The Cookie Thief by Valerie Cox
A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”
With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude,
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
The others were his, and he tried to share.
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.
LOVE this poem. Such a powerful reminder that we so rarely know the whole story. We never know what’s really causing another’s actions. We only know what our busy little minds makeup about the other person. How can we possibly write-off another’s actions as being rude, impolite or whatever other label we might want to apply, when we have such limited insight?
Taking “road rage” as an example…imagine a guy cuts you off when you are driving. Most of us become immediately offended and might react with negative words or hand gestures. Respectfully, this is a very juvenile reaction. It is a sign that we think the world is all about us. We imagine that the driver of that car “did something to us”, when the truth is, he wasn’t even thinking about us. He didn’t do it as a personal affront to us, he did it because he is in his world. Here are a few of the hundreds of reasons he may have done it –
- His coffee may have spilled and he was multi-tasking.
- He might be rushing to the emergency room to care for someone.
- He may desperately need to use the restroom and can’t wait another second.
- He may lose his job if he doesn’t make it in time.
- He may have been crying because a loved one passed away and he is barely aware of the other cars.
- He may simply not have seen you!
Do any of these reasons cause you anger, or does it help you see that we are all human; just trying to make it?
Something to consider as you go out into the world. We are each imperfect. Rather than deciding how others need to improve, it is much more valuable to focus on your own improvement.