“I never knew the most impactful apology I would give would be to a complete stranger, but it happened last night.
Stone, my 10-year-old son, got hit in the face playing dodge ball, and it bent up his glasses a little bit. We purchased his glasses at Target, so after his trombone lesson on Tuesday night, we stopped by the Target in North Charleston. We walked the entire store looking for the optical department and found out they don’t have one in that store. Oh well, we had a fun time being goofy trying to find it.
Last night, Stone had a haircut in Mt. Pleasant. When we got done, we drove about 5 minutes down the road to the Target where we purchased his glasses. We walked into the store, and I started telling the young lady Stone needed his glasses adjusted and tightened up.
She said, ‘I just have to be honest. I haven’t been trained on how to use the heat machine yet, and I’m the only one here.’
I was noticeably annoyed and said, ‘So, we just drove all the way here to not get helped?’
She said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t want to mess up his glasses doing it incorrectly.’
I said, ‘Well, alright,’ gave the ‘whatever’ smile, spun around, and then said ‘Uggghh’ loudly enough for her to hear as we walked away.
Stone said, ‘Mommy, it’s not her fault she doesn’t know how to do it yet.’
I said, ‘Yeah, well it’s still really frustrating. The store manager needs to make sure all employees are fully trained before being left alone in the store.’
I got into the car and did another, ‘Uggghh.’
Stone said, ‘It’s really not that big of a deal. We can just come back tomorrow.’
I was still pouting, and we started driving home. I turned up the radio, and Stone started playing on his iPad. About halfway there, I started thinking about how I mishandled the situation in the store. I picked up my phone and called Target Optical. The same young lady answered the phone, and I said, ‘My son and I left about 10 minutes ago. Were you the one talking to us?’
Understandably, she hesitantly said, ‘Yes.’
I replied, ‘First of all, I want to apologize for how I handled things. I was not polite to you, and it is not your fault you haven’t been fully trained yet. Secondly, in full disclosure, we actually had other things to do in the area… so we didn’t JUST drive all the way there for the glasses.’
She was very sweet and accepted my apology. She even apologized on behalf of the store for not being prepared to help all customers. I then asked if there would be someone there the next evening, and she said her manager would be there to help us. I apologized once more for taking my overall frustration out on her and told her to have a nice evening.
As soon as I hung up the phone, Stone said, ‘Mommy, you did the right thing. I’m so glad you called to apologize to her, because then she knows you aren’t mad at her.’
Immediately, my heart melted, and I said, ‘Thank you, buddy. We all get frustrated at times and may not handle things appropriately. This was a time for me, and I needed to apologize for my behavior.’
About that time, we pulled into the driveway. As we were walking up to the house, he wrapped his arms around my waist, and he said, ‘That’s the kind of mommy I want. You are exactly what I would choose… a mommy who is nice to people but will apologize if you’re not nice. You always tell me to be kind and use my manners, and I learn from you.’
I gave him a tight squeeze and said, ‘It’s okay to get frustrated. Everyone does sometimes. However, it’s not okay to take your frustration out on someone who has no control over the situation.’
He smiled and said, ‘I love you SOOO much,’ and we walked into the house. I had a smile on my face, held my head a little higher, and had an extra pep in my step after my sweet conversation with my son.
That will stick with me FOREVER. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, and I want Stone to see that. What’s important is how I handle situations when I make a mistake. I think last night will be a memory that will stick with Stone, too. Thank goodness my heart told me to reach out to that sweet girl at the store to apologize, because it made all the difference in the world in how Stone views me.
Mommas and daddies, let this be a reminder to everyone. Those little eyes are watching you, and those little ears are listening to you. They are learning how to handle life from you. Choose your words and actions wisely, and when you don’t, own up to your mistakes and apologize from your heart.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather Sweatman. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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