We’ve all experienced the frustration of being behind a problematic driver. Whether they don’t know how to use a blinker, they swerve across lanes at a moment’s notice, or they insist on driving ten miles under the speed limit– a single incident can ruin your commute and put a damper on your day.
What we often forget during these moments of frustration are the times we’ve been lost in an unfamiliar town, the days we’ve forgotten our coffee and missed our exit, and those first few months we’ve all spent as a new– and clueless– driver.
It’s easy to accuse a stranger of a character flaw when we don’t have to do it to their face and we’ll never really meet them. Instead of judging others, one woman took it upon herself to share the insight she found in the unlikeliest of places: the back window of a stranger’s vehicle.
Hailey is a blogger who shares advice on marriage, life and family along with her experiences to uplift and inspire others. But, like any of us, she has places to be and one primary way of getting there. While driving to her nine to five, Hailey pulled up behind a car with an unusual note posted in their rear window. The note was simple, reading only:
Learning stick sorry for any delay.
Hailey took the message to heart and patiently followed the driver through any tumult their inexperience may have caused; but, while reflecting on her drive, Hailey realized something about the patience she was exercising. It wasn’t saintly or exceptional– but it was a patience she would never have exhibited without the sign.
We can’t all have signs in our rear windows. And the driver’s seat isn’t the only place we need patience and understanding. Yet here was Hailey, giving care and thought to a stranger all on the account of a simple handwritten sign. She reflected about the experience on her Facebook page with the following words.
Would I have been just as patient if the sign hadn’t been there? I can almost definitely say no.
We don’t know what someone is going through. We don’t wear signs that illustrate our personal struggles. 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.
Since sharing her initial post this past Christmas season, her message has gone viral. More than two hundred thousand people have shared the photo of the vehicle and the heartwarming sentiment behind it. This means that countless people have seen Hailey’s words and been affected by her warm heart and thoughtful reflection.
For more hopeful messages and inspiring advice, you can check out Hailey’s blog Thoughts, Dots, and Tots and find her on Facebook. In any event, we hope that you keep her wise words with you the next time you take a drive and start reaching for your horn.
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