Sometimes our best intentions are misunderstood

It happens to all of us, our intention is to do the right thing but sometimes in our haste and busy lives we just don’t. Or at least that is how an action is perceived. This past weekend, I experienced this exact thing. I was rushing to do some last-minute errands and time was short. I dropped my daughter off at Michael’s to save time and double our efforts while I ran into the grocery store nearby. She texted me that In the end, she needed me to come inside the store to make a final decision on something.

As I hurriedly tried to find a parking space I pulled from one side of the parking line through to an open spot on the other side. There was a large truck parked in the spot behind the original choice. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to back out after our quick errand so I pulled through to the spot in front which meant I was facing the wrong way in the parking line. Not a big deal, but as I was turning my engine off, I saw a women who was just trying to pull into the same spot I had just filled. I looked to the left and saw that there was another spot for her just one parking spot away so I tried signalling to her to that other spot, expecting she would see that it wasn’t a big deal and she could just park one spot away. In the end she drove around the back of the aisle and down the lane I had just come from into the spot behind my car. I thought to myself, if I see her in the store perhaps I should explain myself, though I hadn’t gotten a good look at her so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to spot her anyway.

About three minutes later, as my daughter and I made our decision and got into the check out line a women walked passed me and said “Nice bumper sticker” in a sarcastic voice. I assumed she must be the driver of the car and she was probably referring to my bumper sticker that says, “Be the Change” by Gandhi. I was slightly taken aback at her tone so  I didn’t say anything and was just irritated with myself for doing nothing.  I hadn’t tried to be a bad person. I hadn’t intended to take someone else’s spot in the parking lot on purpose AND there was another spot right next door she could have taken, but of course, I didn’t speak up and the situation made me feel lousy. Sometimes we have to give each other the benefit of the doubt in times like these. I try not to get angry when someone takes a spot I was hoping to get in a parking lot but I guess when I get busy or I am running late I am easily irritated just like anyone else.

This whole experience reminded me of a story from several years ago. One Monday morning, I was driving my son to elementary school and we’d dashed into the parking lot to drop off some movies that were due back at the rental place. (Remember those days?) As we were heading out to the street a women was backing up in her car with her ear to her phone and having trouble doing it quickly. I muttered under my breath something nasty about talking on the phone and driving, to which my son replied, “Mommy, maybe she is talking to her husband in Iraq and this is the only time they can manage to connect because of the time zones or what if she has a sick child and is talking to the doctor.” Wow, talk about some potential scenario that reminded me to pipe down. He had me with either one and I just smiled and said, “You are right. Who knows what the situation might be.” Ah, the wisdom of children.

We just never know why people do what they do, it’s better to give someone the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.  Of course, we are all guilty of not doing that from time to time. However, remembering to do this as often as possible is certainly a worthy goal.


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