Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
My son recently locked all the keys inside the car. We didn’t have a spare key or valet key at home so I decided to tow the car to the dealer where they would be able to open it and retrieve the keys. At the time, my son would drive to his boss’s apartment complex, pick up a company van, and go do his work so the car was parked in the common parking area of the complex. I drove over after work to wait for the tow truck and to wait for my son who would drive my car home.
When I drove into the parking lot, I had a hard time finding a place to park. There were several generations of line paintings visible with overlapping visitor and reserved signs painted over the parking spots. I guessed at what I thought was a visitor spot and waited. After an hour I noticed a woman in a car behind me in the parking lane of the complex. It looked like she was waiting for someone to come out and join her.
After a few minutes, I looked again and she motioned to me. I was in her reserved parking spot and she had been stewing there, waiting for me to get out of the way. I moved around to the other side of the parking area and picked another spot that looked like it might be for visitors and got out to apologize. As she walked in she made an angry comment to me about people parking in her spot and not on the street.
Well, I started to stew. There was no way to tell which spots were reserved and I was angry that she was mad at me about it. I spent the next 30 minutes thinking up good retorts if she came back out and said anything to me again. But in the back of my mind, I kept having this thought that it would do more harm than good. The tow truck finally arrived and started hooking up my son’s car, which was right next to hers. She came running out in a fury exclaiming, “You’re towing my car?! You’re towing my car?!”
I was all queued up to tell her to “go inside and feed your cats” but I had cooled down enough to let my better angels prevail. Instead, I explained to her that it was my car and I told her why I had been loitering in her parking lot. It was rather comical to watch the realization spread across her face that I hadn’t spent the last hour and a half purposefully tormenting her. She then told me, “I’m sorry, I’m not usually such a (you can fill in the blank), it’s been a hard day. This morning I had to put down my cat.”
I am so grateful that I didn’t ruin her day further with a snarky comment. I wonder how many times I have compounded someone’s difficulties with my own big mouth? I’m grateful for the reminder that I need to do better.Published in