One of my New Year’s resolutions is to become a nicer man. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mean man or an evil man. In fact, people who know me well like me. But I am somewhat reserved and in general prefer to be left alone.
Oddly, for some reason this makes strangers want to chat with me.
So this year I decided I would try to be nicer. And there I am, doing my usual Sunday morning Border’s routine. I pick several books and am about to go check out when my eye is caught by a book debunking the DaVinci Code (or maybe it is a book extoling the truths of the DaVinci Code, I dunno I never got a chance to see it.) An older man walks up to me and says “A book about prophesy, that must be interesting.” I look up and nod.
Then he says, “You know what else is interesting? Psychology. I’m looking for a book that explains Psychology For Dummies. Do you know where I can find something like that?” I helpfully point him to the information desk, but then I remember my resolution to be a nicer person. I also point out to him that there are computers where he can look up all kinds of things. “I’m not too good with computers.” he tells me.
“OK.” I say to myself. “What would a nice person do?” I actually have to ask myself this, because these things don’t come naturally to me. “A nice person would help him out wouldn’t he? And, even if he were leaving, he would take a few minutes wouldn’t he?” Even though these things don’t come naturally to me, I sound pretty certain as I tell myself this. “OK, I’ll do it.”
“Here, let me show you.” I say. I type Psychology for Dummies into the computer and sure enough, there is such a book and they have a copy in the store. I even walk the old gentleman over to the book section and tell him it should be found on one of these shelves. I then leave, feeling like I’ve gone the extra mile and been a little nicer.
So I’m telling this same story to my friend Matt. Matt says:
"Yeah, I was in Radio Shack yesterday and there was an Indian gentleman asking what he needed to do for his speakers. The guy behind the counter didn’t know, so I explained it to him. He said he wasn’t very handy with such things, so I said ‘I’ll tell you what, where do you live?’ "
You guessed it gang. Matt followed the man home and installed his speakers. The man’s wife gave him some nice Indian food while he did it and even wrote down a copy of her recipe for Matt’s wife.
And so, I guess, I went the extra inch, and Matt went the extra mile (or miles as it were.)
But give me some credit. Last year I would have probably just pointed the old guy towards the information desk and left.