Our question this week comes from Wonder Woman, who snagged this question from another blog and wondered what I would say.
You're in a store. A sales associate is really nice and helpful to you. When she's done helping you, she begins to have a conversation with a co-worker, and they're talking loudly enough for you to hear it clearly. Your helper is basically saying she'd drive after having a few drinks if she was the only one in the car, because then she'd only be putting herself at risk.
Which is clearly not true.
So do you interrupt?
In a word, absolutely. Positively! This is one time when I'd be really grateful to have such a big mouth and such undeveloped control of it.
Oh, man, this is one of those times when we just need to live outside our own little bubble in life. In fact, my bet would be that the co-worker with whom this stupid (but nice and helpful) sales associate is chatting with is also seeing red flags everywhere as she listens, but just doesn't have the courage to rock the boat.
Well, rock the boat!
It would be easy to interrupt politely: "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear what you just said. Do you really feel that way? Did you forget about the other cars you might hit and the people you would endanger? And do you really value your life so little that you would be willing to gamble it, buzzed and driving?"
Maybe she just never thought about it that way. You know how something can be so obvious, but not until you see it? Maybe she really thought that only her passengers would be risked. The sad fact is that many times in a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver walks away. It's the innocents that don't. Maybe she forgot about them.
We have to live in a world where we care about our brothers and sisters, where we look out for each other the way we'd want others too. Make it personal and think about it that way. What if it was your mother, or your husband, or your child on the road that night that our friendly sales associate was taking her joy ride?
How would you feel if someone you know and love was killed on the road by a drunk driver and later you heard a woman say that she heard that drunk driver talking about how she didn't think it was wrong if she drove after a few drinks as long as no one else was in the car with her? Wouldn't you want to strangle her with the what-ifs of your life? What if she had spoken up? What if you could be that person for someone else, to spare them from unnecessary pain, and even spare that sales clerk from a life of regret and remorse that prison time is not likely to blot from her memory?
Can't we all just risk opening our mouths, even if it might offend, in order to do the right thing? Playing that scenario out in my mind would just leave me no other choice. I wouldn't want to live with the knowledge that I could have changed the course of lives.
And really, what's the worst that could happen? She turns on you and says something rude? Tells you to mind your own business?
Well, somebody was once reminded that mankind is our business. And so it should be.
Question of the Week is the Monday column. If you have a question you'd like me to feature, please leave it in the comments section. Please? I like doing this. And thanks, Wonder Woman!