“Can I help you?” That’s what I said to the man in the mall.
I was walking through the mall recently, where I work, when I noticed a man, somewhat older then myself, who might need some assistance. He had a cup of Tim Hortons coffee in one hand and a small briefcase or tablet case on the other. Both were balanced precariously on a rail surrounding an opening to the floor below while he seemed to be adjusting his hand position. Seeing that he might lose his grip on either item, I asked “Can I help?” Or “Could you use a hand?”
Well, I did not get the response I expected. What I got was a tirade of “How dare you! How were you raised? I’ve lived on this planet for 70 years and I will ask for help when I want it and carried this coffee halfway down this mall, and so on and so on…!!” He was clearly highly insulted to be offered assistance of any kind.
I did not have a chance to reply because:
- I was too shocked by his attitude, and
- I knew it would only make him more angry, and
- He did not give me a chance to reply in any case, and
- My parents did, in fact, raise me to be both polite and helpful.
So instead I nodded graciously and walked away.
Then I remembered to pull out my “shield of love”:
Just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains. Og Mandino (Scroll 2, the Greatest Salesman)
And what about the Law of Dual Thought? Well, with this Law, we can choose what feelings to attach to our thoughts. We can choose a negative, or a positive thought. Obviously my “friend” in the mall chose a negative thought – that receiving help was an insult to his independence. I prefer the positive choice, and I continue to offer help when I can – most people accept it graciously.
Your focus determines your reality. Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars
I would like to take this opportunity to reply since I am pretty sure he will never read this: “I am sorry for your attitude, sir, but my parents raised me to help others when I can, whether they are 70 or 17. My Dad lived according to the Golden Rule, and I proud to say that I do the same when I can. Have a good day, Mr. Crankypants.”
Luckily, being a graduate of the 7 Day Mental Diet, this interaction did not ruin my day. In fact, I found humour in it, and gratitude for something to write in my blog