Short answer – probably not.
I had to go to the bank today, and since the lobby was not open, I had to use the drive-thru.
There were three lanes open, and a car was already in one of the lanes, so I pulled into one of the empty ones. The teller turned on her speaker, but all that came out was a lot of static, so I just yelled that I was there to make a deposit.
Twenty-seven minutes later, I finally completed the transaction.
Between waiting on the person in the other car, not having a functioning vacuum tube, and disappearing for close to 10 minutes a couple of times, it turned into a nightmare of a visit.
In a normal situation, my transaction should have taken less than a minute.
So as I sat there waiting, I could just feel my anger building up, thinking of exactly what I was going to say once the transaction was completed.
But when my receipt finally made it back to my car through the now functioning vacuum tube, all I decided to say was “Thank you”, and I drove off.
I don’t know what came over me at the last moment and enabled me to avoid saying what was on my mind.
Perhaps it was because the following thoughts started running through my mind:
- the teller had probably been at work since 9:00 in the morning, and now it was 6:00.
- The teller was also wearing a mask and probably had been all day.
- The bank looked extremely short-handed, so it was certainly possible it had been a busy day for the teller.
In other words, I had somehow managed to put myself in the teller’s shoes, and it made a difference in how I reacted (well, at least externally) to the situation.
So not only did that my reaction spare the teller from whatever my obnoxious comment was going to be, it made me feel better as well.
So I guess there is something to this whole “empathy” thing.
And maybe it’s the first step towards growing up…