A Chance to Apologize

Friends of our gave us a new bed and desk for our oldest daughter. It was a set of that frilly white furniture with gold trim, complete with canopy bed (but missing the canopy.) Jessica's thrilled. After getting it all set up, I loaded her old bed into the Odyssey to take it to the Volunteers of AmericaThrift Store near us. It was about 8:00 PM as I drove into the lot and backed up to the door. The lot was kinda empty so I checked the printing on the door to be sure they were still open. Yep, M-F until 9:00. I flipped up the tailgate to unload and an employee stepped out to gather up the carts in the lot. He informed me that, sorry, he was locking up.

"But it says that you're open until 9:00."
"They're closing early at 8:00 for a couple of weeks." (I later noticed a paper sign taped to the door).
"So, I can't even just drop this off?" I made sure my tone indicated how silly that would be. After all, the donations just get set just inside the door that was less than 10 feet from where I was standing. It would only take a second, surely he would oblige.
"Actually, we're not supposed to take donations past 30 minutes before closing."
"Really?" My tone had gone from irritated past annoyed strait to angry condescension.
"Hmph!" I made a big show of stomping to my van and put all 210 horse power to use across the parking lot. I'm sure that impressed him.

So the next day I made another go at it. It was 7:30-ish as I headed back to VOA. It was then I realized that I may have to face this guy again. Thinking back I felt pretty foolish about the way I had acted and even worse about how I had treated him. This guy was not the sharpest guy in the world. I mean no insult there, it's just an observation, more a commentary on how folks probably view him. He works at the VOA thrift store and he had a stutter or some other speech impediment. He had long stringy hair and walked slouched over. He probably gets overlooked and treated like dirt all the time. So along comes some middle class white guy dumping his unwanted belongings off and gives him flak. Yikes.

So I pull up, just like before and jump out to unload. And just like before, he shuffles out the door to get the carts. Darn, I was hoping to avoid him. That's when the voice in my head says "You should apologize." The thought makes me uncomfortable, I just want to drop off my stuff and go. We exchange hello's and I unload my stuff. I'm getting done and he's coming back to the building, meaning I have another chance. I kow I should but it would mean admiting I was wrong. He might think I'm weird. He might yell at me. It's just awkward. While I'm doing my mental gymnastics trying to avoid doing the good I ought to do, he makes it inside and I'm off the hook.

I walk to the car, disappointed in myself. Why was that so hard to do? I missed an opportunity to right a wrong, to deal with a hurt I had caused. I'm pathetic.

I buckle up and as I begin to drive away, I notice he's coming back out. I stop and back up, rolling my window down. He walks over to the van.

"I wanted to apologize for the way I treated you last night."
"That's OK, I get that kind of thing all the time."
"Well, that doesn't make it right and I'm sorry."
"Well, uh, that's OK ... Thanks for your apology."
"You're welcome, have good night."
"You too."

I left the lot with less authority this time but feeling much more like Jesus. I hope my actions gave him as big a smile and brought him as much peace as it did me.

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