He was going up one ramp, I was going up the other. The two ramps go up either side of the entrance stairs into the mall. I smiled at him, the kind of smile that says 'race you to the top'. He got there first, I waited as he went in, congratulating his back as he rode on in front of me. A few seconds later he blasted a woman who had accidentally stepped in his way. I've seen this before. I've done this before. Even so I felt bad for all involved.
As we got to the elevator he had positioned himself such that it was easier for Joe and I to get into the elevator that had arrived. He would have had to back up and negotiate a tight turn to get into it. He near shouted at us to take the elevator. Yikes, someone's having a bad day. We got on, pushed the button and rode down. We had only a couple of things to do so we rushed off. In the store there was a crush at the cash register so I went round to meet Joe on the other side.
He rode by again and again I chanced a smile. A few seconds later he pulled up beside me. He must have turned around to come back. He said, 'Hey, sorry about earlier.' I brushed away his apology saying that I had bad days too, not to worry about it. He said that he'd been having too many bad days lately and that he needed to shake himself up a bit and he though apologizing was a good start. I said that it was indeed.
As he drove away he said, 'Sometimes being an asshole is my primary disability.'
Even though I've heard the line before, I laughed and said that I am occasionally 'manners challenged' myself. Again we laughed.
It was just a small interaction but he really added to the quality of my day. In a real way he was a 'roll model' for me - apology, quick, meaningful, apology can jump start a day. I need to remember that because I find apology a difficult thing to do, especially when I've just been an asshole. Why do I want to save face when I've shown my worst side? I don't know the answer to that question.