Following bad directions and finding myself in the wrong building, I wander about until I see a desk with someone behind it. I inquire as to where I can find a certain person.
"Oh, how nice. And who is he?"
She says this in a very condescending tone. I'm asking a simple question and I'm being polite. Great.
"He's a patient."
"Well, he wouldn't be in this building," she says as she rolls her eyes. "I'll find out for you."
She dials patient information and as she waits for someone to pick up, she just bothers me more.
"So, what's he here for?"
"I don't know..."
"Must not be too close a friend, huh? You don't seem to know much about him."
What the...??!! "He's my grandfather. I just got word..."
Her other phone rings and she mutters, "Figures."
Now she is talking on one phone while handing the first one to another woman who has just walked up. Her smile is genuine and kind. I like her already. The first one is now berating someone with a shipping company. It's the same infantalizing tone she gave me.
I was madder earlier, but now I am past it. This is nothing personal. She's just a bad egg or she's a good person having a rotten day. The second woman has found my info and is graciously giving me directions. And I am off to visit my grandfather. He's sick again and it seems that the worst is expected. But then he looked a bit better than I was preparing myself for. Weak but stable, and certainly in good care.
He's a gentleman, through and through. There are a lot of wonderful men and women in my family, but it's he who has set the bar so high in my eyes. He's a hero for his accomplishments and he's a hero for his humility and kindness. I still learn about how to be a man when I watch him interact with strangers. Whether it's the Fox 17 news reporter who interviewed him a couple of years ago about his days piloting a B-24 bomber in WWII or the nurse who is asking him critical questions today about his health, he always exemplifies the best virtues of humankind.
Gracious, humble and polite, it doesn't seem to ever cross his mind to talk down to another human being. The kind nurse asks him yet another question and he answers, "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am." Twenty hours in a railed hospital bed too short for his long, tall body, with every excuse for extreme grumpiness, and he's still the man I'm so proud to know.
This, in such contrast with the woman who appeared to take such pleasure in letting me feel her annoyances with me. I hope she settles down with her little attitude. It was so unnecessary.