Lifting the knife and fork in my hand, I started to cut into the fish on my plate. It had been many hours since I ate anything. The pleasant aroma of the food was making my mouth water. Suddenly, I heard knocking at the door of the hotel boardroom I was sitting in. It was the room we were using as a central point for the organization of the District 47 Fall Conference. My team was in charge of registration and I told them to go enjoy the dinner event while I manned the registration of any latecomers.
Needless to say, I was not happy to hear the knock at the door, as I was about to eat. Grudgingly, I left the food and when towards the door as the knocking continued. I snapped open the door to see two young ladies standing there. Hastily they said were there to pick up their registration badges and meal ticket. In a not too friendly voice, I told them that it was late and registration was closed. Their response was that they were instructed by their club president to come up and get their badges. Murmuring to myself, I told them to come in.
I asked them if they minded if I ate some of my dinner. They said no and I proceeded to take a bite, but I felt self-conscious. I told them that registration would be open at 7 a.m. the next morning, as the smell of the food caused my stomach to rumble. One of the young ladies answered angrily: “Fine. We will come back tomorrow morning.” She turned away to leave. The second one said “What about our food?” to her. The first replied: “ We will find something to buy.”
The plea of the second attendee stopped me in my track. I immediately heard the hunger in her voice. I felt terrible and ashamed of my actions. The thought popped into my head that they are Bahamians and probably just got in from the airport. I knew it was raining outside and this often means delayed flights and bad traveling conditions. I said a prayer to God asking for His forgiveness. I turned to them and asked them to forgive me. I was wrong. I told them it was not the “Toastmasterly” thing to do; most importantly, it was not the Christianly thing to do. I asked them to sit down as I helped them get thing items they needed. Before they left I again asked for their forgiveness.
I ran into them a few times after this episode and each time I gave them hugs. By the end of the weekend, we became friends and we agreed to exchange our contact information. I learned a valuable lesson that weekend: Never let my needs get in the way of being kind towards others and treating others the way I want to be treated. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to admit that I was wrong and to ask for forgiveness. I am most happy that they granted me not only forgiveness, but also their friendship.
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