How do you inspire people?
September 14, 2017

hair for the blogHave you ever ducked into one of those discount hair salons for a quick trim? I did earlier this year. I’ll never forget it.

Let’s just say the gal was having a bad day. She hadn’t said hello. It was just, “Are you ready?” She started asking questions but grew increasingly impatient with my answers. She was visibly hostile, and I was confused. But I also really needed a trim, so I hung in there. After still another exchange that didn’t go well she started slamming drawers and sighing and making me glad we were behind a little wall that kept us out of sight. Because I started crying! Do you believe it? I was crying. Then she asked if I wanted the left side of my head done like the right side -- I was committed at that point, obviously -- and I kind of whispered, “Whatever you want. Just do whatever you want.”

When she realized I was crying she shaped up, so to speak. That’s when I found out about the DUI -- or were there two? -- and the appointment she had to be on time for or go to jail.

I drew her out about her nightmare life. To watch us you’d have sworn we were best friends, maybe even sisters. She must’ve apologized a dozen times. “It’s not you, honey,” she kept saying. “That was my fault. I’m so sorry.”

We kept talking, and I started to feel better. I asked if I could make a joke. Sure. “I feel like going out for a drink.” I don’t drink. She isn’t supposed to. Can you imagine how much we laughed?

I knew right away the gal had done me a favor. She’d helped me see myself in a new, more compassionate, light. This wasn’t the first time someone had dumped a lifetime of frustration in my lap and watched me crumble under the stress. But unlike other people, this woman apologized immediately -- with no excuses whatsoever -- and made amends. I couldn’t get over that. I was enchanted. Nobody’s perfect, but nobody cares -- if you fess up.
The people I’ve confided in about this have told me they would’ve stormed out and told the woman what she could do with her attitude. The thought didn’t occur to me. And my tears, while embarrassing at first, inspired only sweetness.

You teach people how to treat you, as the saying goes. I have an unusual way of doing that, but I'm okay with it.

photo courtesy of Katie Anderson