Last Friday, my daycare was closed due to an impending storm, but my provider agreed to take the kids for a few hours in the morning so that I could go get new tires put on my car. I had ordered the tires online and had them shipped to an installer near my house. I had tracked the order online and called when the tires were delivered to make an appointment for the installation. "No need for an appointment, ma'am!" the cheerful dude told me. "Come in anytime! Shouldn't take more than an hour and a half!"
"How about Friday?" I said, figuring I'd drop the kids off at daycare early and get it done before work.
"Great! Anytime!" he quipped.
"I really don't need an appointment?"
"No! No need! See you!"
Uh huh. Yeah. I pull in Friday and am told that due to the storm forecast to arrive that afternoon, the wait will be five hours. At least. I did not handle this information gracefully.
"ALL RIGHT THEN!" I bellowed, right there in the lobby of the rather grimy store. "I GUESS I'LL SETTLE IN FOR A FIVE-HOUR WAIT!"
A tired-looking employee asked which car was mine, and we walked out to the parking lot so that he could get the info he needed about the car to enter into the computer.
I proceeded to rip him a new one in the parking lot. "I KNOW IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT BUT I CALLED ON MONDAY AND I WAS TOLD I DIDN'T NEED AN APPOINTMENT AND THAT IT WOULD TAKE AN HOUR AND A HALF AND NOW IT WILL TAKE FIVE HOURS AND I AM A SINGLE MOM WITH A JOB AND KIDS AND I KNOW IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT BUT IT'S REALLY STUPID THAT YOU DON'T TAKE APPOINTMENTS AND I'M REALLY ANGRY AND . . . "
I went on and on and on. Loudly. I was rude. The guy was patient. He listened to all my complaining and vitriol and ridiculous irrelevant commentary about the conditions of my life. Then he suggested that I come back on a different day when there would be less of a wait, which seemed like my only course of action since the twins needed to be fetched from school before the storm hit.
I did not leave calmly. I was still pissed. I tore out of the parking lot like a bat out of hell, yelling at the top of my lungs* and banging on the steering wheel. It was not pretty. I wanted to get my errand done that day, dammit. I'd made arrangements and I didn't want to be inconvenienced and have to come back. Because, you know, the world revolves around me.
Once I calmed down, I was totally embarrassed and ashamed. I had been self-centered and rude and ridiculous.
Today, head hung low, I went back to the store to get the tires installed. The guy was there.
"Oh, hey, you ready to get those tires put on your Subaru?" he asked.
"Yes, please." I couldn't meet his eyes.
"I'll go get the info I need off your car. Be right back."
He treated me with the utmost kindness during the whole transaction. He apologized that they didn't have any coffee in the waiting area, and that the TV was broken. When the car was ready (in an hour) and I was paying, he thanked me for my patience, asked me about the kids, how old they were, and commented that it must be a lot of work to raise twins on my own. I apologized for my behavior on Friday, and his only comment was that we all have days like that. True, but some people handle them better than others. We wished each other happy holidays, and I was on my way.
Now maybe he put the wrong tires on my car and they will explode next week, or maybe he charged me for an alignment and didn't really do it. I think, though, that he's just a good, decent guy on a day and at a time when I needed a dose of kindness.
May I rise to the occasion next time.
Happy holidays, everyone. The twins and I are scheduled to fly from Boston to Portland tomorrow to spend a couple of weeks with my family. I'm hopeful that we'll make it out as scheduled. Not sure how much I'll be posting from Oregon.
*For those of you who suggested to me that the car was a good place for yelling, you are SO RIGHT. Awesome.