This is probably a lesson on "not judging books by their covers."
Yesterday afternoon, I was practicing piano when I heard a loud "bang." At first I thought, Oh, the UPS guy is here and the sliding door on his truck just banged shut. So I looked out to see if it was a package for me (I have something on its way to me from Amazon).
And I saw my mailbox.
Lying on my front lawn.
It had been ripped from the post.
And immediately, I thought, "Oh, man, AGAIN? I'm going to have to go and deal with a vandalized mailbox AGAIN and someone even did it in broad daylight?"
So I went out, grumbling to myself, to see what the damage was. I noticed a small yellow car parked in front of my neighbor's house but didn't think much of it - they have a couple adult kids who often come and visit, and I never notice what the kids' cars are.
But then, I realized - the guy who hit the mailbox was the driver of the car. He got out and came over.
Now, he could have just peeled out and driven off and left me standing there, but he didn't. So I shut up and told myself not to berate him for hitting my mailbox.
The guy and his friend were kind of scruffy looking - not *criminally* scruffy or anything, just, that kind of unkempt postadolescent guy look that some men affect when they're in their 20s and are not yet convinced they want to fully join the adult world.One guy had those artfully torn jeans (for which you pay a premium to get pre-distressed) and a heavy-metal band t-shirt, the other one had lots of tattoos on his arms. In other words, not the type of people I normally hang out with.
But the one guy walked up to me. "Oh, ma'am. Oh, I'm sorry. I hit that pothole [there is a pothole right near my drive, and it's got worse lately, I should call the city and see if they can come and at least cold-patch it] and I was startled and lost control for a moment. Is the mailbox ruined?"
I looked at it. I groaned - because I was still kind of distressed - "I don't really have time to deal with this right now."
His buddy came over and looked at it: "Wait - can't we just take the baseplate off, and reattach it to the pole, and then put the box back on? It looks like that should work. I think my battery powered drill is still in the car...."
So he ran back to the car, and I went and got a screwdriver to take the box off the (wooden) baseplate. And yup, as it turned out, by repositioning the baseplate slightly (so new holes would be made in the heavy plastic post), they would be able to fix it.
"Do you want us to help you fix it?"
I was, I admit, a little surprised: in my experience, most people would be LONG gone, very likely gone without even an apology. So I kind of blinked and said, yes, if they had time.
It took them all of five minutes. My mood seriously improved as they worked on it. It wasn't so much the mailbox - mailboxes are relatively cheap and I could afford to get a new one if I had to - it would have been the being left to my own devices to fix the mailbox that would have gotten to me - it was after 4:30, I had put my car away for the day, if I had had to fix the box myself I would have had to either have driven out to Lowe's, or effected some kind of short-term unsatisfactory repair by ducttaping the box to the post, or just figuring I could go a few days without mail delivery until such time as I could get a real handyman out to put in a better post and box set up.
But here the guys were, fixing it for me. And they did a good job. And the box was fine after they reattached it.
I thanked them for their help and said I hoped they hadn't damaged their car. The driver laughed and said no, it had just scared them. So they got in the car and I waved as they drove off.
And I know, that comes across like one of those sentimental "Foundation for a Better Life" PSAs, but it really happened. And it reminded me again of my resolution to continue to strive to treat people with better grace than I might be tempted to: I could have chewed the guys out. I could have rolled my eyes at them and stomped back in my house, especially based on how they were dressed and my preconceived notions of how I expect someone dressed like that to act. But instead I listened to them - and because behavior always trumps appearance for me, the moment the guy called me "ma'am" and apologized, my attitude softened, and I was willing to allow them to help me.
And I felt so much better about the incident for having the help. (And who knows? I bet the guys felt better about being able to fix what they had messed up, even if it wasn't really their fault they messed it up. One of my friends reminds me to accept help when it's offered, instead of always being the Big Tough Cowgirl and doing it all myself, because sometimes it is a blessing to the person offering the help to be able to give it, just as it is a blessing to the person accepting the help).
So, I don't know who the guys were - didn't get their names. But somewhere in their upbringing someone did something right; they were polite and they did the right thing. They may have looked like overgrown teenaged boys, but they acted like men.