Today, on my lunch hour I learned an important lesson…
I went to the shoe repair shop in the city next to the one that I work in. There is a gentleman that works there that has been doing it for like ever. He has also been incredibly testy and kind of short with you. He is inexpensive and does awesome work and is honest with you and will not do work that he feels should not be done. He will tell you he cannot do it instead of taking your money and making you think he did or making you unhappy with the result.
I went back to my co-workers, after I found he was still in business, to tell them he was still working and still cranky! I let everyone know not to expect fluff, but to expect the crank.
Today, when I went to pic up my Dansko clogs he was stretching, I found out why he has been so cranky. His wife has Alzheimer’s Disease and has been battling many health problems as a result. He is caring for her at home and has a nurse during the day so he can work, then he goes home to care for her. As he talked about his wife, I saw the tears start to form in his eyes. I felt that instantaneous feeling of GUILT for running my mouth to everyone about how cranky he was.
I listened to him talk about how he had built his work day around the care giver taking care of his wife. From working in this industry for the last several years, I know it is not cheap. Here he is in his advanced years also, dealing with all of this. I am not sure if he has any support in the evenings and weekends, but now I understand that he may be a little short.
I talked with him a bit about where I work and the resources we have to offer as well as some other resources available to him. Hopefully, he will avail himself of them.
When I got back to work, I let all of my co-workers and everyone I told he was cranky that I took it all back and why. I then asked all of them to be sure to take their shoes to him for work.
I will try, but won’t promise, not to make snap judgments about people until I have spent a bit of time in their shoes.