Last weekend, I was running around, looking like a fool. I was running around, picking up food for several of my friends, during a lunch break at a conference. Carrying three bags of stuff, I was approached by an older woman. She looked homeless, with a slightly vacant look in her eyes.
Homeless Lady – Hollywood Blvd (Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)
She asked me for a dollar, and I told her that I didn’t have cash. “I’m sorry,” I apologized, and I offered to buy her a sandwich. She nodded and said that she wanted a chicken sandwich, a side of fries and a strawberry milkshake. Feeling broke, I nodded and went into McDonalds. I ordered my lunch, a water bottle for another friend, and a daily meal for the lady. She followed me in and interjected, “Where’s my strawberry milkshake?”
Glaring at the cashier, she snapped, “I ordered a strawberry milkshake! I didn’t want any water!”
I looked back at the cashier, and just signaled to continue processing the order. While I was waiting for the order, the woman went outside. I picked up the order, juggling the bags, a drink tray, and went out to find her. She took the food and sat down and ate it, without saying thank you.
I was so annoyed that she hadn’t said thank you. That she had followed me into the store, and complained about food that was for someone else.
Then I remembered my own philosophies of being decent for decency’s sake. Why should I expect her to thank me? I had just given her food, and I hadn’t bought her the strawberry milkshake she wanted. I hadn’t listened to what she wanted and had just given her what I thought she should have (aka the cheapest full meal on the menu). Was I expecting cookies for buying food for someone who needed a meal? I’m a big proponent of no cookies-the notion that basic human decency doesn’t deserve praise. It’s the bare minimum of decent behavior. So why did I feel annoyed at Strawberry Milkshake lady?
Why can’t I practice what I preach?
Readers, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.