It’s a warm, summers evening and after catching up with an old friend who happened to be in London, I’m at Victoria station looking for a seat on a commuter train home. Walking along the platform, I can see through the windows that people are taking their seats in the various carriages; chatting away or getting comfortable and soon the train is getting surprisingly busy. I pick what I believe to be the emptiest carriage and board the train. No luck – the compartment is almost full and in fact the only free seat is currently occupied by the feet of a young lady sitting opposite. “Excuse me” I ask, “would you mind moving your feet?”
After a theatrical sigh she takes her feet off the seat and I sit down. Almost immediately another woman sitting next to her starts berating the young lady saying “He shouldn’t have to ask you to move your feet – you shouldn’t have had your feet on the seat in the first place!”. The atmosphere is getting decidedly tense now….
Wanting no part of this confrontation I use a discarded newspaper as a makeshift barrier and attempt to blend into the background, trying to sink as low into my seat as possible. Luckily there is no response to this remark and it is not long before my stop arrives. I walk towards the doors and as I am waiting for them to open I am vaguely aware of a presence behind me. The doors open, I step out of the train and suddenly feel a sharp pain down the side of my face. I jerk my head away and my glasses go flying onto the platform and now I can’t see but I sense someone push past and move swiftly out of the train.
Not knowing what has happened I touch the side of my face and to my surprise see a dark red stain on my fingers. Someone on the platform hands me my glasses and points to the rapidly disappearing figure of the young woman moving up the platform. What has happened is that she has crept up behind me and raked two lines down the side of my face with her fingernail, drawing blood and leaving marks that will not fade for at least two weeks.
I am incensed; gathering myself together I run off after her, simultaneously looking around for a police officer but it is too late – she has vanished into the crowd. The rest of my journey home is spent in a kind of impotent fury, too angry to think rationally yet not able to do anything about it.
That is until I open the front door and to my surprise see my two-year old son run up the hallway towards me. He suddenly stops as he sees my face and pointing at the marks says “Daddy’s got a scratch on his face – shall I kiss it better?”. My anger disappears instantly and it’s actually hard not to laugh as a pick up my son and take him through to the kitchen to tell my wife what has happened.
Whatever that young lady is going home to I don’t imagine she will walk into a home where she will be instantly surrounded by people who care about her. Perhaps out of the two of us I am the lucky one.
Dale Carnegie said “count your blessings – not your troubles”, even when we are unjustly harmed by others. It certainly leads to a more peaceful life!
For more tips from Dale Carnegie download Secrets of Success