This I Believe

Amanda - Granville, Ohio
Entered on December 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that I should always treat others with kindness even when they treat me poorly. My mother used to tell me to treat other people well even when they were mean or rude to me because I never know what they may have been through that day. I agreed with this notion, but it never really hit home until I grew up and got a job.

Working at the return desk at Wal-Mart is never a treat. Getting yelled at and argued with all day was normal. However, I tried my best to be cordial and to treat the customers with respect. One day, a twenty-something year old girl approached the counter. Her hair was unkempt and pulled into a messy bun. Her clothes looked like she bought them… well, at Wal-Mart, and they were dirty and crinkled. However, this was not what troubled me about her. She was stalking towards the counter where I stood, and it seemed like she had a storm raging behind her. I became nervous, but stayed calm. She finally reached the counter and slammed down a busted up package of diapers. She screamed at me to get her money back because these diapers were defective. I said alright and began the transaction. When I looked up a moment later to ask for her receipt, she had tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. I followed my gut reaction and asked her what was wrong. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them, knowing for sure that she would yell at me again. However, this woman told me that she had had a stressful week, had hardly any money, and was just trying to get by. She used her last ten dollars to buy a package of diapers for her baby and when she got home, they were useless. She sobbed and apologized for being so rude. Even though I have never been in the exact same situation, I can definitely understand how it feels when nothing in the world is going right. I told her it was no problem and helped her to get a new package of diapers.

My mother’s advice came in handy another time while working at a hospital. I was checking in a patient for his exam and I asked him for his photo I.D. and insurance cards. Like turning on a light switch, he lost his temper and started bellowing about how he didn’t see why he had to show his cards every single bleeping time he came in. I stayed as composed as I possibly could even though he continued to act bitter and angry. When I was done checking him in, I was glad to hand him off to the tech performing his exam. Later that evening, the tech told me that this man had found out he had cancer just a few days before. I felt guilty and miserable for being so mad at him, but I was also relieved that I had bit my tongue and not lashed out at him.

My mom’s advice showed me that by treating other people kindly I can improve their lives as well as my own. I am glad my mom gave me this advice because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.