Treat people with understanding and kindness, you just don’t know what has been written on today’s page of their story.
— Unknown author
Google ‘quotes about kindness’ and the pages will run on forever. I have no statistics, but I suspect kindness may well be up there in the most often quoted about subject.
Myself, I try to be kind. I try to always lend an ear to people who need to get something off their chest, vent or just need someone to listen without judgement.
It doesn’t always work that way; I know I can also be an incredibly intolerant person — which may be why Aunty Acid appeals so much.
Some people just annoy me, usually the ones who seem to be constantly complaining but are not being proactive about it.
However, reading the quote above makes me feel I should develop my compassion a little further.
I have recently copped the receiving end of a lack of understanding and basic kindness. It hasn’t undone me, but has merely served to make me sufficiently pissed off as to write about it here.
Just this weekend I was due to participate in a local event. The event required a significant amount of physical effort. When I booked in for it, last year, I was up for this. However, recent circumstances have dictated otherwise — and I made the decision to donate my ticket to someone else who would be able to get full use and enjoyment out of it.
Out of courtesy I emailed the organisers, and so began a bit of an email stoush between myself and the person at the other end who did not sign her name, but relied instead on just using the team signoff. (I say her because the email read like a female, though I may be wrong.)
In response to my email, enquiring about the process needed to transfer my ticket, I received a reply saying that free online transfers had just closed and we would now need to do the transfer on the day at a cost of $15.
The tickets were very expensive, so I responded questioning the need for a transfer fee. I reiterated (without bleating) my particular circumstances and just asked for an explanation of the need for the fee application — which to my mind seemed a tad excessive.
The response I received referred to my need to transfer the tickets on the day as ‘a giant pain in the bum’ and it would be responsible for ‘causing an admin nightmare’, inconveniencing everyone else and preventing their own ‘speedy check-in’.
This triggered my stuff you reflex. And, I am sorry to say, also triggered a slight lack of kindness in my next reply. I should have let it go, but if you know me you also know that’s not me.
I will quote my response directly:
Excuse me for being a ‘giant pain in the bum’. I did not choose to get cancer or to get sick from chemotherapy. I do not appreciate your accusations that I am causing an admin nightmare. My ticket is being donated to someone else – they show up with my ticket and their ID and move on.
I went on to add that I thought her response was unprofessional and ungrammatical (stab), adding that her refusal to use her actual name was simply hiding behind her team and showed cowardice (double stab).
Slight overkill … but once you’ve clicked send, it’s sort of too late.
Her next response really made me see red, and I made an active (and very unlike me) decision to ignore it until after the event.
It was a long, long email. Within it, she covered the following:
♦ both of her parents had died from cancer (a distinct possibility, but also rather convenient)
♦ English is her second language (not really suggested by the majority of her email, but who knows?)
♦ she was ‘defending accusations of revenue raising’ (where that was in my email, I am still yet to find apart from asking where the $15 fee was going)
♦ 40,000 people don’t need to know her ‘personal details’ on an email (I wasn’t asking for that, but a first name is always good).
Then, the whammy:
But the fact is that you chose to wait until after the cut off deadline for online transfers and that is why you got my email response …
The email then ended: Keep smiling 🙂
Sorry Little Miss Sunshine but I did not choose to wait until after the deadline. My chemo date was chosen for me and I let you know this the minute I did.
I am currently waiting for a response from the event coordinator/owner. Should I hold my breath? I fear not.
I have to say, however, the event itself was run beautifully. Everyone there was lovely and highly supportive; there was a great atmosphere.
Clearly my email correspondent wasn’t there as, during check-in, we were not asked for ID, nor were we slugged a $15 transfer fee. The lovely girl at the desk didn’t even bat an eyelid.