Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From Hot Bread to a Hot Ticket?!

This morning, I woke up determined to try a new approach in how I communicated with Ecuadorians.  I recently read a few pages about "cultural differences" south of the U.S. border.  When it comes to getting what we want, Americans have a "business" mindset.  Not in the Latin culture... it's all about relationships!

So I put on my walking shoes, grabbed some change from the counter, and took Callie (our dog) out for a morning walk with a plan to stop at the bakery on our way home.  I learned how it is important to say something nice to the baker.  For example, "Wow!  It smells so good in here, the bread looks so delicious!"  By doing this, you make the owner feel like they are important.  So, that's what I did.  I asked if they had any type of bread that had a filling because it looked like they were just about out of everything.  That's when the young man went to the back and brought me 2 hot fresh pieces of bread, straight from the oven.  He wrapped them in a paper bag to keep them warm and I left the store a happy camper.  Little did I know how the same attitude would help me tremendously a few hours later.

We were on our way to a new restaurant with Larry's parents (they came to spend the week with us) when we came upon a very large hill.  Now, in most cases, that wouldn't be a problem.   However, our car does not go up steep hills very well... especially if you have to stop.  There was a policeman there directing traffic and he stopped the cars so we could pass.  So I pushed the gas pedal all the way down... and we didn't budge!  I even tried leaning forward and doing the rocking motion... nothing!  So Larry and his Dad got out of the car to push it (not embarrassing at all :-).  Once they got out, the car slowly began to inch forward and with a little shove we were on our way, only to be stopped by the officer.

Evidently, in the process of going to the part of the hill that wasn't as steep, I entered into the other lane of ongoing traffic, and he was going to write me a ticket.  I tried explaining that my car wouldn't go up on the other part which is why I inched my way over after he stopped the oncoming traffic.  Didn't matter, he was still going to write me a big fat ticket.  So after a few minutes of discussion, I gave up trying to explain and accepted that I was about to get a ticket in which I would later have to go stand in line for hours in order to pay.  That's when I heard Larry's Dad say from the backseat, "Tell him thank you Amanda, for doing his job."  So, as he's writing my ticket, I say, "Officer, I just want to tell you thank you for doing your job.  I know it is a difficult job, and I appreciate all you do to protect us.  I'm sorry that I misunderstood."  He stopped, leaned closer and said, "What did you say?"  So I repeated myself.

He walked away to where his superior officer was standing and after a few moments they both returned, handed me my license and said, "Have a good night.  We're letting you go."  What?!?!  Really?!?!  I thanked him profusely and wondered what he must have told the other officer... probably something like, "She just thanked me for writing her a ticket!"  Either way, the lesson was taught to me again... it wasn't about who was right, it was about appreciating someone for what they do on a daily basis.  The night was saved and we headed up the ridiculously high hill and had a great dinner.

We were reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Out on the balcony at my new favorite restaurant!

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 07, 2011

    What a compliment can do for the giver is as good as for the recipient! How awesome it is to watch a smile come across another's face when you say a kind word - rather than a whine or complaint