I was an ***hole

I’m not perfect. I’m still practicing.


I just sold my car. That car enabled a lot of special memories over the past 2.5 years. And on its way out, it taught me a lesson that I’ll never forget:

“No amount of money or hassle ever justifies being an ***hole”

Because of a situation, I cast a shadow, rather than shining a light.

Now that it’s over, I’m grateful for the lesson, but I commit to never being like that again.

So, here’s what happened…

After an hour long process of signing all of the paperwork and finalizing the deal, I was just waiting to be delivered the check.

I was excited to take the check and be on my merry way. I was excited to go home and go for a run. I was excited about dinner with my family that night. Everything was happening according to plan. Everything was just grand. All I needed was that check to print.

The saleswoman, who showed me immense kindness throughout the entire process, informed me, “It should be 10 minutes tops. Sometimes it just takes a minute for the printer to receive the transmission from corporate.“

10 minutes became 20, which turned into 30.

Something clearly went wrong, so the manager got involved. He kept refreshing the confirmation, which kept saying that the check “printed.” But, alas, there was no check sitting on the printer. Now, there was a 3-person team working to right the situation.

Despite having 3 humans dedicated to my cause, I still festered with frustration. My internal talk track kept replaying, “How could they keep me waiting? This deal is done. They owe me my money. An hour ago they promised me it’d be no more than 10 minutes. This is B.S.!”

Every time the team came back to give me an update that it still hadn’t printed, I met them with a scowl and a headshake of disapproval.

1 hour became 2. It was now 6pm and it became clear that this could go all night.

I continued to project anger, frustration, and bitterness.
I continued to neglect patience, understanding, and kindness.

I could tell that my visible disappointment was causing them to work harder at rectifying the situation. So, I kept applying the pressure. With each update they provided, I showed more frustration and aggression. “That’s unacceptable. Really that’s all you can do? Have we tried everything? Give me the GM’s phone number. I’ll try calling him.”

I was verbally violent. I was battling with my body language.

Eventually, I left the dealership checkless. After exhausting every option, it became clear that the situation wasn’t going to resolve itself that night. I gave up and realized I’d be better off coming back in the morning than continuing to stew in the same fine leather chair for another 3 hours.

Side note: like all advice, sunk cost fallacy is easy to espouse, but harder to follow.

On the ride home, after stepping off the emotional rollercoaster of the situation, a new kind of frustration flooded in: my frustration with how I acted.

Back to my internal talk track:
“Just because their printer broke and I had to wait a couple of hours… that was enough to berate other humans? Really? That’s my line?”

I let a situation that was out of their control cause me to get out of control.

The situation didn’t go how I’d planned, so I took it out on them.

When I was there, I felt like I had every justification for my actions. The stories in my head were indisputable:
“The deal’s done. They shouldn’t have signed if they couldn’t produce the check.”
“What kind of business doesn’t have the ability to solve a printer issue when they’re dealing with thousand dollar transactions?”
“They clearly don’t value me or my time. They’re making me wait here for 3+ hours. This isn’t how you treat a customer. This is bad business!”

These were all in my head. Some of these even escaped out of my mouth. Meanwhile, another narrative kept playing over & over & over: “Anybody who was in my situation would be reacting the exact same way!”

I felt so justified in the way I was acting.

But, on the ride home, I confronted the question:
Even if I had every right, is that who I wanted to be?

Even if it had been “their fault”… even if it was “in their control”… even then… why would I choose to act that way? Out of all the options I could choose, why choose frustration and anger? Out of all the people I could be, why opt for being an ***hole?

Is my happiness that fragile?
Is my peace that cheap?

Was it really worth suspending my values and withholding my compassion for a check?
I learned from this experience that the easy answer is “no.” The hurt I felt in knowing that my words likely hurt another… it wasn’t worth any sum.

I can’t take back what I did. I can’t reverse how I acted. But I can learn from it. I can commit to not doing it again.

I know I’m not perfect. I know I can treat this as a practice rep from which to grow. But I can also claim my power to commit to never doing it again.

“No amount of money or hassle ever justifies being an ***hole”

That’s my word. I’ll pair it with action. Never again.

Lucky for me, the story didn’t end there…

The same night that I left the dealership checkless, I went to dinner at an Indian restaurant with my family. In between bites of butter chicken, I looked up and who did I see sitting at the booth behind my parents?

One of the sales managers who’d tried his best to help me earlier that day, the one who did it all with an unwavering, gentle smile.

I had spent the afternoon throwing non-stop verbal jabs & crosses at this man. He kept taking them on the chin. He was consuming my rage by meeting it with kindness, even as I showed no kindness of my own. He embodied “turning the other cheek.”

Now, here I was enjoying dinner with my family, 40 minutes away from the dealership and I had to sit basically face-to-face with the same man who I was a total prick to a couple hours earlier.

Was it Karma? Fortune? A sign from God or the Universe?

Whatever you believe, I believe that the underlying force running this world gave me the gift of bringing us back together, so that I could rectify our past interaction. The location, the timing, even the restaurant seating arrangement - looking up at my parents caused me to meet his eyes behind them - was too uncanny to be a coincidence.

I walked up to him and told him how sorry I was for how I acted.

He accepted with that same gentle, genuine smile. He didn’t rub it in my face. He chose to show me grace.

I got a chance to make amends. I got a chance to make things right.

It made me realize:
Apologizing is an act of love.
Forgiveness is an act of love.
And love always wins.

Naturally, I was inclined to reflect further…

In what other situations have I justified being an ***hole, rather than a source of positivity & love? Where’s my line?

Where else am I sacrificing my values because of my “situation”?

Also, where am I passing up the chance to apologize for a past action?

And, finally, where am I missing the chance to forgive?

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