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About Last Night

January 5, 2009

I’ve been telling people for years that I’m an recovering jerk.  Some believe me – and say I have much more recovering to do, but some say I’m too nice of a guy to have ever been a jerk.  Oh, the naive.

You see, it all started when a mentor of mine told me that to succeed in the fire service, one had to become a perfect donkey, a**, jerk (yeah, that works).  So, taking him at his word, I set about to become that perfect.  On top of that, when you give someone an awesome emergency rig with lights, sirens, and bling – oh boy, how fun!  I got used to driving where I wanted and parking anywhere I pleased.  I also got used to being in charge.

Last night at Costco, the inner jerk raised his ugly head – and it wasn’t pretty.  The Wife was doing some foraging in Costco while I sat with the sleeping kids in the car.  It’s a good arrangement.  She gets some alone time and I get some quiet time.

When she came out of the store, I drove over to pick her up.  As I got closer, I saw there was plenty of room under the “porch” and plenty of room to drive a car under there – so I did.  It made perfect sense to me, for I could load the car without having snow blow down my neck and into the car.

Suddenly a parade of Costco employees began to come out and tell me I couldn’t park there.  Knowing that I could have the car loaded sooner than I could move the car, I dismissed each of them.

The Wife was severely embarrassed and I really made a fool out of myself, but I wasn’t willing to admit that yet.  I had a hundred reasons why I could and should be allowed to park there.  I had another 100 reasons why they had no right to ask me to leave.

Like any good emergency responder, I surveyed the situation as I drove in.

Like any good emergency responder, I surveyed the situation as I drove in.  There were no signs prohibiting this action.  There were no crowds of people in danger of my car.  I wasn’t blocking anything and everything was under control – except for the emotions of the employees.

As I drove away, I apologized to my horrified spouse.  The gravity of the situation began to creep in one me, but my pride was mounting up tremendous defenses.  A great war was waging in my soul.

This morning, during my quiet time, I was impressed to go by the store and apologize.  It worked out well since I had to go to Portland today anyway.

I stopped by the store and asked for the manager who stood his ground with me, but never lost his cool.  He wasn’t in, so I made my apology to the store manager.  My apology was simple and I left out all the excuses and pride from above.  I just said:

I was wrong, I was being a jerk, I have no explanation, but to say I’m sorry.”

I repeated this over and over, several times.  Both the manager and her assistant were very appreciative and said they would pass this on to Brian, from the tire department. (I think I’ll try to look up Brian later and talk to him directly though).

As I walked out of the store, I felt even more humbled.  Having worked in retail sales, I know the carp the employees put up with.  They didn’t need me to create this stress in their lives.

I didn’t do this to win any awards.  I didn’t do this (nor am I writing about it) in order to make myself look better.  I only did this in order to keep the slate clean, to remain harmonious with my God, and to remain in serenity to prevent a lapse in my sobriety.

I’ve had the opportunity to right a few wrongs lately, it is very healing and very cleansing.  If you harbor resentments, or wrongs committed, take the time to right those – you’ll never be sorry.

UPDATE: (4/17/09) A few weeks ago I was able to stop by the Vancouver Costco and Brian was in.  I reminded him of who I was and apologized for causing stress in his life.  It was the right thing to do, and my Darling Daughter got to watch her Dad be humble (I hope it will provide balance for her).

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