Random ActsPosted: May 16, 2012
On Sunday my husband, Mea and I went to the zoo. We went around eleven in the morning, because I knew it would be totally insane later in the day. The plan was to hit the zoo, go run a few errands, have lunch, and then Mack was coming over for dinner later that evening.
Our zoo is in major remodel mode. They have made huge updates to many exhibits, the zoo entrance, and there is still a ton of things that they are still working on currently. By the time they finish “Africa” we will have rhinos! Pretty exciting stuff.
In the process of the remodel, they have created a new entrance, but they have yet to do anything with the parking lot, a huge oversight. There is overflow parking, but the parking there is almost always a mess. We had been circling the parking lot for several minutes, had a couple of spaces stolen from us, and we were about to go up to the overflow lot, when we found a spot. A mini-van pulled out, just as we were about to go up. There were sand bags in the parking spot for some reason, but with four-wheel drive it wasn’t a problem to park over them. A regular car would have not been able to park there, the sand bags would have messed a regular car up.
We got out, got Mea’s fish food bucket out of the back of my SUV, and headed towards the entrance. As we were walking past another van, a woman yelled out at me that I was a “fucking asshole” and that I shouldn’t have stolen that other car’s spot. We had seen no one waiting for the parking spot we took. No one.
Then her husband chimed in, and started yelling obscenities at both my husband and I.
In front of their kids.
In front of our child.
Calling my husband and I every name in the book.
At one point, I was ready to go move my car. These people were clearly unstable, and I was worried they would go try to do something to my car. I was also ready to say something to the zoo people once we got to the entrance. Seriously, people are so deranged anymore, you never know what could set someone off to do something really crazy. They were swearing at us in front of their kids and our kid, on a holiday for crying out loud. It’s not like they were even trying to hide their very special kind of crazy.
We get to the entrance of the zoo, and there are multiple long lines coming from the doors, there normally is a “members” line so we went to where that line normally is. Just as we got in line a zoo employee came out with a clip board to start “working” the lines for members. The “member” line was being used for the Mother’s Day brunch. There was no sign, nothing indicating that it was for brunch, etc.
The family in line in front of us, had just moved from the “brunch” line to the regular line to pay to be admitted to the zoo. They had been out there for half an hour with two boys under the age of two, standing in the wrong line.
Our zoo membership is set so that it is our family +2.
After hearing their ordeal, I asked the zoo employee if we could add this family as our plus two. She looked at me kind of weird, but then said I could. Their boys were free since they were two and under. They were able to skip the rest of the long line, and come into the zoo with us.
After the experience in the parking lot, it really could have set the tone for our day. I didn’t want to be mad or grumpy on such a nice day. I wasn’t going to have people who clearly have anger issues ruin my day either.
Now, lots of people try to “pay it forward” or do various random acts of kindness.
My Dad is the one who taught me to occasionally do small things like this, many years ago. A man of few words, he doesn’t say much, he has a pretty dry sense of humor, but then he’ll pull something like this.
When I was a kid, the first time that I remember him doing this was at a toll-booth in Illinois, on our way to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We got to the toll booth, and he paid the toll for the next two cars behind us.
Different places and times, he would pay for the food behind us at a drive-thru, an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, the random road toll when we were on vacation, or pay for the coffee of an old couple at a table in a restaurant.
Just whenever he felt he could, he would do a little something. When I was a kid, I asked him why he would do things like this, and he would say, “When you are kind to people it surprises them. I like to surprise people.”
Some people could have taken the angry couple in the parking lot, and let it ruin their day. I really try not to dwell on the ignorance of others. They don’t know us, how could they accuse us of intentionally trying to steal the parking space from someone? The whole thing was just stupid, and for it to be so loud, and vulgar in front of all these little kids?
I got over it quickly when we were able to give this other family a nice surprise. Pretty sure that we had gone through the entire zoo by the time that the angry family was even able to get in the doors.
This may have made me smile a little bit as well.