Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Actions and Words

Toes tapping. Arms crossed. Sighs of frustration. Thoughts of “could this lady possibly take any longer?” crossing my mind. 

As terribly impatient and inconsiderate as it sounds, that was exactly my demeanor as I stood in a long line at Walmart just a few days ago. What I had anticipated being a quick, 5-minute stop was quickly turning into a half-hour engagement. As I crept closer to the front of the line, the shopper in front of me was clearly more frustrated than myself. Just as the person picked up their plastic grocery sack, the bag ripped and a couple of his items fell to the ground. In response the person, snapped at the small cashier saying, “Wow! You really need to invest in nicer bags here! This is ridiculous!”

While I could understand the person’s frustrations, my mood quickly changed as I saw the defeated look come across the cashier’s face. As she began ringing up my items, I decided, then and there, to snap out of my bad attitude. Most times, I am in a hurry to get out of there and carry on with the rest of my day. However, as she rung up my items, I decided to make small talk with her. After I commented about how surprisingly busy it was in there, she told me that it been like that all week. I also learned that she would be working every day this week, including Thanksgiving and every cashier’s nightmare: Black Friday. She also mentioned that Black Friday would be her last day working there before starting her new job. As I thanked her before leaving, I could tell that simply taking the time to listen to her had helped brighten her day. 

Have you ever considered how much power both your actions and words hold? 

It’s easy to breeze through life, thinking little about the people around us. We may say things without realizing how they affect the person they are directed toward. We may also disregard how our body language and actions make those around us feel. But what if we were a little more conscientious of those things? 

We may not always be able to change the world with our actions, but consider just one life you can touch. We don’t know the kinds of situations that people are currently facing within their own lives. They might be perfectly happy each day, but chances are that there is something in their life they are struggling with. Do you really want to add to their distress by standing in a busy checkout line, tapping your toes and sighing with impatience?

With Thanksgiving and the holidays just around the corner, I encourage you to take a little extra time to consider your actions and words. You don’t necessarily have to do anything extraordinary, but perhaps think a little more before you do. Maybe even be someone’s ray of sunshine in their otherwise cloudy day.


  1. So many times I think that seeing someone else respond to a bad situation in the wrong way tends to do a good job of reminding us of the power of responding in the right way! Thank you for being a blessing to that cashier!

  2. That is so very true, Rachel! If only I didn't need those reminders and always kept a pleasant demeanor! ;)