The Cookie Thief
by Valerie Cox
A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye."
With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought... oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he's also rude,
Why he didn't even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
The others were his, and he tried to share.
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.
How many times in our lives,
have we absolutely known
that something was a certain way,
only to discover later that
what we believed to be true ... was not?
I think to me the point was more what happens when you assume the worst of someone. One mistaken assumption lead to further misrepresentations of the man's character until it was so distorted in the woman's mind that he was the complete OPPOSITE of who he really was.
I see this a lot on curezone. People disagree, which is natural, but then begin adding motive and character assassinations until the whole issue is so completely distorted no one knows the truth of it anymore.
And yet everyone just KNOWS they are completely right, because they have begun with an assumption and very logically proceeded, in their own mind, to how the person ended up where they were, what they meant by what they said and their motivation (always purely evil) for saying it.
It is often more revealing about the accuser than it is the accused.
It is the small gestures given
freely that help inspire compassion
in ones self and others. We need
more of this in our world.
You are so right about this, and never is this more apparent to me than when I "accidentally' give them, which has happened a number of times in the past few years.
The first time was when I went into the health food store I frequent. There used to be this man there my sis and I called the 'angel' -- he was seriously just like a 1950's movie version of the hapless, goodhearted type angel you see in movies of that era who was sent to earth to perform a task (and usually rather clumsily). Anyway, he just had the sweetest aura about him, but he was not very good at customer service, as he would get completely lost in telling you something and not note the disgruntled line forming behind you. I found this to be part of his charm, but I guess the owner did not, and he was eventually fired (probably someone complained).
My sis and I were doubley grieved about this, as his replacement was this very unhealthy-looking, dour grumpy man, who never smiled and had a complexion the color of ash. You could never engage him in any kind of pleasant conversation he was just shut down and trying his hardest to wall out the world.
Anyway, I had not been in the store for many months, and I knew the 'Angel' had been gone for a long time, but for some reason when I walked in I saw the replacement and confused him with his predecessor and I got a huge grin on my face and exclaimed, "You're back!!" I was so pleased by this and my delight so obvious that HIS face immediately lit up, he even blushed a bit, and he mumbled something about only being gone for a week on vacation, which is precisely when I realized my mistake, but the entire countenance of this man was transformed from dour, closed-off, unapproachable to someone lit up, puffed up with a renewed sense of self-worth, and it made me realize how VERY little it took to change this man - a single, appreciative compliment. One that was inferred, even.
The rest of my visit he was smiling, chatty, very unlike his usual self, and I made a note then to always compliment this man in some way when I visit because it was painfully obvious he had little enough of that in his life and I frankly felt ashamed as a person that I had not provided this much sooner than I did.
The second time this happened was a bit more recently - A man I had previously only spoken to via telephone came by my office, I had always found him a tad pompous (lawyer), always impatient and self-important sounding on the phone. He happened in and when he told me his name I confused him with another man I speak to often on the phone but have never met, a man I quite enjoy who is very down to earth and likeable. So when he told me his name my face lit up and I stood up exclaiming how happy I was to meet him and he looked SHOCKED and then very very pleased that anyone could find him such a delight. Since that encounter, on the phone, he is always warm and personal and completely different from how he was previously and it made me realize that sometimes the folks that are the least friendly are the ones who are the most desperately in need of our warmth.
So yes, it takes so little to say a kind word, perform a kind gesture but what a DIFFERENCE it makes in the lives of others.