“Well, I told you not to do it like that and you did it anyway.” A very irritated postal worker here in Florida was not pleased with a co-worker. After she repeated that statement two more times, my mission, when I got to her station, was to try and ease the tension. In the meantime, I would enjoy the Lady Gaga music over the speaker system and be thankful I safely had ridden my bike the two miles to get there without getting run over by some maniac driver.
On my turn, I began by saying how much I enjoyed the music. Her snarky silence let me know that she couldn’t care less. She applied the extra postage I needed while I quietly hummed along to “Shallow.” I gave her a ten-dollar bill; she told me that she did not have change and needed a credit card. Because I biked there, I didn’t have my wallet, I said. “Well, I don’t have change,” she replied, loudly and rudely. Since the line behind me was rather long, I was in hopes a Good Samaritan would offer change. Nope. (You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy, I told myself, which has become my mantra here in Jupiter on multiple occasions.)
“I will just stand over here and wait for all these other people to be helped. Perhaps then you will have change.”
“Forget it,” she barked. “Just take all of my change. Then I won’t have any left.”
Looking at her nametag (Ms. Khan), I continued. “I’m sorry, You’ve been open only 10 minutes. I’m surprised that’s all the money you have left.”
“Forget it.” And with that, she handed me $8.46…which might have been the perfect time to join Lady Gaga in song:Tell me somethin’, girl, are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more? Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?
Then again, perhaps silence was a better option.
As I exited, she began shrieking at the woman behind me who didn’t bring the right change either. I turned to hand the poor lady some of my money just as she pulled out a credit card that prevented Ms. Khan from jumping over the counter and poking her eyes out. Once we both were outside, she shared how she had reported “that rude clerk before” and encouraged me to do the same…right then. Emboldened by this lady’s courage, I went back inside. No supervisor was available. I was given a phone number to call.
Over the next couple of days, God began to change my mind. This clerk was rude for a reason. Perhaps she was having marital issues or financial issues. Perhaps she just didn’t like Lady Gaga. Today I returned to the post office to show Jesus’ love to a hurting soul. With no line and only Ms. Khan working, the timing was perfect. Thank you, Lord.
I began. “Ms. Khan, the last time I was in here, you were rude not only to a co-worker but also to me and another lady who encouraged me to report you. I chose not to do that but to speak to you in person.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You informed a lady working at the counter next to you—long brown hair and glasses—that you had told her not to do something and she did it anyway.”
“I have no memory of that.”
“Well, I do. You said it three times, and she appeared terribly embarrassed. I later thought that perhaps you were going through some difficulties. Sometimes I’m unkind when times are tough, and as a Christian I wondered if maybe I could pray for you.
“I’m not going through anything except I’m fasting twice a day for my religion” (I’m guessing Muslim), “and no, I don’t need your prayers.” And that was that.
As I turned to leave, she left me with these parting words: “Besides, I’m just loud.” I wanted to remind her that there is a difference between loud and rude. Lucky for her (and probably for me), silence was the better option. I think I’ll pray for her anyway.