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The Golden Rule

It is not uncommon as I peruse my daily blog routine that two seemingly unconnected posts strike a common chord. This happened as I read this post from Amy Welborn and this post from The Anchoress. Both of these posts address the extremely profound effects of seemingly small actions. For Amy, the extra effort of a grocery store bakery worker was a salve for her wound of grief:

I explained the situation to the lady on the other end, trying to hold back tears, trying not to let the subtext of the moment burst through:

This is my son's eighth birthday, and his first one without his daddy, who died two months ago today - oh, in fact, it was at this very moment, about 2 in the afternoon, yes, two months ago today, I was sitting in the emergency room at the hospital, contemplating his broken heart and mine, and ours...please help me figure this out. If not all of it, just this one little thing. This cake.

The woman explained that the Pokemon cake sets were old now, and no one had them anymore. But, she said, if I could bring in a picture of a Pokemon, she could put it through their machine - a copy-like machine that put images on the edible icing sheet - and she could do something. She was going to get off work at 2, but she would stay and do it

And the Anchoress admonishes us to give the poor bookstore clerks a break:

Now it is tempting to believe that bookstore people - who are probably majority-liberal - are hiding your copy of Liberty and Tyranny, but as you can see, even Amazon is saying it will take 1 to 3 weeks to get the book. It is selling like hotcakes, “United Hotcakes Preferred,” as Kurt Vonnegut would say.

As conservatives, it behooves us to remember that the people working in bookstores for $7.25 an hour do not get paid enough to take abuse from anyone, and moreover - why would we treat people differently than we ourselves would wish to be treated. The book is a runaway best seller, and not every store gets the 50-100 copies you might imagine. But believe me, it’s not the prospective grad-student-who is -working-all the -hours she -can for - low-wages’ fault.

Come on, now. We’re respectable people conducting respectable business. Act classy.

This reminds me of a scenario from many years ago. We were at a restaurant with our children and one of my oldest son’s friends. As each of my children ordered or received their drink they would address the waitress with a please and thank-you. Our guest conspicuously did not. In fact, he declared that there was no reason to offer such courtesy to the waitress because she was being paid to serve us. It was her job. In as non-confrontational manner as I could muster, I explained that even if this woman was being paid to serve our table, she was deserving of our respect and courtesy.

We never know the back story of most people we encounter during the day. We don’t know who is grieving, who is worried about his health, who is lonely, who is hurting. When we offer respect, compassion, patience, or kindness we may unknowingly be the bright spot in another person’s day.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


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