Where Are You Travelling To?
The car engine spluttered and came to a halt. The father tried to start it again. He tried a couple of times. With no luck. “I think we have run out of petrol”, said the mother. Luckily, they had stopped in a country town and were 500 metres away from a petrol station.
The father and son walked the short distance to the petrol station. They bought a 5 litre jerry can and filled it with petrol. They were attracting some attention as they returned to the car. As you do when you are seen walking down the main street of a small country town carrying a jerry can. Especially when you are from “out of town”.
One of the local residents approached them as they were pouring petrol from the jerry can. “I was going to offer you some help but it looks like you have it all under control.” It was a nice gesture from the elderly resident.
They managed to get enough petrol into the car to get it started and back to the petrol station. Where they filled up. But there was one final hurdle. They did not want to take the jerry can with them. They still had approximately 5 hours of travelling time ahead of them. They were in a rented car and they did not want to return it full of the smell of petrol.
The father asked the petrol station attendant where they could take the jerry can. “There won’t be many options available to you as it is Saturday afternoon. Everyone has already closed down for Christmas.” Marion (the petrol station attendant) could see that the father was a little distressed.
She wanted to understand why. So she asked him a question. “Where are you travelling to?” The father explained their situation. Marion realised that they could not take the can with them.
She paused for a moment. Then offered them a suggestion. “You could fill up the jerry can and leave it outside with a note on it. It could be a little Christmas gift for someone who stops by”. The father like that idea. You never know who might need it he thought.
He filled up the jerry can. And returned inside to pay for the fuel. “I’ll put a note on it for you” said Marion. “And I’ll give you a discount because you are doing such a nice thing.”
The father smiled, and replied, “We are both doing a nice thing. Merry Christmas Marion.”
It helps when you start with empathy.
Image by Broesis