Compassion and Kindness


Here’s the thing about kindness: it costs you nothing.

There is no downside to being compassionate. It won’t make you sick. It won’t cause your nose to grow. It won’t render you incapacitated.

Lately, I’ve seen an unfortunate dearth in kindness and compassion. From administrative staff at various places, to acquaintances I know, to some jerk being rude at a concert because the merch line was too long. (That guy? Possibly the King of Jackasses.)

Today, I made what I thought would be a simple phone call. I needed a refill for my diabetic/hyperthyrodic cat’s meds. The woman immediately ripped into me, stating that it will be the last refill, since she is 3 months past due. I explained that I didn’t know that, and the woman preceded to treat me like a hostile witness, Spanish-inquisition style. She asked if I still lived at the same address, was incredulous that I didn’t get the reminders in the mail (because the postal system is perfect, right?), and informed me that I could only have enough meds for a week. All of which I can live with, except that my vet isn’t in for two weeks, and I don’t really want to see another one. She, magnanimously, decided to give me two weeks of medication.

The kicker is this: the most immediate appoint, which I have to take (otherwise, the cat runs out of her meds), is on a day I had a family obligation. I explained the exact nature of this obligation to her (which, given the nature of it, should matter), but it didn’t phase her at all. She snarkily told me that I could see one of the other vets during the week. I took the appointment, and now I have to see about rearranging the family thing, which I feel guilty about having to do. If the tech had given me a month’s worth of meds, I would’ve gladly made the next available appointment. Instead, I hung up the phone feeling like I’d just dealt with the Grinch and Cruella DeVille’s lovechild. (In all fairness, the other woman who answers the phone is so nice; I should’ve hung it when it wasn’t her.)

It doesn’t take a lot to be compassionate. Lately, I don’t see a lot of compassion. I see doctors who forget that patients are people, people with families and friends who love them. I see people who cut off old ladies and who park in handicap spots without cause, allowing an elderly man to walk entirely too far to the supermarket. I see inflexibility and abject rudeness. I hope to hell I never get like that. I know that I can be jaded and cynical, sometimes. I have my bad days, but I try hard not to take them out on other people.

Because you never know what someone else is going through. You never know their story. And it costs you nothing to be kind.

  1. Anonymous
    December 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    So true. I usually just try to take a second and remind myself that I don’t know what might be behind their rudeness. I can’t control how they act, but I don’t have to let bitterness become contagious!

  2. December 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I don’t know why office personnel can be so rude. Most are exquisite, but every once in awhile you get one who delights in using their power for evil, not good. My son’s former dermatologist had an office worker like that. I called to get a refill on his prescription because we were going out of town. She told me, in a rather huffy voice, that there would be no refills because we had missed two appointments in our near-year of seeing the doctor. As a matter of fact, we would not be getting any more appointments, either.

    That’s right. She fired us as patients.

    The upside is, I found a dermatologist who has a great staff, took wonderful care of Marcus’ skin, AND I got to write an article about it for the newspaper. It was a win-win, for me.

  3. Alicia Marie Phillips
    December 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Very True. As soon as I get aggravated I imagine they just got terrible news about a loved one or themselves and it changes my entire attitude. It also usually changes the tone of the conversation. I pray it’s not true, but it remind me how to be compassionate during trying times.

  4. December 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm


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