I believe that all of us have had times when we have treated people badly but the shortest lived date I ever went on was a big learning experience for me in this aspect.
I was probably only 22 and I met this guy on a night out. I’d love to tell you that I thought he was gorgeous, charming and funny but in all honesty the 50p vodka mixers was probably the main reason for exchanging numbers.
We arranged to meet in a local bar a couple of days later and I was very nervous as I couldn’t remember what he looked like, let alone if he was actually a nice guy.
Mistake number one. I walked in and he waved me to a seat next to him at the bar (thank god because I really really really didn’t recognise him). It was extremely quiet in the bar and the waitress was drying glasses. Despite attempts to get her attention with eye contact it became clear that she either hadn’t noticed or was ignoring us. In his frustration my date sarcastically started clicking his fingers at her. In shock I put my hand on his arm and said “you don’t click at people”. He just looked at me and laughed before saying, in a very condescending tone, “She’s JUST a waitress”!!!!
I couldn’t believe those words had just exited his mouth. I took a moment to digest and then proceeded to have a very proud moment and say “that says more about you than you’ll ever know”, I took my bag and left.
As much as my inner Beyoncé felt like booty shaking myself down the street to Independent Woman, there was another part of me that was so incredibly sad. How can you call anyone “JUST’ anything?
That woman was a human, the same as me and you. She was a person with feelings, family and friends. Why did he feel that she didn’t deserve that same level or respect that he would expect for himself ? How could anybody believe they were better than her when you can choose to act so low in saying those words.
I’m sure most of us would say that we don’t believe we are better than anyone but sometimes our actions can speak differently. I’ve seen this a lot and also been on the receiving end of it. I’m sure we all have! Whenever I’ve been belittled or spoken down to it really knocks you. I’d like to think my skins a bit thicker these days but for others it isn’t.
I can’t imagine that waitress felt very good after being clicked at by the look on her face. She could have had an awful day or had stuff going on at home that was distracting her, all topped off by some narcissist clicking his fingers at her and I’d be certain in saying that she heard his words.
How a stranger presents to you on that day is a mini picture of them. You have no idea about who they are, who they are important to, what they’ve been through or even in the short term how their day has been that very day. Therefore, you have no idea how your words or actions can impact on them. You can’t make a second first impression!!
You are always in control of how you act. Its difficult in the moment to think of the bigger picture but treating others how you would wish to be treated yourself is so important. Imagine if that person was a friend or family member, would you treat them that way? You also don’t know where you will meet this person again and they will either remember you for your kindness or your nastiness.
Id like to think that my words made him reflect but judging by his attitude I think that’s slightly optimistic. I’d also like to think that the waitress felt some form of karma by watching me walk out on him but this I will never know. Either way it was a moment that made me reflect on acting with kindness and integrity, plus the Beyoncé moment was very empowering!! (“To the left to the left”…)