Have you ever unintentionally made someone, or a group of someones, feel better about themselves, their situation, their life?
I did that this week.
Our veterinarian's office has a large spacious lobby, with plenty of room for a number of animals to be waiting, without getting unnecessarily close to one another. The receptionists and techs sit at a large U-shaped desk in the center, with room for three of them to be helping people get checked out.
In what, I am sure, is a measure of business self-preservation, our vet's policy when picking up an animal after a procedure or overnight stay, is to settle the bill first. I know some people are deadbeats, and am grateful that our history with the vet is such that we can run a tab when need be - like when we send a kid to pick up some meds or have an outcall for a large animal. But, I get why they need generally like to hold Fido hostage until the bill is paid.
On this particular day, I was prepared to pay in full and stood waiting to hear what the damage was. There was a nice lady with an older black Lab that was grousing a bit over the need to buy two boxes of heartworm preventative. There was a lady with a dog rescue group that was requesting a discount for some medication. There was a young guy with a new puppy and a couple with a cat, waiting for their turn at the counter.
Remember the old E.F. Hutton commercials, when everyone got quiet to hear what he said? For reasons unknown to me, the room, animals included, got eerily silent right as the tech was ready with my total. And when the words, "Two thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight dollars" came out of her mouth, heads snapped my direction and the guy with the cat gave his wife a "ain't no f'ing way we are spending that kind of money on Fluffy" look.
In an instant, no one else in the room had any cause to bitch about their bill, they were instantly better off than me. As I handed my debit card to the lady, I turned to the kids and asked them who didn't want to go to college. Not going to win any mother of the year contests either!