I was in France recently and needed to take a bus From Nantes city centre to the airport.
As I queued to buy my ticket from the driver before boarding, a chap eased past with a cup of coffee in one hand and waving a ticket with the other. But, as he passed into the bus proper, the driver called him back and began berating him. My French is none too good but I gathered that he didn’t want to risk having coffee spilt over his other passengers.
With much Gallic shrugging and muttering, the man got off the bus again. I paid for my ticket, went in and took my seat.
Then Mr Coffee returned – with his now empty cup of coffee. He sat at the seat nearest the driver and the two of them spent the entire journey bickering.
The driver must have signalled ahead because, as Mr Coffee stepped down from the bus he was surrounded by two, maybe three, security men.
I did not wait to see what transpired but clearly the situation had escalated to Mr Coffee’s disadvantage.
As I went to check in, I thought, “Why?” Even without the intervention of the security men, was the argument worth having? The driver didn’t want coffee on his bus. Fair enough; get off, drink up and get back on. But to prolong the dispute? Who benefits? At what emotional cost?
A lot of health problems in this world seem to be stress-related. And going out of your way to have the last word, to prove a point, to assert yourself can be very stressful. At the end of the day, does it really matter whose right of way it was? Let it be!
Next time confrontation looms, pause and ask yourself, “Is it worth it, or should I just relax and let it be?