Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
My lunch hour was pre-empted by too many emergencies, and I was left with very little time to wolf down an egg roll from the food court and then to run errands, including mailing a couple of packages to reviewers. I had 15 minutes before my next meeting and I needed every last one of those 15 minutes.
When I arrived at the Post Office, I was the only customer. The clerk quickly started working with me and understood I was in a hurry.
With 2 minutes left to finish up and another 3 to hike back to my office as fast as I could, we were almost done when a new customer sauntered through the door. She stood there for about 5 seconds and then handed a document across me to the clerk.
“I’m in a hurry,” she told him—not me, him. “I have a meeting at one o’clock and I can’t be late.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but she was here first. We’ll be done in another minute.” Bless him for not waltzing away to take care of her!
“Well, I can’t be late!” She barely glanced at me.
Maybe she saw my Goth skirt and lacy blouse and thought I had all day. In any case, she never said, “Excuse me,” or “Do you mind?” She never even spoke to me.
While he continued to work with me, the clerk called for another clerk to come out of the back. After another minute passed and the woman started having conniption fits about being late for her appointment and how important her time was, he finally stopped what he was doing, took her document to the back of the building, and brought out her mail. By then, I was down to 1 minute to hike back to my office for a meeting.
Of course, she had questions for him, which took up more of my time. Something told me not to say a word, though I was sorely tempted to. I simply asked for a little karma for the woman…something slightly short of being mowed over by a car while crossing the street to her big, important appointment.
So to paraphrase a popular commercial, here’s the price of karma:
The number of minutes available to perform miracles and reach my office in time for my appointment? 15.
The number of minutes late because My-Time’s-More-Important-Than-Yours Woman hijacked the postal clerk? 10.
The look on said woman’s face when she realized her appointment was with me? Priceless.