I went to take my car in the other day because I had a nail in my tire and just needed it patched. I had about an hour before I had to be at an appointment so was hoping it would go quickly. Of course, two people were in front of me in the line and that took 15 minutes. So by the time I got to the front of the line I was irritated. The gentleman behind the counter was very nice. I explained to him that I was in a hurry and was hoping I could get the tire patched before I had to go to my appointment so I did not have to take an Uber. At first I was cranky. He stayed incredibly nice. He asked me how my day was going. I realized I was being bratty and I told him “I’m sorry, I’m just irritated because I want to try to get to my appointment without taking an Uber”. It was a good move on my part… to be honest and to apologize. To my surprise, he said with a huge smile on his face that he would do his very best to get me out of there so I did not have to take an Uber to my appointment. I didn’t really believe him but I sat down and waited. About 15 minutes later I asked if I could pay so that I could go quickly when the car was ready. He said yes. He started asking me a few questions like what kind of appointment was I going to… I hesitated because I was going to see my therapist. Instead I told him I had a doctors appointment. He then said “I don’t blame you for hesitating as I don’t like going to the doctor.” He said the last time he went to the VA it was not fun. Realizing he was a veteran, I then started to ask him a few questions. I became curious about his service. I asked if he was in Afghanistan. He said no he was in Iraq for 7 tours. That’s right 7 tours. This guy did not look older than 35 years old. He then started to share with me his experience. He enlisted after 9/11 because he said he was pissed off. He said that was not the main reason but that he wanted to be of service and to help people, himself and his family. He said that on his first tour his staff sergeant said “see you tomorrow” but then died that night. I was stunned. I asked him if it was scary. He said it was but that he knew he was supposed to be there. I almost got a tear. What an amazing thing to say. He said he saw a lot of things.
Here was this guy (who I feel is a hero) working at Firestone tire. Here was me being bitchy to him because I wanted to make it to my appointment on time. My appointment with the therapist. I felt silly going to therapy over my minuscule problems when he had probably seen suffering, death and despair. He was still able to greet me with a smile and he even went the extra mile and got me out of there and to my appointment on time. He told me that he stopped another car from coming into the bay so that mine would get done first! Amazing.
My perspective changed. My whole day changed. I was so grateful to have had the chance to talk to this young man. It really made an impact on me. It made me realize that everything is about perspective and the way we perceive things. It’s about what we expect and how our mind works. Granted we are all different and some people are cut out to be badasses like this guy and it seemed easy. When I asked him if he had trouble sleeping or if he had to go to therapy he said no but that was just his personality. He said his buddy that was with him on one of his tours was shaking all the time and felt scared all the time. They were in the same situation but had totally different reactions. I do believe that the way we think is what creates our reality. Nevertheless, the lesson that I learned was one of great value. We do not know what another person‘s story is and we cannot assume. We should also know that ”when we change the way we look at things, what we look at changes” (Thanks Wayne Dyer, Bob Proctor and the rest). When I realized that this person had done a great service for this country and for many other people, I no longer felt impatient. My perspective on my problems changed too. They seemed tiny and I felt happier. I was grateful to have had the encounter and for staying loose and not holding on to my bad mood. I decided to go with the flow and let this person talk to me. And I’m so grateful that I did because he made an unexpected impact on me. I’m sure he doesn’t realize how big of an impact he made, but he did! The other thing he did was go the extra mile for me and greet me with a smile. These things go a long way. This was a great example for how I can conduct myself in my own life as well as my business. That’s all. Everyday heroes are everywhere.