This morning, a complete stranger made me cry in the Texaco parking lot. I had just finished getting my car quick-washed and was getting ready to merge into the exit lane, just waiting for a little more space to open up. My latte was just the right temperature. I had just cleared some space in the cup holder after giving $1.50 in quarters to a homeless man named Alfred. I was feeling pretty excited, as I was on my way to celebrate birthday lunch with my bestie. Just started to roll into the open space in front of me when HONNNNNK! to the right of my car filled my ears.
Then three more angry little horn blasts: HONK! HONK! HONNNNK!
I looked at the face of the furiously gesturing man in the silver crew cab truck several feet away as he pulled up in front of me. I could read his lips as he cursed and raged at me. His eyes threw so much hate my way, it was palpable.
But we couldn’t go anywhere. The car in the front of the line still hadn’t left the parking lot, so I was stuck there and Angry Man was stuck in front of me. Fuming. Miserable. That’s when I decided to honk back.
I gave my horn a quick tap, then two more, until I made Angry Man look at me. I rolled down my window and gestured for him to do the same. Instead, he threw his door open and just glared at me.
I stuck my head out the window and said, “Excuse me, I am so sorry. I didn’t see you. That must have startled you, and I apologize.” Instantly, his demeanor changed. His face softened, and he actually smiled. A real smile. “Well, if you weren’t so pretty I would still be mad. But naw it’s alright.”
I was shaking but managed to say,”I really am so sorry. Now, could you please send out some love today? We really need more of that, sir. Thank you.” And he hung his head a bit before saying, “Yes ma’am, you’re right. Will do.”
He drove away, and I sat a minute to regain my composure because I felt shaky. Tears had begun to stream down my face. Angry Man left the parking lot, but the impact of his earlier rage was lingering. I thought about all the Angry Men and Angry Women going through their day, on edge, ready to snap at the slightest things. Ready to shred strangers online through their keyboards. Ready to believe the worst in each other. It made me cry, but it also reminded me: We really all just need a little more love. I’m going to send out extra today.