Last Saturday night I was on my way to work when I was stopped by a middle-aged woman sitting in front of London Drugs. She said she was 2 months pregnant and had desperate needs. I confessed to her I had no cash on me, but I did have my credit card and food on me as I had just left a friend’s potluck and could offer her a good meal. She declined all offers of food and insisted that I go take out cash at the nearest bank. When I told her the truth that my card would not work on the bank machine, she stopped calling me “ma’am” and yelled at me to “stop wasting [her] f*****g time”.
Two days later, I was on my way to do some volunteering when I came across a man panhandling by the skytrain. I gave him an apple. He accepted, then asked for money to buy coffee. I had none to spare, and he simply let me go.
I was honestly upset by the woman’s violent reaction, and had wanted to tell her stop this behaviour, but refrained and walked away. When I walked away from the man, I confess that I missed my apple a bit, as I had prepared that as a snack for the late night. However, I only truly regretted one of my reactions: I regretted feeling that I should tell the woman off. Even though she was unduly offensive, if I had said anything correctional to her, it would have likely exacerbated the situation. I also know that I would feel badly for telling off a homeless, pregnant woman because if I had done so I would have simply been reacting out of anger. With the man, even though my tummy missed the apple, I did not feel a pang of remorse for giving it to him.
At work, a senior had been picking on me. I had the opportunity to report her and had started drafting a long report. I ended up never finishing the report. Instead, on Christmas, I gave her a gift and a note showering her with praise and congratulating her on her new baby. She accepted the gift, but never acknowleged me. I did feel uncomfortable planning my report on her, but I have yet to regret giving her the present.
I remembered I was asked by two men why was I kind in situations that I had every right to hate? I did not have a good answer then, and only said that I guess I’m just crazy. Last night, when I saw him again, the answer came to me: Maybe in a heated moment I would feel a thrill by exacting revenge, but sooner or later, the satisfaction would fade and I would be left with horrible feelings of hurting someone. I have and will always regret if I do ill onto others, but I have never and will never regret being kind.