I told his boss to give him a raise. He deserved it.
On this cold almost winter morning, two days post our meal of giving thanks, human harshness was not necessary. In fact, it was quite jarring. “Oh yeah,” I thought to myself upon witnessing verbal violence. “That.”
I ran by my favorite car repair shop this morning, dutifully checking off errands while the world was still sleeping off turkey. I needed a new back light bulb before the Montgomery County police decided that they needed more of my money (those damn speed cameras!).
Like the dentist, no one likes the car repair shop. They are infamously always trying to rip you off while finding more things that are “about to go wrong with your car” and thus, in need of thousands of dollars of maintenance right now. But, I love my car man. He always takes good care of my car – and thus, me. And, believe it or not, I trust him.
While waiting for my new bulb, I overheard the ringing up of another early-rising customer.
“Groupon didn’t tell me that I had to pay for tax and oil disposal,” screamed the man, argumentatively preserving his right to someone else’s money.
But, Ricky, the wise auto technician, kept his cool. “It’s in the fine print,” he spoke with a firm gentleness.
Rather than backing down, admitting his mistake, reaching for his wallet and making the world right, the customer escalated.
Seeing where this was going, Ricky yielded. Mind you, Ricky is no small contender. Standing at six feet plus with a wide girth and deep voice, I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley. But, he proved the gentle giant. The better person.
After the customer stormed off with his car keys and his money, I could not help but open my mouth to encourage my friend, Ricky. I have trained myself that when I see beauty, say it out loud.
“I’m sorry your day started that way. Don’t let that guy get to you,” I said.
“I never do. My character stands firm, no matter what the day might present,” Ricky said with conviction as he walked unaffected to care for the next customer’s car.
I was dumbstruck. Human evolution in the early hours of a smelly waiting room at a car repair shop.
Choices. Character. Integrity. Doing what’s right when it is easier to do what’s wrong. Not demanding yours at the expense of the other. Appreciating the good and the beautiful before you when momentary greed is both instinctual and easier.
The car shop did not charge me for the light bulb this morning. And the last time I went in for an oil change, the bill surprisingly came to $0.00. Where do you think I am going when my car is in need of major expensive work?
What goes around comes around. When we relate with generosity, when we care for the other, it makes for better math. When we dare risk to trust that love wins, the best of human nature shines, even in the haunts of an exhaust-smelling car repair shop.