Monthly Archives: October 2008

a Lesson on Compassion

I work in a Video Game Store. We deal with nerds and stupid people. yesterday was no different. I was working with a new guy who asked me every little thing that normal people would know from common sense and watching him do everything was a frustration on it’s own. The guy was a sloth on crack, but instead of doing things faster on crack, he just got slower and slower. On top of that, my feet were tired and kind of hurts. The Job was getting boring and a drag.

So after dealing with handful of stupid people who’ve been misguided about the return policy and annoying children, in walks a retard. No really, she was mentally challenged. She came in enthusiastically greeted me. I couldn’t understand a words she was saying, it pure mumble jumble. At the time I was dealing with a customer with… you guessed it! She wanted to return a game because she was told that she can return everything and anything within 7 days. While I was helping the customer the mentally challenged girl kept talking. She talked loud and unclear. All her words are messed up, I couldn’t make a single word that came out from her mouth. When she talked, saliva squeezes out to her lips in such qualities that I think she’s going to drool. Her big coat was already stain with what I think is drool. Every time when I look at her, the amount of foamy spit in and around her mouth made me wanna puke.

The new guy was talking to her, trying to make out what she was trying to say. He walked around the store showing her things to figure out what she wanted. As she walks around the store, I was afraid that she might come around behind the counter and do some crazy shit, like try to make out with me and if I did comply she would spit her foamy spit on me face. I was annoyed, by the customer who I was helping and by the retard who I couldn’t understand. I wanted all of them out. Finally, I was done dealing with my customer so I started listening and watching the interaction between the new guy and the weird girl. At this point I was a bit touched by the fact that the new guy was so patient with the girl even though he couldn’t understand her. The guy whom I thought was so incompetent and slow had surprised me. I began to see that the girl was not retarded but she had full mental capacity, she just has difficulties communicating her thoughts. The me who wanted her to shut the fuck up and stop bothering us was silenced by the me who asked

You think she wants this? You think she’s having a good time not being understood? How would you feel if you were in that position? You trying your best but people write you off? She’s having thoughts just like everyone else, she just can’t communicate them in a way that you can. So why don’t you get off your fucking high horse of having the ability of communicate effectively and shut the fuck up.

I then started to help to figure out what she was trying to say. She had a friend with her who was better equiped in communication, but she was frustrated and mildly embarassed for all the fuss they were causing. We tried asking her to write it, but her writing wasn’t very legible. So finally her friend went and got their helper. The helper was so fuckin’ paient with her and she reminded her not get frustrated. All we could understand from the girl was that she wanted to give us more money. But for what? Finally we figured out that she wanted to ask about the warranty on the games. She didn’t buy any games, she was just asking about them because I think she wanted to save up for it. Finally she was relieved and she said to her helper “I tried, I tried.” and The helper said “I know, I know. You just wanted to feel independent. You did good!”

I was moved. She taught me so much in that short amount of time. I learned what it meant to be compassionate towards someone. To see that the person is doing their best with all the tools they’ve been given. I learned courage. To stand up and speak up to communicate your needs and desires. To be relentless and push through even when you “feel” you are causing inconvenience to someone. To be honest, people can get over inconvenience, being inconvenient is a temporary state and people can get over it in a heartbeat. I am glad that the new guy had stayed with her for so long. If it was me, I would’ve tried to get rid of her as soon as possible and not listen to her. If that was the case, she probably would’ve felt defeated. So if it means that it would cause me inconvenience for her to feel good that someone understood her, so be it. I think me being annoyed is a small price to pay for her feeling accomplished and having her mini-victory of the day. I am grateful that she came in. I didn’t want to work yesterday and planned to give my shift to someone but now I am super glad that I worked. I don’t even care if I get paid because I think what I learned was so valuable (But I do wanna get paid because I work for a corporate giant and I am gonna squeeze every little penny out of them for every second I’ve contributed to help them make millions).

Lastly, I learned that no matter what Always Try. You never know.

Kevo

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