Have you ever had one of those days? The kind of days where nothing goes right and the world itself seems to be out to get you?
Of course you have – we’ve all had them. The question is: How do you deal with them? Sure, you can get a quart of your favorite ice cream, lock the front door, put on your most comfy bathrobe and watch TV until your lucky stars come back into proper alignment. But maybe you don’t have to be at the mercy of fate …
Last week I had one of those days myself. My computer ate the file I was working on, I couldn’t find an important phone number I’d written in a “safe place,” my checkbook wouldn’t balance, I spilled a cup of coffee on the carpet and a traffic jam made me late for an important appointment. By the time lunch hour rolled around, I was in a world-class bad mood, and all I wanted was for someone to put their arms around me and say, “poor baby” for about 12 hours. Either that, or to whack somebody and make them feel even worse than I did.
Instead, however, I had to get to the bank to make a deposit before I started bouncing checks due to my own poor accounting skills. So, grumbling, cursing and fuming, I went in and straightened out my finances (after standing in line for 25 minutes). As I was walking back to my truck, wondering where I could find something small, fuzzy and helpless to kick, I heard a small voice.
“Excuse me, sir? Do you have jump cables?”
Distracted from my self-pitying funk, I looked to my left and saw, two parking spaces away, the littlest little old lady I’d ever seen standing beside the biggest Cadillac I could possibly imagine. The image would have been laughable had the woman not looked so desperate. “My car won’t start. Can you help?”
Of course I would help. I got the jumper cables out of my truck toolbox, lifted the hood of her car, connected our batteries and told her to turn the key. The result: Nothing – not even a “click.” I’m certainly not an automotive expert, but I could tell something was wrong with the electrical system. I told her I’d call a tow truck for her (she didn’t have a cell phone of her own) and she gave me her Auto Club card number. Within 10 minutes the tow truck arrived, and, satisfied that the little old lady was in good hands, I drove away to start my afternoon business.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not patting myself on the back here. I have no doubt that every person reading this would have done exactly the same thing I did. But as I pulled away, I realized that the melancholy fog I’d been wallowing in all morning had lifted. At that moment, I remembered that chivalry changes the lives of everyone it comes in contact with. When you perform an act of chivalry, you not only help someone in need, you also give yourself the gift of self-respect, dignity and honor. Being someone’s “knight in shining armor” is the best way I know of to overcome bad luck, banish self-pitying thoughts and chase away a case of the blues.