Monday, August 8, 2011

Kill 'em with kindness

Growing up, when my older brother would pick on me or mess with me, my parents would say, “Kill ‘em with kindness.” Without really knowing, I believe it became my mantra. And, although it does seem to fit better in the life of a second grader, I find I am using it now more than ever.

It is interesting how there are days when, across the board, people are just grumpy. Is it the cycle of the moon or something? I have yet to put my finger on it, but my mom and I experienced it last week, big time. We started our day with two very tired children, lots of luggage, and a traffic jam on the way to JFK. We managed to get to the airport with ample time…phew…we always plan to allow plenty of travel time. But then we met grumpy guy #1…the sky cap. No smile, No hello. In fact, I was worried about giving him our bags for fear they would end up in Istanbul instead of Salt Lake City. But, I smiled at him, tried to cheer him up, and handed him a tip and a thank you with nothing in return. (btw, one of our bags didn’t make it….hmmm.)

The rest of our travel day was similar, and we had to pull out the “kill ‘em with kindness card” a few other times. Grumpy guys #2 and #3…the fight attendants. Again, my mom and I just smiled and said, “Thank you.” Upon meeting semi-grumpy flight attendant #2, I asked him his name. His response was a stern, “Why do you want to know?” I was somewhat shocked and amused, but said, “My son wants to ask you for his drink, and we wanted to refer to you by your name.” Oh, he replied and then smiled. (yay smiles!) However, there was no getting to grumpy flight attendant #3; he was way too into his grumpiness. My mom and I would look at each other when he was over the top and almost giggle…I mean, what else can you do.

It wasn’t until dinner that night, when our server never cracked a smile…which was actually quite amazing as I never even saw his teeth when he spoke, that I turned to my mom and said, “Is it just me or are people grumpy today?” She felt it too. Throughout dinner we were as polite and kind as we could be, even when he messed up our order. Our kindness finally forced him to give in and show us his pearly whites, just for a second, but I’ll take it.

People just seemed more stressed now. Everyone is busy, and life just gets crazy. But if we all just take a second and put some positive vibes out into the universe…give a random smile to a stranger…it makes a difference. So be positive and happy and “Kill ‘em with kindness”! Besides, being grumpy and mean takes too much energy.

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