POINT TO PONDER
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
- Wayne Dyer
Early on in my time here in the US I met a man, let's call him Sonny, that offered me a job working at his convenience store during the graveyard shift. We had mutual friends so I thought this would be an ideal situation and I trusted Sonny as he was also an immigrant to this country, though he had been here longer.
When I arrived for my first day of work, I was excited, but it seemed Sonny was in a rush. There was a party he was intent on making and when I arrived he handed me the keys to the store. I asked him what I was supposed to do and he told me to figure it out as he needed to get going. Something struck me as a bit odd but I was determined to roll with the punches. But before I took over I asked a simple question we hadn't addressed - how payment was being made for the work.
Sonny mentioned that there was a "trial" period in the US where people work for no money for the first three weeks and then are evaluated based on their performance. If I did a satisfactory job, then my pay would kick in. This was a huge red flag to me. I may have been new to the country but I knew that the wonderful thing about the US was that you got paid for the work you did. There was no "trial" period that Sonny was claiming.
When I pointed this out, Sonny became angry. I, in turn, decided to leave. Sonny said he needed to make his party, which was at a mutual friend's house, and I told him that I'd go over to the party and let them know he wouldn't be able to make it.
Fast forward years later and I was working at a high tech company where I was a part of the hiring process. One day we were waiting to interview a potential candidate and guess who walks in? Yes, Sonny. I look at him and his face sinks. And for a second, I have the fleeting thought of giving him some grief, making the interview as difficult and embarrassing for him as I can.
My boss picks up on the change in my demeanor and in Sonny's visage. My boss observes that it seems that Sonny and I know each other. I say I do. Sonny shrinks further. I take a moment to just stare at him, at this odd twist of fate that has brought us together again. Finally, I tell my boss that it might not be the best idea for me to be involved in the interview and that someone else should take over for me. In the end, I didn't want to extend someone else any heartache. What was done was done and it was on Sonny to own up to his mistakes. It wasn't my place to enforce punishment.
That was not the last time I saw Sonny either. I would periodically run into him at my daughter's high school cologuard team events. It turns out by some odd twist of fate, that Sonny's daughter went to the same high school and was on the same colorguard team. I would smile and wave from the bleachers to him and he would wave back sheepishly and find a new place to sit, far away from me. I would see him at parties thrown by mutual friends years later.
What you do to people, even on the smallest scale, resonates. Even in small ripples, there is a cause and effect. And those feelings you leave with people are as strong as diamonds. And like a diamond, they are often forever. People don't forget.
This isn't a cautionary tale meant to point out an unpleasant experience but as an encouragement to treat others kindly, regardless of position or finanacial status. Maybe a little good can go a long way on this merry go round we call life.