For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter, here’s the story I promised you of the crazy lady in the post office. For those of you who don’t follow me on either of those things 1) why not? and 2) you’re going to enjoy this story.
I’m a person of chill demeanor with a sprinkle of sass every now and then. I don’t like drama or confrontation. So when I’m met with either one in a soap operatic manner, I tend to shrug it off because homegirl doesn’t mess with crazy.
I’ve debated whether or not I should write about this and post it on the blog. I wasn’t sure if it was gossipy. I wasn’t sure how to write certain words that were said. I wasn’t sure how I could tell it without me being mean. I wasn’t sure if I should tell it then relate it back to some Biblical principle even though I didn’t really think that fit. But then I decided that I just really like writing and telling stories and honestly, this story really is just too good not to share.
A scene was not what I set out for last week on a routine trip to the post office.
I was minding my own business. It was hot. And I meant to make this post office run a week before. I walked in to mail off a package. The line was irregularly long for this location. It’s the same location that I would drive 20 miles just to have them stamp my letter. Every encounter with them has been full of smiles and pleasantries. The polar opposite from my post office that’s angry at you for just showing up. I’ve often told Aaron I wish we could move to this area of town where I work, just so this would be our local post office.
It’s the North Pole of post offices, full of jolly sugary sweetness.
When I found my place in line I immediately felt the tension in the room. Unusual for this location. All of the tension was coming from a lady standing at the counter of a post office worker that I will here-on-out refer to as Bob. The lady was waving her hand in a “Z” formation at Bob with body language that said, “Oh no you di’int.”
She was irate.
When I start off saying she was irate, it can only go downhill from there.
After she had Bob stamp the envelope she was mailing she explained a very detailed service she needed that Bob wasn’t sure how to do. So Bob politely asked her to step aside for a moment so he could take care of other customers while he waited for someone else to come up to help her.
This is where any sane person would have said, “Okay, thank you” and stepped to the side, waited patiently, and there would be no need for this blog post.
Apparently, she didn’t appreciate the level of service she was receiving. She huffed and puffed and stomped her feet as she commandeered another postal worker’s station. Then Bob remembered that he had already stamped her envelope.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry but I’ll need to close your transaction. Your total is .66 cents.”
With a hand on her hip and major attitude in her voice. “I’m not paying that.”
We could see Bob search for how to respond.
“Like at all? You have to pay.”
“Yes, I mean at all. I’m not paying for that after how you’ve treated me.” (which was actually very polite in normal people standards)
The other post office worker walked out to help the lady.
“Either you pay me or you pay him.” said Bob.
“I’m not paying at all because your customer service sucks.”
This went on and on for a good 3 minutes and tension arose with every lob back and forth.
She finally caved and angrily searched through her wallet. She found some change, walked over to Bob’s counter, and slammed the money down, making coins scatter.
Bob picked up the change and counted it. “Ma’am, this is only .61 cents. You still owe me five cents.”
“Find your own damn nickel. I’m not giving you a cent more of my hard earned money.”
Bob calmly and continually requested her payment after each verbal knife she threw, insisting that she was not going to give him a nickel.
Finally, Bob meant business. “Ma’am if you don’t pay I’m calling the cops because that’s considered stealing.”
Crazy lady pulled out her wallet, searched through her change, pulled out a nickel…and threw it at Bob’s face! “There’s your nickel. Go get it.”
We were all stunned. Bob bent down and picked up the nickel. “You could have just put it on the counter. Thank you.”
“No, I wanted to throw it at your face.”
While the other worker was finishing up whatever it was she needed done, the lady began to unloaded every single thing she was angry about in this world as if everyone in this room had something to do with her life’s misfortune. A few things about how “this is America” and “people don’t respect her.” But then she said something about Hispanics that I don’t want to repeat.
The man standing in front of me had a particular hipster look; an artistic hair cut shaved on one side, ripped jeans, chucks, and a vintage t-shirt with a unicorn on it. A look I can appreciate. Especially when your shirt has a rockstar unicorn on it. I can totally appreciate that. He also happened to be Hispanic.
When she said what she said about Hispanics, her behavior was so childish, rude, racist, and uncalled for that this guy rolled his eyes and chuckled muttering, “I can’t believe this.”
She whipped herself around, pointed her finger at my hipster neighbor, looked him up and down judging his appearance, and threateningly yelled,”You keep your *bag mouth shut.”
*Sidenote: Only substitute the ‘b’ in “bag” with an “f” and that’s what she said.
She totally said that. I know, right?! CRAZY.
I’d like to make a point at this time in the story that I’m not the type of person to argue with crazy. Arguing with crazy leads to nowhere. Especially crazy, racist, and bigotted. And that’s not really what I did in response to her comment. I didn’t argue with her…
…It was more like the gate between my brain and my mouth was left wide open from the shock of her comment. I could not believe she made a judgement like that about someone and then spoke so contemptuous toward him. My heart immediately hurt for my line mate. My nose crinkled in disgust and I looked at her in disbelief and said, **”Are you serious?!”
**Translation: Are you out of your living mind? Did you really just say that in public? How mean and hateful could you really be?! Do you REALLY have this much reason to be mad to treat people like this?! HOW RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL!
I realized that this comment wasn’t just in my head as soon as her gaze met mine. She locked her eyes on me like a hungry, angry lion about to devour her prey. She leaned in, finger pointing directly at me, and exclaimed, “***Witch you better keep your mouth shut!”
***Sidenote: Only substitute the “w” in “witch” with a “b” and that’s what she said.
She totally said that. I know, right?! CRAZY!
She said a few more derogatory remarks about my line mate. People were starting to speak up. The postal workers finished her transaction and told her if she said one more threatening word or didn’t leave, they would call the cops. She left, hooting and hollering in a huff and once she was out of sight, we all let out a collective sigh and “Oh-my-gaw-can-you-believe-thats?” I just prayed she wouldn’t key every car in the parking lot or walk back in with a weapon.
While I waited for my turn I tried to put myself in her shoes. I tried to see life from her perspective and give her the benefit of the doubt. I thought, “Maybe she’s had a rough day.” Or a rough life? What exactly could it have been to make her come unglued like that? Maybe she’s been abused and is just angry at the world. Maybe that really was her last nickel and she works day in and out just trying to make ends meet. I felt sorry for her because she had that much anger on the inside. I really tried very, very hard to see her through Jesus’ eyes.
But then I didn’t feel so bad because we all have a choice to make when in a frustrating situation. She made the wrong choice. And there’s no excuse for that kind of behavior – no matter what your circumstances.
It was my turn at the counter and Bob helped me. I really felt for him. I’ve been degraded like that before and I know how it feels. Terrible. My heart went out to him. Instead of my scripted, “Hi. How are you today? I’m good. Thank you.” I leaned in and said, “Bob, I’m really sorry about that lady. Don’t let her steal your joy or ruin your day. She had issues before she even walked in here and she’s the only one to blame. I really appreciate your help with my package.” Bob smiled and said to me, “Her? Nah, it’s not gonna bother me. She’s just a crazy ****witch.”
****Sidenote: Only substitute the “w” in “witch” with a “b” and that’s what he said.
He totally said that.
And she just might have been.