Photo taken by Sebastian Pichler
We were tired, sweaty, hot and hungry. But on vacation at a nice resort, so these weren’t really problems. Furthermore, one of the problems would soon be remedied because we were taking a trolley (long golf cart) to a restaurant.
Just as we were about to take off, some guy walked right in front of us! Didn’t he see us? Oh, I see. This was his world and we were all supposed to wait for him. I think he may have even been smoking a cigarette! He was obviously in a hurry and he quickly hopped on the back of the trolley. Great!
Once we got moving I didn’t think another thing of it. I was comfortable and we were on our way to get some dinner. The ride didn’t take more than five minutes. Once we arrived the guy jumped off and bolted to wherever he was going.
We gathered our things and began walking up the small slope. As I turned the corner I noticed that we would have to walk up a small flight of concrete steps. I also noticed something else.
The guy who was in a hurry.
The guy who I had assessed and judged based on…
I don’t know what…
was ever so carefully, helping a mother carry her stroller down the steps. Her child was still in the stroller so they took their time. Once they reached the bottom he was gone again. I doubt I would even recognize the guy if I were to see him again.
This series of events took all of about five minutes. But they were an important five minutes.
How could I have possibly have assessed this
guy gentleman based on my limited observations? More importantly, why did my brain feel the need to judge him in the way that I did?
Was it because I was tired?
Was it because I was sweaty?
Was it because I was hot?
Was it because I was hungry?
Once again, no.
It was because I was prejudging.
Prejudice takes many forms. Oftentimes it is not even verbalized and it can be very subtle. In my mind I was the only one aware that it took place.
In my mind.
Did I give the gentleman a dirty look?
Did my body language give me away?
Did I look away when he walked past me?
I sure hope not.
I felt the need to share this brief moment because it made me wonder.
How often do we judge others without even knowing that we are?
How often are others aware that we are judging them and yet we aren’t?
I could have easily let this moment pass without ever documenting it or sharing it with a single soul. And yet then it would have been wasted. It definitely wasn’t wasted on me. Hopefully I am a better person because of it. I sure hope so. I have much room for growth.