Tag Archives: People

When Good Intentions Go Wrong


Photo by Lynn Kelley. Click HERE to check out her blog!

While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store with a full cart, a woman showed up carrying a carton of milk, a tube of toothpaste, and a screaming infant.

I remembered what it was like when my son used to freak out like that. His shrieking used to make me feel jittery and self-conscious. I wasn’t in any hurry that day, and I wanted to help. “Would you like to go ahead of me?” I asked.

“Why?” the young mother accused. “Is his crying bothering you?”

“No, I just figured you have two dinky items and I have a whole cart,” I said. “You can jump ahead of me…”

“Screw you!” She frowned. “I’ll find another line.”

As she stormed off, I was bewildered. I had just wanted to help. And yet there I was, feeling strangely guilty.

Sitting in my car with the food meant to nourish my family, to fill them up, I felt completely emptied out and kind of nauseous.

I turned on the radio in my car to find NPR was running some kind of old interview with Maya Angelou. She spoke for a few minutes before she said:

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And that was all I needed.

I would not let what had happened in the grocery store ruin my day.

My intention had been to be helpful.

I had no hidden agenda.

I don’t know what was going on with that poor young mother, I only wanted her to let me help her in some small way. But maybe she felt she needed to do it all. Maybe she’d heard the same messages that I’d heard during my life. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Be strong. Figure it out. Maybe admitting she was struggling that day felt like failure. Maybe she felt like she sucked eggs as a mother because she didn’t know how to soothe her infant.

All I know is that one woman’s rejection is not going to stop me from trying to connect with other people.

I’m a connector: reaching out is what I do.

{For the record, you totally want to get in line behind me at the grocery store.  And if I offer you “headsies,” there are no strings attached.}

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Office Heroine or Immature Coward?

Check out this video. It’s short, and it is a hoax . . . but it raises some interesting questions:

So a girl decides to quit her job with a flash-bang by emailing these photos to her entire (made-up) office. On the one hand, watching the little display feels wonderful. I mean, it’s positively cathartic! Who hasn’t had one of those bosses? The kind that make us wish that we could do something like that? I can imagine the air being sucked out of the room as “Spencer’s” entire life is broadcast (and now re-broadcast and re-broadcast). Maybe the girl should be praised? Perhaps she opened the way for some constructive conversation about how things are run in this office.

On the other hand, it’s an awful lot of drama. Don’t get me wrong, as a voyeur, this is a completely enjoyable guilty pleasure. But it’s easy to have chutzpah as you are walking out the door. And as I said to my friend who forwarded me the message, I’m thinking this girl might have gone about doing things a little differently. She might have tried talking to Spencer about how things feel in the office, about morale, about his breath. It seems awfully unprofessional and terribly immature.

This young lady obviously has burned a lot of bridges, so she isn’t going to get any kind of strong recommendation to help her on her next job (although she has probably decided she does not want to be a broker). But the way the world works these days, she just might get noticed and land a great book deal!

So would you hire Little Miss Thang because she is smart and sassy? Or do you think Little Miss Thang might be toxic to your work environment?