Please Note: This post is not about project management.
There are a few things that I loathe in life and one of them is to stop and put gas in my car. It’s trivial. I know. It only takes me four minutes, but I’m impatient and I like to go from point A to point B without stopping. On my way to work a few weeks ago, I was sitting at a red light. I looked over at the corner gas station and noticed that there was a man sitting in a wheelchair putting gas in his minivan. Of course it gave me pause. I thought about him the rest of the way to work. How does he get from his vehicle to the chair? What a pain – how long must it take him to get gas? I bet he is grumpier than I am when he has to stop and get gas.
A week later, at the same intersection, I stopped to get gas (yes the gas warning light was on). We were having a cold snap and the last thing I wanted to do was to stop, get out in the cold, and put gas in my car. I pulled alongside the pump and looked up. In front of me, putting gas in his minivan, was the man in the wheelchair. I tried not to stare. I nodded at him as I got out of my car.
“It got cold fast didn’t it,” he said with a friendly smile. I felt my bad mood dissolve a bit in light of his cheer.
“Yes it did.”
I pushed the button for 87 octane, and then watched as he finished up and screwed on the gas cap.
He turned back to me and waved and said, “Have a good day.”
“You too,” I said not feeling grumpy anymore.
I studied the gallons as they ticked by, and tried not to stare as he pulled himself into the driver’s seat, leaned over and folded up the wheelchair and wheeled it backward to the side door. I looked away and when I looked back the wheelchair was in the minivan and the side door was sliding to a close. It probably took him about eight minutes to get gas.
Of course it gave me a pause and I thought about him all the way to work.