Is your gut reaction to diffuse or escalate?
This story comes from one of our CanadaLoves.ca community members and I love how it captures the spirit of the kind of thinking we hope to inspire.
Check out Paula’s story.
“I was in Tim Hortons drive-thru this morning. Man walks up to my window and starts berating me and saying some choice words. Apparently, I cut him off in line. I had no idea where he came from?!?
Luckily my profession has effectively prepared me for moments when people have temper tantrums. I took a deep breath and envisioned him as a little boy in the red zone. I kindly responded with…
‘I’m really sorry. That can be frustrating. Can I buy you your coffee this morning?’
Bewildered…he took a second.
‘I’m being an asshole aren’t I?’
‘No…you just got frustrated and made some poor choices as to how to handle it. We can make this a great day,’ I said. He said ‘Ok…please let me buy you your coffee today.’ and he gave me a Timmies card that paid for my tea.
I graciously accepted and sent him on his way with a smile.
I think I saw a tear in his eye. True definition of win-win.”
I realized a long time ago that it’s often the people who are the most frustrated and angry that need our kindness and compassion the most. Yet more often than I would like, in the moment my knee-jerk reaction has been to escalate the situation and get right back in their face.
It takes a pretty special person to be able to see a fellow human being in distress in this type of scenario, practice empathy, take the high road and try to diffuse the situation.
Paula is one of those really special people and I am so proud to call her my friend.