Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Human Obligation

It’s late…well, maybe not late to you, but my body checks out at a certain time.  It’s as if my brain has been programmed to do an automatic shutdown during a particular window of time.  So that window of time just kicked off about thirty minutes ago.  I still have to squeeze in a training run.  It’ll happen, even if it’s with my eyes closed.  For those of you friends with me on FaceBook, I made a status update sometime last week about nearly being hit head on in a parking lot.  I smacked my horn to alert the woman of my presence.  Instead of her taking ownership, acceptance, responsibility – whatever you want to call it – of her actions she deflects the problem to me by flashing her middle finger.  Huh?   At what point in that situation was I behaving like an asshole?  Hmmm.  More and more, I believe we, as people, have a human obligation to respect each other, help whenever we can (whether or not it’s our job) and pay it forward.  We are all on the same team; let’s act like it.
Within the past year, I have put on the ‘same team’ jersey and climbed up on my soap box.  As a young child I was advised to keep an open mind and respect people’s beliefs, regardless of mine.  On the same vein, I shouldn’t sacrifice or bend my own constitution.  I put on my ‘same team’ jersey, laced up my shoes and took the Human Obligation campaign to the workplace.  Not to disappoint, my peeps were already registered voters for the Human Obligation party.  It would be a challenge to spread the word and get people on board, but ‘WE CAN DO IT’.* 
There are a few simple guidelines to get this to work:
1). Treat others how you would like to be treated – is this so far fetched?  Say hello, as you pass a fellow co-worker or stranger in the hallway or on the street;It’s just polite.  Offer to help someone find their way, carry a package or hold a door open for them.
2). Believe that you do make a difference.  Each positive thing you do touches someone.  At least one of those people will pay it forward. 
3). You are not perfect.  We’re only human after all. 
Guideline #3 can be seen as the loophole or caveat.  We all make mistakes and we all stray from the straight and narrow.  Just get back on the horse and grab the bull by the horns.  (Insert any other overly used clich├ęs here).
Today, started off to be a great day.  All of my Valentine’s stole my heart with their hugs and kisses.  Although some work obligations kept me from eating a normal lunch or going to the gym I made the best of it and pressed on.  I looked forward to the end of the day where I would see my beautiful girls at their day care Valentine party.  The hubbs would be working late, so it would just be the ladies again.  I arrived at day care and much to my surprise Marcus was sitting in the pre-school room with our youngest bouncing on his knee.  He was just passing by and stopped to see the girls.  Within ten minutes the baby was passed to me and we all said our good-byes. 
It took some time, but I piled everyone and everything into my car and left for home.  Unfortunately, while we were stopped at a red light, a distracted driver (no not texting, or sexting, or surfing, or boogie boarding) rear ended me.  I immediately checked in with the girls to see if they were okay and then envisioned my five month old Sweet Dee with a crumpled rear.  I pulled over, put my flashers on and got out of the car.  Without assessing the damage, I looked at the younger driver to say, ‘What the [insert choice word here] are you doing?’  Immediately on the defensive, of course, she exclaims that there’s no damage.  This was a fact.  The impact shocked us into fear, but the reality was that there was no damage to either car.  This is what a bumper does – it’s a buffer for idiot, but not entirely reckless driving.  Doing the right thing, regardless of the severity, I request the exchange of information.  The driver runs across the street and sequesters two individuals (assumed, known) back to the scene before continuing with the conversation.  I proceed to take a vicious verbal beating from a woman who tells me that I’m not doing the right thing.  She’s throwing her body around like a gyrating dancer while yelling at me curbside. 
The Italian, with Staten Island influence, in me started to bubble to the surface.  My palms got sweaty as my hands shook and my body was overcome in an uncontrollable hotness.  It took everything I had to dial back the compulsion to escalate the situation.  Fifteen years ago this would have been a real rumble, but age has mellowed me.  I also have a HUMAN OBLIGATION (see the theme) to be a role model for my children.  I swallowed my pride, eventually got the information I wanted and I left the scene.  I’m not exactly sure how I was labeled the guilty party and why I was the recipient of the unnecessary wrath.  I believe my strained ability to hold back my feelings made me the bigger person.  I stayed true to the obligation.  Maybe one day they will pay it forward.  All I can do is continue to hope and have faith. 
In the meantime I guess I’ll go run.  I need to alleviate the stress or I just may punch a wall.  :)  

SHOUT OUT: I've become an advocate of exceptional customer service.  We, as people, need to be a support to those around us and help in any way possible.  The 'it's not my job' doesn't fly with me.  Recently, I attempted to order an iStick from a Canadian company Dew Motion.  They make electronic performance gear.  Check out their site.  I had some trouble and eventually contacted Mike Turner at the US office.  He helped to settle the ordering issue and get the device shipped over night to my husband in Maine.  To boot, Mike read the blog.  Heck yes, you'll get a shout out.  THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!  GOOD PEOPLE...PAY IT FORWARD! 

*Please be advised that any political references do not denote a personal preference in political party and/or candidates.