Today’s a vacation day for me, so after my workout this morning I stopped by Publix to do my grocery shopping while the store was relatively uncrowded. I had unloaded all my items onto the conveyor belt and the cashier was about to start ringing up my purchases when I heard a woman behind me call out to me. On the verge of tears, she asked if she could possibly go ahead of me. She only had some donuts, bottled water and napkins in her cart, and she hastily explained that she was in a rush because the’d forgotten that she was supposed to feed her son’s basketball team this morning. The woman was quite upset and I was glad to let her go ahead of me. She thanked me profusely while berating herself for being forgetful. I told her not to worry, that we all have bad days and that I hoped her day got better from here on out.
I tell this story not to brag on myself for letting her in front of me in the checkout line (really, who wouldn’t do that for a stranger in need?). Rather, I share this to remind us all that there are times when we need to cut each other some slack. That “jerk” who cut us off in traffic may have been in a rush to get to the hospital to check on an ill family member. The store clerk who seems so unfriendly may have been worrying about how they were going to make ends meet. We just never know what kind of day someone’s having, and sometimes what’s displayed on the outside is covering up a lot of hurt and fear on the inside.