If you stop and think about how many people cross your path each day, it’s amazing. Today I find myself taking a morning flight to Denver from Cincinnati. I started out by seeing my family as they each said good bye and then saw me off. I’ll be gone just this week. Not too bad of a trip, but not too good either. I love my family and miss them when I’m traveling. From my car I probably saw a hundred people or so doing their commute to their jobs while I was making my way to the airport while enjoying a beverage and a breakfast bar. While doing the check in at the ticket counter, I probably saw a couple hundred more people. Going through security, it looked like maybe a hundred more. Waiting at the gate there must have been about hundred more yet. And then at my destination, there was the arrival gate, the baggage claim, and the rental car pick up. The number of people that I saw is staggering!
And although it is a smaller set of people, the amount of people that verbally interacted with me is overwhelming too. Ticket agents, baggage handlers, ticket checkers, security scanners, a clueless man at gate that asks me if this is the gate for the LA flight while standing next to the sign that says “departure: Denver”, the airline crew, the talkative man in the seat next to me that I’m trying to ignore, and far more. Added up, this is a very large number of people that spoke with me today.
So why, I ask, why didn’t even one of them tell me that I had a chunk of breakfast bar stuck to my front tooth? I actually had to discover this for myself in my hotel bathroom while washing my hands. Really? How can people not care about me that much?
A possible explanation might be that wanted to perpetuate my embarrassment and torture those around me by choosing to enjoy the knowledge of the placement of granola on my tooth. “Ha ha mister speck of crud on your teeth, I’m so enjoying watching other people try to not look you in the face while they talk to you, that I deliberatiely choose to remain silent”. Could people really be that evil?
I think a more logical answer would be that they didn’t want to embarrass me. So instead, they chose to remain quite and issue a silent little prayer for me. “Dear God, please remove the crap from this stranger’s teeth. I’m tired of looking at it, and he seems like such a nice guy.”
Well God didn’t fix it and I can’t blame Him. He has a lot to take care of in this big world of ours. I image His list of things to do does not look like the following.
1) Give comfort and strength to those who recently lost a loved one.
2) Deal with the constant fighting in the world.
3) Check Marcus’s teeth for bits of his breakfast bar.
So the next time you see someone sporting a chunk of food in their otherwise beaming smile, do them a favor. Tell them! You don’t have to be all in their face about it. Just a simple, “hey you have something in your teeth”. Done. In extending this common courtesy, the countless number of people that I interacted with would not have had to play the “I’m pretending not to see it” game.