He who laughs last laughs best
Leslie, assistant manager for a restaurant chain in Yakima, Washington, told Session 2B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"During high school in the late 1980's, I was quite the class clown. I loved getting a rise out of people, especially teachers. My chemistry teacher during junior year was a very calm gentleman. He never let me get to him, and never showed his frustration with my antics. On November 22nd, the day before Thanksgiving break, I decided I was going to give my chemistry teacher all I had, pull out all the stops. I spent the entire class finishing his sentences with funny one-liners and making jokes. Everyone was laughing and not much chemistry was happening. Finally with only minutes left in class, my teacher had had enough. He stood up with a red angry face and yelled, 'Ms. Brown, one of these days you will get yours. Now be quiet or leave!!' I was ecstatic. I finally did it, I got to him, and I got a reaction when no one else could. I was going to be a legend. People would talk about me for years. I couldn't have done any better. For the rest of the day, I was the talk of the school. I was getting high fives and 'way to go's.' It was amazing!
"As school let out, the entire student body gathered in the parking lot to say our goodbyes. I climbed into my very first car, a bright green Datsun 210 station wagon. I was so proud of that car. I loved my little Kermit car. I had bought it with my own money and people knew it was me, even from blocks away. I grew up in Wyoming, and in Wyoming at Thanksgiving, it snows, usually one or two feet of snow. This year was no exception. As I was leaving the school parking lot, my car skidded on some ice and I ran into a Jeep. Not just any Jeep, but a big, burly 4 X 4 mudding-type of Jeep. I was mad, really mad. I got out of my Kermit and noticed everybody around was laughing, not the laughs I was used to
getting, that's for sure. I walked around the front of my car whereantifreeze was turning all of the snow green. The Jeep was hardly scratched. Who was getting out of his Jeep but Mr. Chemistry Teacher himself. He uttered six words that I will never forget. I can hear him now - 'That was sooner than I expected.' He got in his Jeep and drove away, and boy, did I have egg on my face!
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that we all live in a world of cause and effect. When I act out in unacceptable ways to hurt others, it will come back to eventually hurt me 'sometimes sooner than expected.' The action I call you to take is be very respectful in the way you treat others. Make it your practice to be respectful and supportive. The benefit you will gain is the support you want and need, and it may be sooner than you expected."
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