This I Believe

Kristen - Bismarck, North Dakota
Entered on January 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes

Growing up I was told to be kind and considerate to everyone. My parents said I needed to treat everyone with respect regardless their race, social status, or income. I assumed everyone believed this same idea but I quickly found out how wrong I was.

My first job was at Dan’s Supermarket as a cashier. I was appalled to see how rude the world was. I know that the customer is always right but I didn’t know the customer thought “I’m always right.” The first experience of my wake up call occurred the first week I started working. It was a busy day and I was still learning the ropes of the register when I came across a problem, I was not sure how to use a gift card. I called for a manager but no one was available. It was when I was standing there in sheer panic and mortification when the next man in line told me I should figure out what I’m doing or go find someone who does. I apologized because the customer is always right, but I was devastated. This was just the beginning of my reality check.

It seemed people had the right to treat me with the lowest form of respect, they acted like they were better then me in all ways. Since it was my first job and I was so naive, I wasn’t able to understand how someone could treat a person that way.

One day I went shopping with my mom and realized she was a customer that had an “I am always right” attitude. I was embarrassed and felt bad. Later I told my mom how hard it is to deal with people like that and how uncomfortable it is. Raising your voice and arguing about what is on sale does not get anything accomplished except hurt feelings.

Sometimes I find myself becoming impatient waiting in lines or getting frustrated when items cost so much money but I have learned to put myself in their shoes and try to understand their position. I try to use this mentality on store employees, teachers, parents, friends and strangers. Most of the time it changes my attitude and keeps me grounded.

I believe no one is better than another person. Everyone should be treated with the same respect and dignity. I think it is important to take the time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; it just may change your point of view on a situation.