Be a Brat or Be Nice. Your Choice.

decafThis week I had a great breakfast meeting and left excited about the rest of the day.  I got in my car and checked email and texts before I got on the road because only selfish idiots do those tasks while on the road but I did want to see if anything in the day had changed before I got rolling.

I sat there for a minute or two but evidently a lady in a giant gas guzzler (yes, I’m being judgmental) wanted my parking spot so she laid on her horn to let me know. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

A simple tap on the horn would have done the trick, but she chose to get obnoxious. I backed out quickly and left — but not before noting that there was another empty space right across from me. Right there. Empty.

I watched the lady get out of her SUV and march into Starbucks, hoping , for the sake of anyone else she encountered that day, that she was going to order decaf.

It bothered me for awhile. She took the shine off of an otherwise great morning all because she didn’t want to walk an extra four feet to get her coffee. Oh the irony.  She was wearing workout clothes. I wonder if it made her feel good to get all aggressive about a silly parking space not being vacated fast enough. She had a choice to make a polite tap or even to park elsewhere, but she decided to be, frankly, a brat.

Being a brat feels lousy.  It doesn’t feel powerful or in control. It feels mean and petty. It takes a day going well and lays a momentary tarnish on it. It takes a tough day and makes it feel worse.

The little things matter a lot. We come into contact with people all day every day and each time we do we have the chance to shine a light on their day or make it suck – either a little or a lot. When we choose to be a brat it casts a pall on our day just as much as it does for the other guy. Even if our day isn’t going so great, being mean to the next guy isn’t going to make it start going better.

Lay off the horn. Be nice.  And if this is just too challenging, try decaf.


  1. Sherri McCann on October 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Read once “you will never regret kindness”…SO true!

  2. Mary Kutheis on October 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Couldn’t agree more, Sherri. Haven’t heard that quote but it’s now a new favorite. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Marsia Geldert-Murphey on October 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Mary this is so true when I see the rushed or irritated people I am always reminded we have a choice in the matter. And we have to power to spread happiness or anxiety and I believe what we spread is also what comes back to us. I do try, when I see people like this, to send them a blessing to help whatever is troubling them. I always think you never know why they are behaving that way. I have been surprised by people that come off at first as very abrasive then when you talk to them you find out they are going through a rough time and the minute they share their pain the prickliness subsides and they soften.

  4. Mary Kutheis on October 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    You make an excellent, and very gracious point. We truly never know what’s going on with other people — and you sending blessings doesn’t surprise me a bit. You always choose compassion and we can all take a page from that book!