Listening to someone sharing at a meeting recently I was reminded of the teachers I've had in my life and about having possibly learned the most from the ones that were let's say, less than amiable.
The 1st instance I thought of was a customer I was waiting on as a server in a restaurant...it was my 1st "early recovery job" and I was fresh out of treatment.
He looked to be in his sixties, had a stern sort of demeanor to him and was an African American (I mention that as I feel it gives some context to the lesson I learned here). He sat by himself at one of my tables and ordered a salad and a water.
If I'm totally honest here I have to admit that I did have the standard waiters predetermination of such a person at my table. He ended up being at my table for over an hour and a half... I would make my standard passes to check and see if he was okay, etc.
At one point I made the mistake of calling him boss as I passed by. He looked up from his tablet and said, " My name isn't boss". I cringed inside, apologized and asked what his name was (again restating mine) to which he replied, "my name is SIR".
Ouch. Ok, so whatever chances I had of a good tip now disintegrated, I eventually dropped his check on which I had written, "Thank you sir". I don't remember how much of a tip he left me, but he did leave one and that exchange really stuck with me.
I had another such interchange with a housemate recently where I was asked very pointedly not to call him "Dude". At the time I thought it petty, but I acknowledged him and have endeavored to respect him by calling by his name. The occasional "bro" or "dude" slips out, but I am quick to repent when it happens.
These instances have caused me pause and have challenged me to improve my vernacular; to attempt to step away from the lazy and long formed habits of my elocution.
These may seem insignificant things to those that are not endeavoring to better themselves, to leave behind the "hurt child" of their youth and who are not reaching for a higher plain in their spiritual life, but I have learned to recognize within myself that when I hear a bell, I should investigate where it's coming from and perhaps more importantly find out who has rung it.
So, if anyone witnesses an errant "Dude" coming from me, please ring a bell... You might just be saving my life.