This weekend was one of the most unexpected of the year. I was able to see Coach K speak thanks to a great friend from college. Not only was I able to see him, but I was also able to see an old friend, meet new people, explore Cincinnati, and receive an opportunity to show you why a positive mindset is so helpful in random experiences.
The First Experience
On Saturday, I decided to explore a bit of Cincinnati by walking one of the bridges over the river and revisiting one of my favorite museums, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The day was going great. The next stop before heading out was my favorite Lebanese spot, Aladdin’s Eatery in West Chester. I had recently seen a TV show that emphasized treating servers at restaurants well, so I was ready to leave with a big belly and hopefully gain some insight into someone else’s story.
Kyle was his name. He was working as a waiter while in a farming program at the University of Cincinnati. He told me stories of traveling to England, his future plans, his hobby of photography, and to my surprise, he recommended a Greek spot in Ft. Lauderdale for my upcoming family visit.
All of this while helping me choose the best pita bread appetizers, putting my lamb salad in a little bit late to make sure I had time to eat the appetizers, bringing me a sauce to try out for free, and even offering me a coffee to go.
I enjoyed my lunch, which made it much easier to give him a 35% tip. Whenever I hear of someone in college, tipping extra becomes a habit.
This is because of the experiences and offerings of many people in my college years. I am still grateful for those birch beers, the gift to help me get my car fixed, and others.
My grandmother taught me that those who always give will always have.
The point of the story here is that initiating conversations with someone new can be an interesting and fun experience, especially when you get to leave with the itis and coffee to assist you on your long ride home.
The Second Experience
I would not consider as easy as a tip, but one that can really positively change you.
Before getting back on the interstate for a 500-mile trip home, I thought it best to refill on gas.
At the first light to make a left into the gas station…no left allowed. At the second light, I took a right and turned around at a Steak and Shake. At the third light, I took a right onto the road to turn into the gas station and the fourth light there was no left turn. At the fifth light, I made a U-Turn at the intersection and finally took a right into the gas station (convenient right?).
As I was laughing at this turn of events (catch that?), I noticed the guy to my right talking to me with his window down. I rolled mine down to see what was the problem:
“Hey, dumb f*** learn to drive!” - Road raged driver who I’ll call Billy
“What did I do wrong?” I asked.
“You know that U-Turn you took at the light, that isn’t allowed idiot,” Road raged Billy said maliciously.
I responded, biting my tongue, “My apologies. I’m not from the area. I’ll make sure not to do that in the future though. Thank you for the advice.”
“Learn to drive dumb f***,” Road raged Billy yelled as the car behind me beeped as the light turned green.
“Thank you very much for the help,” I replied as I was heading out of the lane.
As soon as I pulled into the gas station, I called the driving expert in our family, my dad. I explained and we both weren’t 100% sure, but, thankfully there were no close brake squeaks or a wreck at all.
Now before taking this positive thinking journey, I definitely would have fired back at Road raged Billy with some insults of my own and wrote a Facebook post about it. This is no longer the case.
After speaking with my dad, it really came to me that someone who really has the audacity to speak to a stranger with so much anger must really have something going on in their life. It is up to us to help people like that. I think the home run here is that it’s easy to fire back, it’s easy to let someone negatively affect your day, and it’s easy to think the other person was wrong.
In truth, I don’t know who was right or wrong, but I do know I apologized to him for whatever I did. All I know is that I sincerely wish him the best and hope that if he does have a few road bumps, he’s able to get over them and grow from them. Maybe one day he too can work to become more positive in his life, because when you let very SMALL negative experiences affect you in a BIG way, you will never be truly happy.
Why? Because EVERYONE ELSE will have control over YOUR life.
We as achievers (the new term for those of us on our journey) want to change the world, we want to inspire, and we want to give back. By making the effort to stay composed, treat others with kindness, and help others, we truly can make a difference.
Happiness is our choice, and the pursuit is our inalienable right. Let us pursue that right through our positive thinking journey one small step at a time!!