My daily routine has me driving my daughter to school. When I get to her school, I find a parking spot and then proceed to walk her into the school, and to the locker. Not many parents do this, but she insists, and I am all about making sure she is happy and comfortable.
A few weeks ago, another parent pulled up and parked in the unloading zone in front of the school. The area has specific times that parking is not permitted. The signs in the area are clear.
The parent proceeded to unload her daughters, only to have the school secretary come out and tell her she is not permitted to park in the unloading zone.
An argument ensued with the parent clearly irritated that by being called out, and claiming that other people do the same.
This school, I might add is an elementary school, and having a car in the unloading zone creates blind spots for children walking into the school. Not only that, but cars parked in this area create obstacles for other parents to navigate their vehicles around.
But, in her defense, what she did, is something I would have done just a few years before. So keep in mind, I am not judging her, but pointing out the situation.
So, we have the parent and the secretary arguing. When, as I am walking by, I hear the school secretary use me as an example.
The school employee states, “Be like other parents, he parked over there and is walking his daughter into the school, why can you do the same?”
I said nothing, instead choosing to mind my own business. And as I entered the school, I realized that what I did wasn't right. Here is a perfect opportunity to show grace, and help two people who are struggling to communicate, but I let the opportunity go.
I could have helped the situation by admitting I would have done the same a few years ago. Then, I could have said, “I'm sure it's embarrassing to get called out, and you mean no harm.” I didn't do that.
Fortunately, I ran into the school secretary yesterday, during spring break. I commented on the incident, explaining to her that I would have done the same a few years ago. I also told her that I thought this parent's reaction is one of embarrassment for being called out.
It turns out, the mother called the school secretary later, after the incident and said what I thought. She was embarrassed for getting called out, was having a bad day, and apologized for her behavior.
Hopefully next time I won't just walk by minding my own business. But, if that happens, there is always the opportunity to address it later. Hopefully, just sharing will help everyone feel a little bit better about the situation, and give me peace of mind, being a better neighbor to those who are in my community.