car before you paid for your drink."

Really?!

"Yup."

In an instant, every bit of my crankiness just......evaporated. Disappeared. Poof. And as quickly as the crabbiness left, a warm rosy glow took it's place.

Wow! That was so nice of her! I'll tell you what - I'll give you the amount that I would have paid for my drink, and you can apply it to the order of the person in the car behind me!

"Will do." She smiled.

I left sipping my yummy drink, marveling at how quickly my attitude changed with that awesome random act of kindness.

And then.

I began to think about my unfriendly behavior in dealing with the dental lab just moments before and felt seriously ashamed of myself. I didn't wait all that long for the technician to show up. I didn't have any other pressing appointments that morning. I could have joked with the assistant about the crappy coffee and probably should have taken a cup. I might have asked the tech when he arrived if he needed to unload groceries out of his car before he attended to me. Or asked him if he bought anything yummy that he wanted to share with the rest of us. It wouldn't have been a hard conversation to have, and in all probability doing so would have lifted my spirits too. But I didn't.

Lesson for Julia for the day: Kindness is contagious.

3 comments:

Laura said...

Contagious, but hard when you're faced with something that surprisingly inconsiderate. You'd clearly made sure he'd be there and he wasn't - I can see why you were taken aback and not thinking on your feet, or with the most generous part of you.

Love the pay-it-forward kindnesses. They're awesome.

Deborah Sabin said...

About this time two years ago an online kindness group literally pulled me out of the dumps after my cervical fusion decided it would heal in its own sweet time frame - a year. www.Kindsping.org is wonderful. There will probably be another 21 day kindness challenge in the fall. I even got a daughter out of it. Wedding bells are ringing for her in March and Momma Debbe will be there in traditional Ugandan garb. I'm surprised I haven't given you one of my smile packs yet! So easy to be kind and yet still expect people to hold their end of a bargain. Kindness IS contagious. xoxo

Jazzcat said...

You're just human Julia, we all have hard time sometimes, the important point is to realize it, maybe if you have to go back, you'll bring something sweet to them?

And you did pay back for the next person, you could have been selfish and stop this chain of kindness.

Don't be too hard on yourself.

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