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The diversity of the human spirit amazes me… Road Rage vs Generosity

A few days ago I had two very different experiences in my working day. They were poles apart in terms of their reflection on our society and I couldn’t stop thinking about the reasons why.

1Interaction One – Road Rage

Road Rage

In Australia, our Queensland drivers amaze me every day. We will obediently allow alternate filtering one car at a time in to our traffic line but if the car in front allow two cars to filter then there are some who are straight on the horn tooting away and gripping their steering wheel a little bit tighter. Maybe we didn’t conform to what they were expecting and they didn’t like it or maybe they are late for something and the extra 3 metres will be the difference between making that next set of lights… I am used to this attitude so I tend to conform, the planets stay in alignment and my bumpers stay un-bumped. But sometimes I get caught out.

The other day I reversed out of my driveway in to a gap in traffic. It’s a busy road and you have to pick your moment which often catches a speeding car who will have to tap their brakes as we drive away. With two kids in the car we are always cautious and safe. So when the windscreen steamed up as we were driving in to the sun we slowed down momentarily to let the air-con clear it.

At that point the young girl with a P plate behind us decided that the best course of action to air her frustration (at us not driving blind) was using her horn like a weapon and then generating some new and I assume obscene hand gestures in and out of the car while swerving to try and get around us to join the slow line of traffic metres ahead.

My 5 year old calmly said “Daddy what’s all that beeping out there?”. My response as I glimpsed in the mirror was “someone is either late or having a bad life”. Of course that led in to the “Why?” conversation as she struggled to understand the logic.

I have always assumed that if someone cuts me off or is less than courteous while driving that they are just in more of a rush than me, possibly on their way to see a terminally ill Grandma or something similar. It helps to remove my frustration and I usually get on with my day unhindered… but not today.

Interaction Two – Selfless Generosity

Calm Serenity

Later that same day I took a call from a customer.

Amongst other things we distribute FRIO medical cooling wallets. They are essential to keep medication at room temperature and people rely on them to keep their medication safe and effective. This customer was panicking a bit.

“My cooling wallet hasn’t arrived. I paid for express post and it has been 5 days and I need the item to keep insulin cool for a long haul flight… and we are leaving on Sunday and it’s Friday afternoon.”

Australia Post actually do a great job usually so when I got off the phone I checked the tracking which confirmed that it hadn’t been scanned since Monday. Next course of action was not to investigate Aus Post, not to complain, not to panic… but to get the product to the customer somehow.

Step one was to see if a courier would deliver on a Saturday. No joy there. Step 2 was to see if a trade customer had the product in stock so the customer could pick it up. We got a hit… One suburb over someone had ordered a large quantity 2 months ago. We made the call to the business and the person on the phone had no clue. The person who ordered it was away and heading off overseas. As a last ditched attempt we put a call in to their mobile and sent a quick text.

Having exhausted all options we called the customer and explained what we had been doing for the last 30 mins. He was very understanding and quite happy that we had gone above and beyond the call of duty. he said he shouldn’t have left it last minute. We gave the only advise we could to assist with cooling on the trip and he hung up the happy but the situation was still in the air (literally).

Then a strange thing happened.

I got a call from the person who we were trying to track down. She said she was confused by our message. After a quick explanation that our customer was desperate for a product and we knew her business had some in stock she explained that the products were actually for personal use for her trip. I thanked her and was ready to hang up and she said… “That’s OK, I am happy to share”. It blew me away.

The wallets are not expensive, the one he was chasing was $58 plus postage but she was happy to lend it to a stranger based on a text message and a short phone call. Extremely generous, selfless and trusting. My faith in humanity was invigorated by this simple act.

Thinking about the reasons why went down many avenues. The lady was clearly a business owner, possibly happy? possibly financially OK? in a good place emotionally? looking forward to her trip? empathetic to a fellow Type 1 Diabetic? ( There is certainly a strong community and support network there). Whatever the reason was it was just a nice moment in life that I appreciated fully for the selfless act.


Compared to…

Compared to the angry encounter earlier in the day I felt that a little balance had been restored. In the grand scheme of things both events were not that significant to the world. One person was disproportionately angry to their imposed situation. One person was disproportionately generous to their imposed situation.


I will never know the reasons why each person acted the way they did but it emphasised that we can choose how we look at every situation and decided how to react appropriately.

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