Life is hard. Be kind.

Life is hard. 

You don’t know what others are experiencing.

Many years ago, I worked in a large office. A couple of ladies there always made birthday cakes for co-worker’s birthdays. It was their thing, and they enjoyed sharing their creations. 

One woman, I’ll call her Alice, worked alongside us. She loved the birthday celebrations. She was always first in line to snatch a piece of cake. But Alice was not always pleasant. She was often short tempered and a bit confrontational. And she was a know-it-all. 

After several months of celebrating one birthday after another, her big day was approaching.

I overheard the cake ladies saying they weren’t going to make her a cake. “Wouldn’t that put her in her place?”

Alice was a prickly person who rubbed others the wrong way. I’m not even sure she realized it. She reminded everyone that her birthday was the next day and left work with a big grin, probably imagining the birthday cake she expected to receive. 

The thought of her being humiliated and disappointed sat on my shoulders like a sheet of heavy, wet canvas. I was not one of the cake ladies. I didn’t really have the time nor the inclination to make a cake. But I did.  

Life is hard.

I don’t know what forces combined to make Alice the person she was. But she didn’t deserve to be treated in such callous manner. So I made her birthday cake. That day I was the recipient of several eye rolls from co-workers. Perhaps they thought I was a chump. 

But life is hard. 

Maybe Alice had been hurt once too many times. Maybe she invented a big, tough persona to protect herself. Or maybe she was just a selfish, mean person. I don’t know. 

All I know is that I didn’t want to see someone be singled out and hurt. I didn’t want to witness a heart being broken.  

Maybe I was a chump. But I still believe you should give someone the benefit of the doubt, err on the side of kindness. Even if you’re wrong, you’ve done the right thing. 

Life is hard. Be kind anyway. 

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