“You’re welcome, bitch!”

Posted: December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Those words were right on the tip of my tongue last night as I held the lobby door open for a woman. I was just leaving work. I had been fighting a headache all day. I was hungry and still had an exercise class to go to that I was trying hard to talk myself out of.

I opened the door, stood back and smiled at her. She walked through the door. She didn’t look at me. She said nothing and just walked by.

She didn’t thank me. She didn’t acknowledge me. She ignored me as if she was entitled for people to open doors for her.

I bit my tongue and walked through the door and put her out of my mind.

I had done the same thing to someone else years ago.

I was walking into work. My head was down and my hands were in my coat pockets. I was lost in my own thoughts and despair. I didn’t see him. Somehow the door was open for me and I walked right through it.

“You’re welcome, bitch!” I heard someone say.

I turned around and saw him standing there. I was suddenly brought into the present. I blinked and looked around and tried to remember how I had gotten here. I didn’t remember. Everything was a blur.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I was lost in thought….”

“Yeah, right! You’re just rude…” he said. He was angry and that was all I needed.

“No, I’m not usually rude. It has been a bad day,” I said.

“Oh really? What has been so horrible about YOUR day? You think you’re the only person on the face of the earth, don’t you?” he said.

I stepped forward. “No, I don’t but the fact of the matter is, I just got back from the mortuary with my Mom. We had to pick out the head stone for my brother who died recently. But, hey! If my grief and the complete destitution of my family and life is a problem for you then…..go fuck yourself,” I said.

I had finally lost it. Just that comment of his was all it took for me to breakdown. I started crying. I had fought the battle for too long. I had been 1/4 inch close to my knees hitting the floor and giving up, but I refused. I would not go there. I would not fall apart and not be strong for my family.

It had been a nightmare. We and the doctors had done everything possible to save him, but it was not to be. No matter what I wanted, he would never be there again for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or anything else. There would always be an empty spot when we got together. He would never be in another family picture. I was done buying gifts for him and receiving his. I would never get to talk to him again. Ever.

This man’s comment brought it all crashing in.

“Oh, hey, I’m sorry…”he said.

I raised my hand. “Just leave me alone and try not to be such an asshole to people,” I said. I walked into the bathroom and cried. When I was done, I fixed my make-up, walked into work and got busy.

The woman last night could have had the same thing going on. Or maybe she just found out she was dying. Maybe she lost her job or maybe she doesn’t know how to get through the day.

Or maybe she’s just a rude person for no good reason.

I don’t know and I don’t want to know.

What about that person that cuts you off in traffic or doesn’t give you “the wave” when you let them in line?

I’ve been that person. I’ve cut people off when I was careless or when I’ve been rushing a dying animal to the vet.

I’ve waved and they haven’t seen it.

I’ve been the one going 25 miles an hour on the freeway because my car had broken down and I was crying and trying to find the closest exit to pull over. People honked and yelled at me and I was terrified. Their cursing and honking made it worse.

When someone is driving so slow on the freeway that I want to honk at them, I don’t. I have no idea who they are or what they are going through. Maybe they are in trouble or maybe they are just lousy drivers.

I don’t know.

Life is a series of millions of moments; past, present and future. She was one brief moment in my life and one that I could just let walk by me. I don’t know her burdens and she knows nothing of mine.

Think twice before you strike out at someone who is a bitch or an asshole. It’s just a brief moment. Let it pass and be a better person for it.

That is my Christmas wish. Be kinder to yourself and those around you.

His birthday is this month.  “Happy Birthday bro. You are not forgotten.”

  1. ljcohen says:

    Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you.

  2. stephie794 says:

    wow what a sad story thanks for sharing with us though!

  3. Excellent reminder, we are all imperfect humans.

  4. Ann Courtney says:

    I always try to remember what my Gran told me many years ago.
    “Before you speak take the words from your mouth, look at them carefully and decide whether they should be spoken, if not then firmly close your mouth.

  5. Thank you! This is something we all need to think about.

  6. […] “You’re welcome, bitch!” Those words were right on the tip of my tongue last night as I held the lobby door open for a woman. I was just leaving work. I had been fighting a headache all day. I was hungry and still had an e…… […]

  7. Lark LaTroy says:

    Unless it happens in YOUR skin, you don’t know what someone is dealing with. Your post is a fantastic reminder that we really do need to look OUTSIDE of ourselves from time to time. Thank you.

  8. Dee says:

    You know, this touched a raw nerve. Thank you, for posting it and reminding us all that our own sensibilities are not always a priority, and it isn’t always about us. Learning to do things without expectation or acknowledgement is tough at times, but not only is it healthier, but it provides an example for others who are crabby and snappish.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      I am glad you liked it. We don’t often realize (or forget) that most things really aren’t about us. It’s easy to forget, but we all have our burdens and most things that happen have nothing to do with us.

  9. Jim Pauley says:

    I don’t know if a virtual hug from a complete stranger will make any difference but please, if it’s not too threatening, consider yourself hugged. It’s not all gravy, but then again it’s not all shite either.. Middle Way and all that, right-o?

    Now go on out there a cut some trail.. what don’t kill us makes us stronger.

  10. Aleta says:

    Wonderful post. ‘Thus do humans judge of each other…shallowly…with but little charity….’

  11. Betty DeMers says:

    I remember a time when I was so broken I could barely breathe much less smile – and like you I walked around looking ‘normal’ … I KNEW my heart and my life was in a million pieces and by looking at me? You’d never know. At THAT point I began to see people differently. Sure they appear ‘fine’. But, so did I. I figure everybody’s got something – and sometimes they are broken in a million pieces and just keep walking, too. It made me kinder and it still does. It’s a hard lesson – but, a good one. Bless you for taking the time to share and may your heart heal in time.

  12. LisaBeth says:

    thanks so much for this…I needed it today and it helped me step back, take a breath, and be able to get through what’s going on right now. I’m so sorry for your loss of your brother – he’d be so proud of you right now. I just know it!
    Thank you so much for giving me another day. May the holidays and new year bring you nothing but good things.

    • Susan Lewis says:


      You are welcome. Take a deep breath and know that no matter what is going on, you will be OK.

      Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.