A mom was just trying to get to work when the vehicle in front of her was slowing her down. Finally, she reached a stoplight and was able to pull closer. As she did, she noticed a sign on the SUV’s rear window. When she read what it said, she quickly captured a photo for everyone to see.
Hailey is a “mom, wife, Mormon, counselor, and professional panicker with a minor polka dot and zombie obsession,” according to her blog Thoughts, Dots, and Tots. Just like the rest of us, the busy mom, devoted wife, and carrying member of her community gets frustrated with life now and then.
With a laundry list of responsibilities, thanks to the many hats she wears, she’s often on the go and in a hurry. As we’ve all experienced for ourselves, when you have someplace to be, it’s easy to get frustrated when you find yourself stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, especially when you need to hurry up and get to work.
That was the case for Hailey on one otherwise ordinary morning. The older SUV in front of her was obviously having some issues, although she initially wasn’t sure what was causing the delay. But, it would all be made very clear when the working mom got closer and noticed a sign on the back window of the Ford in front of her.
As she read the words, “Learning stick, sorry for any delay,” Hailey was hit with a realization — and it was about herself, not the driver in front of her. It made such an impact, she quickly took to Facebook after snapping a picture to reveal what she immediately realized about not only herself but those of us who share the road and this world with one another.
Knowing the person was learning to drive a stick, Hailey says, “I was very patient with their slow shifting, and honestly they were doing pretty well for still learning.” That’s when something hit her and she asked herself a tough question: “Would I have been just as patient if the sign hadn’t been there? I can almost definitely say no,” she admitted. And, that’s when she realized a huge problem.
“We don’t know what someone is going through. We don’t wear signs that illustrate our personal struggles,” she explained. “You don’t see signs taped to people’s shirts that say, ‘Going through a divorce,’ or ‘Lost a child,’ or ‘Feeling depressed,’ or ‘Diagnosed with cancer.'”
“If we could read visually what those around us are going through we would definitely be nicer. But we shouldn’t have to see signs and have reasons to treat strangers with kindness. We should do it anyway, whether we know what is going on or not. Whether they deserve it or not,” Hailey furthered before concluding, “Let’s give everyone an extra dose of patience, kindness, and love.”
Indeed, not everyone is always at their best when they get behind the wheel. Sometimes, people are driving to family emergencies or headed home after getting bad news. Those of us around them don’t know their story, but it doesn’t take much to give others some leeway — not just on the road but in life in general. Hopefully, this hand-scribbled message and Hailey’s realization will touch others and serve as a lesson. She could have flipped out or overreacted. Instead, she took a deep breath and exhibited some patience. This is a great reminder that we should keep calm, be kind, and allow others the time they need to accomplish what they are trying to do. We don’t know what struggles they might be facing, and a little empathy can go a long way.