By Harold Klemp
I was driving into the parking lot of a local discount store when I suddenly saw a white Cadillac tailing me. I wasn’t paying too much attention until the person in the Cadillac began honking the horn over and over.
The driveway was huge, but the Cadillac cruised right on my left rear fender. The driver was upset. She thought I had cut in front of her while driving into the parking lot. She cruised on my bumper for a long time, then finally pulled around me, parked, and rushed into the store.
I don’t like to be pushed, so when she came out of the store, I went over to her and said, “You probably didn’t notice, but the freeway is over there.” This was not the thing to say. She batted my ears down. When she left, I said, “That was really something.” I could feel the waves of anger coming from her so strongly that I found myself shaking.
I wasn’t afraid; I felt pretty calm inside. But sometimes when you’re around a very angry person these energies that are being thrown out are so strong you can almost reach out and touch them.
I went to a pay phone and called my wife, just to balance out. “You won’t believe what I just ran into,” I said to her. The two-minute call was just enough.
But I kept running into people like this, especially at the post office. Our local post office has a tiny parking lot right off a busy street. Sometimes you can’t drive into the parking lot right away, so you sit in the driveway or on the street. Then, when you get into the parking lot, you often have to wait for a place.
One morning I was third in line, waiting for a place. I was halfway into the parking lot, but part of my car was in the street, so I was nervously looking over my right shoulder, watching for fast traffic.
The woman in the front of the line didn’t see that there were two parking places available. Car number two finally got tired of waiting and drove into one of the spots. By now I figured the first car was waiting for someone inside the post office, so I took the second parking spot. Immediately she began honking at me.
She got out of her car and stalked over. I never realized a human being could scream so loud. She was taller than me, and stood over me, huffing. So I began apologizing.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I didn’t realize you weren’t waiting for someone.”
“It looked as if you were deliberately trying to edge me out,” she said. “No, that wasn’t the case at all,” I said. So she calmed down a little bit.
So often when I am on the calm end of things and someone else loses his temper, I have a chance to either be angry in turn or show some charity. It’s hard to show charity to someone who just flattened your ears, but this is how we give love to those in our family of life.