After spending a couple of days in D.C. recently, hubby and I went to the airport to pick up a car for the next destination of our vacation.
We reserved an SUV some three weeks earlier through a rental car dealer that will remain nameless.
After the taxi dropped us off in the wrong spot and we shlepped two pieces of overstuffed luggage over hill and dale, we arrived at the rental counter only to find there was no car for us to rent, let alone an SUV.
After David gave his name and confirmation number, the woman behind the desk, glibly announced,
“Sorry, sir we have no cars available right now.”
My husband (surprisingly patient in this situation) responds to her in a reserved tone and asks,
“What do you mean you have no cars? We reserved an SUV three weeks ago.”
To which rental-car lady abruptly answered,
“I’m sorry sir that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t matter that you reserved it. They. Are. All. Gone.”
By this time I’m ready to jump over my husband and down this woman’s throat to give her a piece of my mind! (I’m still waiting for my portion of patience)
My husband asks to speak to a supervisor to which rental-car lady motions to her cohort at the next counter. Rental-car lady #2 comes over.
The same questions get asked. The same answers are given.
“Sir, you can go outside and wait by the parking area where the rentals come in and a car may come up in 20-30 minutes, but it won’t be an SUV. Sorry.”
To my right I watched as another couple went through the same motions with the same result.
Now I’m ready to write this company up on Yelp or call the Better Business Bureau but what we found out later changed my thinking completely.
On the previous day there had been terrible storms. We knew this as we were caught in them with no umbrella! What we didn’t know is that two tornadoes touched down at the airport shutting it down. Many travelers were stranded and rented cars to get to their destination not knowing when the airport would reopen. Therefore all the cars were gone.
Ah, now the rental-car lady’s words made some sense.
We didn’t know this back-story.
I started thinking, how many times do I make quick judgments about people when they act a certain way that’s not to my liking?
How many times have I made presumptions about another’s motives based on a few actions? Like the relative who never shows up for holidays, or the friend who always cancels on you at the last-minute.
Do I really know the whole story or am I quick to pass judgement because they messed with my plans? They didn’t do what I wanted.
The truth is, we’re all a little messed-up. Yes, sadly, even you and me. We have our hang-ups and insecurities that others can’t see and don’t know about.
We have a back-story.
Where’s the grace? If I really put that question to task I’d say it gets lost somewhere in self-absorption. Ouch!
So next time one of our friends, relatives, acquaintances or car rental attendants messes with our agenda or dare say makes us so mad the hair on the back of our necks stands at attention…
May we pause and consider their back-story, the one we don’t know. The one they struggle with. The one they trip over every day. And instead of placing judgement on them, place a blessing on them with prayer.
After all, wouldn’t we like a little grace as well?
“You then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before Gods’ judgment seat.” Romans 14:10
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