angry man

Back in college I was working in a Blockbuster, it was a dying breed. RedBox was taking over all corners, but NetFlix hadn’t yet taken over the video world. I worked in the small town that provided businesses for the neighboring seven farming towns.  Friday nights you hung out in the grocery stores parking lot, the roller rink or grabbed a movie and hung out.  As you can imagine our shelves were often bare. By late Friday night your weekend picks were down to the classics.  Our lines were  long, rentals pricey and we required membership.  Our shelves were also subject to human error, sometimes the wrong movie would be in the wrong case or a horror movie could end up in the romance section.  RedBox was cheaper, faster, and more organized but lacked one perk, the clerk behind the counter to unload on.  Some of our customers were greatv but I swear that, the vast majority, chose Blockbuster for the sole purpose of venting their anger at another human.   Policy was ” the customer is always right” So no matter what smile and nod.

Customers would rant, with no filter about the poor quality of service, policy, needing an account, waiting in line, not enough copies of the movie they wanted cost of rentals, and so on. You act sympathetic, apologize and try to make their visit better. Smile and nod.

There was one man, middle age, slightly overweight teen age daughter and preteen son.  I can still close my eyes and see him blasting me for my incompetence and disappointment. He was exceptional at delivering zingers and had me fighting back tears more than once.  As he would get heated up, he would brace himself, both hands on the counter leaning towards know for emphasis.  His face would grow red with anger and spittle would fly from his mouth as he delivered stinging words condemning me and the store of inadequate service and a below par presentation. Every Saturday evening he would show up and unleash his wrath.  I figured he most be angry about something else and just blowing off steam, because despite many threats of never returning, but every Saturday night he would be in Blockbuster unleashing his rage.

My co-workers refused to deal with him and were amazed at how I kept my cool. (Only by the grace of God).  I would listen address his legitimate concerns, apologize for everything else.  Mostly would of patiently let him run out of steam. Standing far enough away to avoid the shower of spital that spew forth during his venimous attack.  When he was finished apologize, sympathize, and say “Have a goodnight.”

Then every Sunday morning, I’d put on my Sunday best and go to church. My family sat in the second row.  In the front row would sit my very angry customer.  He would be calm and relaxed with his elegant wife and two children flanking him.  Every Sunday he would clasp my hand in his and say “God is love”.  He would repeat this gesture with my sisters and parents.  The first time, I saw him in church, I thought, ‘oh boy is he going to be convicted! This guy’s gotta feel caught! Talk about a hypocrite! Yelling at a church member!  After the way he treated a fellow Christian last night he’s got to be ashamed’. But he had no clue who I was, he didn’t pay attention to the employee dressed in a blue polo and yellow badge, she was nothing more than a paid servant. Sunday he might have smiled nice but he didn’t notice me anymore than on Saturday. This man was the epitemy of a hypocrite!

In my mind this man became the poster child of a hypocrite Christian.  With him on the front row and us on the second it seemed like the church was made up of hypocrites. Acting one way Saturday and another Sunday. He didn’t love his neighbor, he didn’t even take the time to really take note of those around him. I could have gotten bitter.  Concentrated on the row in front of me this man who treats me like dirt and then smiles and shakes my hand.  Sitting on the second row with him the first, it seemed this man represented all Christians.  I decided to  change my point of view, literally. I turned around and looked behind me.  I saw asea of  people, over 40rows with 30 seats per row, ofilled with people.  Not all these people act the way of this one man.  I didn’t know most of these people and I couldn’t judge them  all based on the actions of one.  I decided to forgive my anger customer 70 times 7times.

I knew I didn’t want try tto be anything like that man. But I know that there are times when I will see someone I know and act busy so I don’t have to engage. I loose my temper and act self-righteous. I judge the customer thinking he should be ashamed of himself, judgement belongs to God not me. I try to be a good representation of God, always and everywhere.IMG_0550.PNGIMG_0550


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