This afternoon I was out and about running errands. At one store there was a teenage boy looking all “bad-ass” with his thick chains, his pants hanging low, his cap on sideways, and walking with all the swagger a teenage boy can muster. Meanwhile, a little boy was sitting in the middle of the aisle quietly crying because he was lost and couldn’t find his mommy. This teenage boy (who I will full on admit, I rolled my eyes at when I first saw him), sat down on the floor and asked the little boy if he could help him find his mommy. The little boys eyes lit up and he said, “YOU would help me?” The teenager assured him he would help.
The teenager asked the little boy some questions about what his mom looked like, where he remembered seeing her, what her name was, and so forth. When the teenager was done asking questions, he got up, took the little boy’s hand and off they went to find the mother (who by the way was incredibly grateful)!
As much as I like to think I don’t pass judgement, I did. I thought this teenager was just another punk. And instead, he was a kind young man willing take time out of his day to help a little boy who was lost.
Just a few moments later there were two teenage boys looking like they had just come from church and they were acting like fools. They were making fun of people, they were knocking items off shelves, and people were avoiding walking down any aisle they were in for fear of being verbally attacked. They were eventually asked to leave the store by two security officers.
As we go about our days, it is sometimes difficult to completely avoid making assumptions or judging people in the split seconds we may be exposed to them. The events that happened today while I was simply out running errands was a good reminder that first impressions can sometimes be wrong.
We don’t know where our first impressions come from
or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always
appreciate their fragility.