We are creatures of habit. So, when we perceive someone is trying to change our habit, we coil up and get super defensive. We think, the nerve of some people. Invading our space and spreading their belongings everywhere. Don’t they know this public territory is spoken for?
Because of that kind of thinking, every once in a while, someone comes along to remind us that we are not the center of the universe (gasp).
What follows is a perfect example.
It all starts with a battle student Thomas McFall fought every single day of Management class. He always took the same seat. Some foreign dude was always already there with his stuff piled on the desk. McFall felt this guy should know by now not to take up the space on his desk with his bag, food, books, phone, etc. But every day was the same day.
McFall would walk into class and this guy would do and say the same thing every day. Come. On.
McFall has had it with this guy.
But one day was different.
Another student was aiming for McFall’s seat.
Because of his narrow view of other, maybe strange, people, he didn’t see the situation for what it was–a gesture of friendship.
McFall decided to spend a little more time with his formerly annoying classmate.
He discovered the guy’s story–his humanity.
He’s in another country, away from his family. Piling his stuff on a classmate’s desk was his way of trying to make friends.
If it wasn’t for the day McFall was running behind, he would have never realized the whole picture.
Instead, he would have an unpleasant memory of his Management class with an annoying foreign guy who piled his stuff on the desk. He would never know the reason behind the high five. And he would never had this gentle lesson on compassion and the benefit of giving someone else the benefit of the doubt.
That’s a lesson we should all carry in this awkward, annoying world we all have a right to inhabit.