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New Driver, Please Be Patient

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I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago that really stuck with me. My girl Samantha Ponder was the guest speaker and she talked about how she landed the role as a College Game Day reporter and more recently a host on Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. (I’ve been low key obsessed with her and her family for awhile). She then went into detail about her family life and more specifically about her baby girl that was born two months ago that almost lost her life when she was just a few days old. Among other problems, the baby basically stopped breathing and they rushed her to the hospital. When they got there the doctors did some tests and took the baby back for emergency surgery. They told Samantha they weren’t sure if the baby would survive surgery or not. She goes into detail about the two plus hours her and her husband spent in the waiting room waiting for an update on their little girl.

By this time in the podcast I am sobbing. I mentally and emotionally cannot even fathom what that must feel like to ship your baby off with a bunch of people you’ve never met, trusting them with your new baby’s life, knowing there is a very good chance the next time you see your baby she won’t be alive.

After doing nothing but sitting in the waiting room and crying for two hours, she decides to go to the Starbucks in the hospital to get a coffee and get a change of scenery as she waits. She talks about how in that Starbucks she is at the absolute lowest she has ever been in her life. Her face is swollen from the tears, she looks like hell, and all she can think about is her baby girl. She touches on how this was a defining moment for her because it made her think of all the random places she has bumped into people and how many of those random people may have also been at an all-time low in their life.

And that’s the part that has stuck with me and won’t leave. How many times have I talked to a coworker at work, someone in line at the grocery store, the waiter at the restaurant I’m eating dinner at, and they are in the lowest moment of their life? That’s the thing about being in a low place, the world doesn’t just stop so you can have some time to pull yourself together. Someone is still going to take your order at Starbucks and isn’t going to care that you look sad or look like hell. Someone still needs to go to work even if their world seems to be falling apart. And those are the people every day that we see and interact with.

I saw a post on Facebook not too long ago about a new driver who had a sign hanging in the back window of their car that said “New Driver, Please Be Patient”. And I can’t help but think how sad it is that we as a population need a sign like that to have patience on the road. If someone is going slowly in front of us and we are in a hurry, we will inevitably get mad. But if the person in front of us has that sign hanging in the window, we would be more lenient to give them a break and not get as upset.

So what if we all just went around wearing signs. Would that make us have more patience and treat people a little better? Imagine if you saw someone wearing the sign “Just Found Out My Mom Has Cancer.” Would you yell at that person for getting your order wrong when you’re out to eat? Or if you saw someone wearing a sign that said “I had a stillbirth one month ago”.” Would you still cuss that person out when they tell you your cable package is changing? Do you see how silly some of our “problems” are compared to the things people are living through every single day? Why do we need people to wear a sign for us to just be decent human beings?

We have no idea the struggles and trials that people are living with behind closed doors. When you randomly see someone, even a stranger, you have the potential and the opportunity to brighten their day, even just a little.

Samantha said in her podcast that she wished someone would have acknowledged her in that Starbucks and just asked if she was okay.

You could be that person.

I hope we all have it in us somewhere to not need to see a “New Driver, Please Be Patient” sign to be a decent human being.

To end on a positive note, Samantha’s baby girl survived surgery and is doing great. As hard as those hours were for her, she says it made her realize there are so many people out there going through things that we have no clue about. The next time you want to flip someone off for pulling out in front of you or getting your order wrong, I hope you remember this blog post. There was a reason you were brought to it today.

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