A Letter to the Lady Behind Me on the Escalator
Dear Lady Behind Me on the Escalator,
I would like to apologize for what happened earlier today on the escalator. I realize that you were late for work and my children and I were blocking your path on the escalator. I do realize that there is an unspoken rule when riding on the escalator to keep to the right so that others can pass. I am aware that I was in full violation of that rule today. I do not expect you to understand the complexities involved when riding the escalator with three preschoolers. If you care to find out, I suggest you read this.
Perhaps you are unaware, but your comment about passing me once we got to the top of the escalator was not only unnecessary, but it was also rude. I am a highly functioning adult and though I was in violation of one socially agreed upon rule, there was no chance that I was going to make you stay behind me again once we reached the next level. Perhaps you were too frazzled from being late to realize that we had already boarded the escalator before you came running up the stairs.
My first reaction was to be angry with you. I judged you and characterized you as a late and disorganized person. I wanted to tell you that perhaps you wouldn’t be in so much trouble with your boss for being late if today was the first time you were ever late instead of the 9th or 10th time like I assumed it was. I also wanted to point out that a responsible adult plans their commute to work in a way that allows for the 30-second delay that one might find when trapped behind preschoolers on an escalator. I wanted to scream at you when you corrected my children for not properly getting out of your way. I wanted to scold you in front of them so that they would know that your kind of behavior is not the way we treat people in this world. But I did not.
I’m going to choose to believe the best about you. I’m going to assume that you were running late due to circumstances out of your control. Maybe the babysitter was late. Maybe your car broke down. I’m going to excuse your rudeness and give you the benefit of the doubt that you are having a bad day. Because I’ve had bad days. I’ve been rude to people who did not deserve it. I’ve become frustrated by the 30-second delays in my life, too.
I know you can’t go back and change your actions today. But there is something you can do for me. The next time someone crosses your path and is rude to you, please cut them some slack. Remember today. Remember the time when you were rude to a mother and her three small children on an escalator. Because I think if you are able to keep this moment in your thoughts, you’ll be able to extend grace instead of judgement and kindness instead of anger.
The Woman That Caused You to be 30 Extra Seconds Late to Work.