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Having a Bad Day? Before you say yes, think again......

February 06, 2013

This month could not have started on a better day; on a Friday. I woke up on this day feeling so elated and ready to face the day as well as the shortest month in the calendar. Thank God It's February! Welcome to February, also known as the month of love. The month I celebrate my birthday...(Read my birthday post here

What I did not know is that this day would prove to be the one day I would be tried and tested to the maximum. At the end of it all I concluded that people had either taken an extra dose of stupid that day or a memo with instructions to frustrate me had been sent out. Whatever the case, I was just glad I did not own a gun.

It all started when I found a missed call on my phone from a number I didn't know. I called back and from his accent, the person who picked up the call must have been from Indian decent. I explained to him that I was returning his call since I had found a missed call from his number. Of course I asked to know whom I was talking to and what I could do for him. The next words I heard from this guy made me reel in surprise. In a thick Indian accent accentuated by the fact that he was screaming, he responded: *insert indian accent here* "why you call me and ask me who I am? Are you going to ask me whether I'm married and how many times I go to the toilet too?" Wow! In my head I was like, what?!? Why is this dude venting on me? Well, that was my first caller of the day and though I am not superstitious I really hoped he had not set the pace for the day.

Fortunately there were no more dramatic callers, at least not on phone anyway - until much later when I received a forwarded email from one of my colleagues, about a client who was behaving badly. In short, my colleague had sent this client an email reminder about some outstanding balance she still owed us. Some time last year, this client had commissioned us to revamp her brand after she saw our portfolio. To cut a long story short, she made the initial down-payment but started playing "hide-and-seek" after we gave her the completed brand in a CD. So my colleague was following up on this when he got a screenful (earful) of what I call hate speech. I didn't believe the words I was seeing on my screen and considering I personally know the woman, it came as a surprise to me (or maybe not) that she could make such a switch. That email sounded like it had been written by the devil's twin sister. Anyway.....

By the time I was getting that email I was on the road going to visit some clients. Unfortunately, the roads in Dar were jammed, especially since it had rained heavily that morning. As a result, some of my meetings were delayed while others were canceled, and for some places I was meant to go, I was too late. One such place was at a certain bank, where I arrived five minutes after the doors closed. Well, I don't blame the guard but I felt he was a little too harsh in his approach towards me, something that obviously did not go down too well with me.

As we were arguing, a certain lady saw us and decided to find out what the tension was all about. Looking at her, she didn't come across as a total stranger to me, but then I could not remember where I had ever seen her. Anyway, I brushed her off as one of those people with familiar faces. When she reached the door, before the guard told her anything, she instructed him to open the door for me saying she had been expecting me. Of course I was surprised because not only didn't I know who she was but I had no appointment with her or anyone in the bank for that matter. My surprise turned into shock when she called me by my name; not one, but both names. Eish! Could my day get any creepier than this?

Then she reminded me how about six years ago we met in a certain hospital here in Dar Es Salaam and I helped her get home after she had finished all her money at the hospital. I was so shocked that this woman remembered my face having seen me only once, and it was at 11pm in the night! I could not even remember her name and I had not spoken to her since that night six years ago, but she remembered not only my face but also my name (though I can bet you I've changed like six times since then). That to me really touched my heart and challenged me.

Thinking about that incident as I drove back to the office I could only think of one thing; what goes around really does come around. This woman came to my rescue on Friday just because I had rescued her when she really needed help. She was a total stranger then, six years ago, when I helped her, but she never forgot that simple deed I extended to her. I wonder what would have happened at the bank on Friday had I not done what I did six years ago. Would she have opened the door for me or would she have ignored me as just another "Mswahili" - meaning an African with no sense of time? I guess I will never know.

No wonder the good book encourages people to always do good without expecting anything in return. What this incident taught me is that every time you do something for someone without expecting any reward in return, it's an investment you are making. One day, when you least expect it, that investment will mature with benefits. Besides, did you not know that when you help others you help yourself in the process?

Anyway, back to my story, strange and irritating things still continued happening to me thereafter, all the way until I almost got home. I however chose to ignore them all and focus on the one good incident that had touched me deeply. As I reflected on all that had happened during the day, I realized how easy it is to forget all the positives in our lives, just because our lives seem to have more negatives than positives. A lot of times we focus on the negatives and forget the unseen or even seen positive things that happen to us. Life is like a rose flower; yes it may have thorns but besides the thorns, it has the buds that then bloom into a beautiful scented flower. Question is, do you choose to see this as the rose having thorns, or the thorns having roses? 

In conclusion remember this; that regardless of how bad things may seem there’s always something positive to be thankful for. Secondly, never tire of being kind because you never know when your kindness may translate into a lifesaving act to you. Should you decide to be unkind, the same yardstick will still apply. Like Justin Timberlake sang, “what goes around comes around”. Just make sure whatever you send out is worth receiving when it does come back to you.

Purpose to spread positivity by performing a random act of kindness to someone different every day. Cultivate that desire that makes you want to do good things even if you are not getting anything in return, any you will never regret.

Wishing you all kindness throughout the week.

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 3rd of February, 2013, under my weekly column"Thoughts in Words"

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