I was waiting for the elevator. I'm in a nice part of town. The stores are expensive, the air perfumed with the slight tang of money. We shop here because it's close and because we feel it's our duty to bring down the tone of places like this. I had pushed the up button and she had pushed the down button. I was heading to the shops upstairs, she was heading to the car park downstairs. When her elevator arrived first I joked, like I often do, "You won!" She laughed, a tinkle, and stepped on and said, "you'd think my being able to walk was winning enough." I sat there stunned watching the door slowly close. Suddenly I saw some fingers come round the end of the door, breaking it's motion and sending it back open.
She stood there and looked shell shocked. She started talking very quickly. Here's what I got from what she said ...
I was just trying to make a joke and instead said something very stupid and very rude.
In my head it sounded like a good comeback.
Out loud it sounded insensitive and cruel.
I'm not that kind of person.
I was just trying to crack a joke.
If I made you feel badly, I'm sorry.
I don't think that walking is winning.
I see you here with your friend all the time, you always seem to be having fun.
I was just trying to be funny.
I'm not funny.
I said, "It's OK. I've done that too said something meant to be funny that just didn't work. We all do it. We're good."
"Thank you. I really want to go now."
She let the door close, I got on the next one going up.
That apology took courage. She could have just let it go but chose not too. I'm impressed by people who know the power of a genuine 'I'm sorry I goofed up' .. she did.
Good on her.