Thank God I wasn't 'That' Person

There are times when we are in a rush, didn’t get enough sleep or are just in a bad mood.  And, these times may very well bring out the worst in us. Unfortunately, we can be so caught up in our own worlds, that we lose all sense of self-awareness and don’t even realize how we treat or come across to others.  I’ve been there.  I’m sure of it.

This past week, while traveling, I had the privilege of observing a person in this very mindset, and I came away thankful. Why? Because, I was reminded of how NOT to act towards others.  Here’s the story:

It was lunch time in Las Vegas (Yes, I actually travel to Las Vegas quite often). I grabbed a salad from a restaurant and walked over to the Starbucks across the street for a noon-time Latte. The line was only a few people long, however, the line didn’t budge for a good five minutes. The woman in front of me was obviously irritated by this fact, as she regressed back to a childlike state: She looked at her watch, stomped her left foot, crossed her arms and swung her hips out to the right. After another minute, she looked at her watch, stomped her right foot, re-crossed her arms and swung her hips out to the left. She continued to do this at least ten times, every minute, gradually progressing to every 15 seconds, at which point I had recurring flashbacks of doing the Hokey Pokey. Finally, the line moved and Ms. Hokey Pokey (HP) got to the counter.

As the server greeted her, barely getting ‘Welcome to Starbucks’ off his lips, she quickly snapped “Give me the business card for the Manager of this Starbuck’s.” The server was a bit confused and obviously not quick enough. She snapped again “What is the store number of this Starbucks?” He quickly rattled off the number and she proceeded to order her latte. HP paid and then stomped over to the ‘Pick Your Drink Up’ counter. As the Barista made HP’s drink, HP continued with her Hokey Pokey ritual. Trying to be friendly, the Barista asked HP how she was doing that day, and HP snapped “I’m fine. However, I’m REALLY LATE.”  The Barista gave HP her drink and HP swiped it from the counter and stomped out of Starbucks. Lovely…just lovely. As I went up to the counter, I felt myself give the server a sympathetic smile and proceeded to treat them with the respect they deserved. And deep down, I was glad I wasn’t ‘That’ person.

Again, I’m sure we all have these moments, but isn’t it nice when someone else acts this way so that we can subtly be reminded that even when you are stressed and in a bad mood, no one deserves to be treated badly as a result?  Thank you “Especially Mean Woman from Howard Hughes Starbucks!”  I owe you a Latte!

Have you ever witnessed this type of behavior?

Related Topics:

The Permagrin: Being Forced to Smile
Reasons to Smile
The Importance of Sleep
Techniques to De-Stress your Life


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  • hezah

    Hah, don’t come to New York. If we don’t get through a line quickly enough to whole place would be in an uproar. Starbucks does have a goal of getting you your coffee within 2.5 minutes (roughly, not sure the exact time). Not saying the lady needed to let her emotions overtake her…but we should be able to buy an expensive latte in a timely manner.

  • http://myspace/drop_it_like_its_spooky Chris

    My ex boyfriends mom was so like that! very often she would be unbelieveably rude at stores and restaurants. I didn’t want to be out with her when she’d start up like that. It was so humiliating.

  • Samantha B

    I have worked in the service industry for many years. It really is surprising how terrible some people treat people who work in places like fast food restaurants. It almost seems that they see the employees as lower than them in every way and therefore deserving of belittling and rude behavior.

    I can not tell you how many times I have been talked down to, threatened, yelled at and even hit. Yes a customer hit me in the face once because he took my comment as rude when all I said was I am very sorry sir but we are out of that item at the moment. He punched me full out in the face in front of at least seven customers, several of which came to my aide and removed him from the store by force.

    Another time, and this one is a doosey, a lady tried to come through the drive through window before we were actually open for business. I hadn’t turned the window dinger on yet so I didn’t even know she was there until she drove up to the window and in a rage began banging on the window with her shoe. I came to the window and apologized, explained to her that we were not currently open. She then began to yell at me about how she had been waiting back there for ten minutes (I had already told her the dinger thing wasn’t on) and when I told her we didn’t open for business until 7 (it was only 6:40) she flew into a rage. Evidently she expected me to fill her order before actual business hours and before we where ready to fill it, and hadn’t gotten anything ready yet ( we had only been there for 10 minutes). I said sure mam we can make that for you, but we aren’t set up yet so it might take a little longer than usual if you don’t mind waiting. She just rolled her eyes and told me that if it was going to take longer than normal dont i think i should get to making her order instead of standing around talking out my ass, that is exactly what she said. Okay, so I had to set up a register very quickly, get the regular kitchen lady to come out of the stocking freezer to make her order, altogether it couldn’t have taken fifteen minutes. The whole time we were working on the order she was honking her horn every ten seconds it seemed like. Finally I came back to the window and she asked me if I was going to take her money. Sure mam, I wasnt just making her order or anything at all, just standing around. I explained to her that I had to wait for the register system to load up, which was also true, and that it had just came up a few minutes ago. She popped off with well you should have taken my money a few minutes ago shouldn’t you. right. This continued until the woman’s food was ready and she snapped the bag from my hand and informed me that I was lucky she didn’t notify the manager. When I notified her of the fact that I was the manager she glared at me like I had just spit in her face and sped off. Good riddance lady.

    I think that if more people “of privilege” worked jobs like these at least as teenagers they wouldn’t act as superior. I don’t understand why some people think its okay to talk and behave that way to people. Its not, ever, no matter what the situation, its never okay.

  • J

    I have been that person all to often and when I take a step back and realize that my impatience and stress along with my overwhelming anger is because of something as simple as not having enough time, I realize that time is honestly not a relavent thing. And if I am going to be late, the world is not going to coming crashing in on itself. People have lost their own self-views on patience and compassion because of the stressful, hectic life of jobs, work, etc. We all need to take a step back and realize that it is okay to take a few extra minutes, especially when it is not our own fault we run out of time.

  • kingleewolfdaddy

    punch her coffee tell her to leave

  • Indigo Red

    Yeah, I’ve been in foodservice going on 6 years now. Those people are a dime a dozen; you have to wonder what makes them so pathetic. People end up saying how rude you are, when in fact, they’re the ones who are rude, because they always end up huffing and puffing until you drop everyone else’s orders just to get them out of your hair, so everybody else has to wait longer than they deserve. Makes you want to go hang drywall for a living.

  • Lisa

    I try not to be “that person”, but I must say this: In Staples at Bryant Park, at the printing section there is a lovely young lady who graciously helped me, twice. The Last time, I was very late for an interview, I had to bind 2 portfolio booklets, but in my mind my lateness was the issue. As she said good morning, I burst into tears, I was not dressed for an interview or anything, I just rushed out of the apartment. But she was so kind to me, gave me a box of tissues and looked over my portfolio. She listened to me and said, “You will do fine, this is a great portfolio.” Later, I did my interview, went to the pastry shop and delivered the ‘thank you’ gift to her. I am since in my home country, and will remember her for her kindness to me a former foreign student. Customer service is a gift. There are good days and bad days.

  • Christine

    Robert: um, not sure what ‘right wing’ has to do with it; there are lots of rude ‘left wingers’ too.
    Point is, people are people. No excuse for rudeness, but we have to try to have compassion, knowing that people may be going through things we don’t know about.
    All any of us can do is try not to be ‘that person’. Maybe if we all did that (myself included) there would be no more ‘that person’ s. :)