Strangers

While in the Starbucks drive-thru this morning, I couldn’t help but feel tired and stressed. This week has already taken a toll on me and it’s only Tuesday morning. Like every college student out there, I have a lot on my mind. I have a stats test this morning, more homework than I even remember, and of course work has been a burden this week too. I’m in the middle of trying to find my first apartment for when I transfer to UIUC in the fall, and I still don’t know how many roommates I have. I’m breaking out like CRAZY…and yes…for all of you who were wondering…it is that time of the month.

On top of all that, an incident at school yesterday has been weighing heavily on my mind. I will not go into the nitty-gritty of that situation, yet all that needs to be known is that I have never been treated so rudely in my entire life. I had a confrontation with a substitute professor who had absolutely no reason to treat me in such a way. He was unbelievably condescending, terribly out of line, and impossibly arrogant.

All of you who know me know that I am a respectful person. That is…until I don’t get the respect that I deserve. Naturally, my adrenaline gets going in that situation and there’s no hope for the person who tries to pick a fight with me. Just cuz I’m the quiet blonde girl in the back of the room with an iced coffee doesn’t mean you can pick on me. Nice try though.

We are all adults here! We treat each other as equals. I don’t know why some stranger who has never met me before thinks that he’s all the sudden above me…and that’s obviously what happened yesterday with the substitute. It was so obviously a power-trip that I was embarrassed for him; because for some reason he needed to feel power over me to make himself feel good.

My adrenaline was high for HOURS after this happened (I would have scared the crap out of my boxing instructor if I had a session with him yesterday). But it was just appalling to me that such a thing could happen…that an adult in a position of authority could act in such a way. Very, very disappointing. Things like this cause my faith in humanity to slip. Situations like this spark a disappointment in my species. Of course I’ve been treated rudely before…I’m a waitress…what do you expect?

Anyway…this incident ended up with him taking my blank test away from me and with me storming out of the class to the deans office.

So naturally I find myself in the Starbucks drive-thru this morning because it seems like the only thing that will lift my spirits. As I pull forward to the window to pay, the lady at the window says, “The lady in the car in front of you says have a great day,” and she hands me my drink, refusing my credit card. “She paid for me?!” I said. The lady at the window nods, smiling.

Within a span of 24 hours, I had been shocked by strangers; the unbelievable disrespect of one, and the random act of kindness by another. Two complete opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both leaving me with my jaw on the floor.

For me, situations like that tend to make up for all of the terrible ones. They tend to restore a great amount of my faith in people. This is also not the first time I was having a bad day and a random stranger unknowingly came at just the right moment; lifting me up, brightening my day, and influencing my outlook on the human race.

With this in mind, I decided to pay it forward (a phrase my mom loves to use). I paid for the persons bill in the car behind me; hoping that it made their day just like it made mine, hoping that maybe they decided to pay for the car behind them, and hoping that maybe a trend of paying it forward continued down the line of cars. I hoped it gave everyone the same feeling of camaraderie that it gave me- we are all adults here, we are all strangers, but we are all human, and we all need each other (and Starbucks) to survive.

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