I Got Yelled At By A Lady At Dunkin Donuts

Yup. I got yelled at by a lady at Dunkin Donuts. Let’s start from the beginning.

Time: 7:30 AM

Location: Baltimore

I was sitting at my desk, out of breath because I had just rushed to work because I slept in too late (I pressed the alarm one too many times). As I caught my breath from running up the stairs in order to be on time, I realized that my rushing to work caused me to skip out on breakfast, and I was starving. I looked in the cabinet under my desk and all I saw was flavorless oatmeal- they say it’s healthy. But I was not in the mood for anything healthy. Some of you have been there before.


Even though I work in downtown Baltimore there aren’t many good breakfast spots, except the Dunkin Donuts across the street. Immediately my mind is filled with visions of egg and cheese on a toasted croissant. So I braved the cold and cloudy morning  and walked across the street to Dunkin Donuts. As I was crossing the threshold of the door, another lady was heading out simultaneously. She walked through the door first and held the door for me. By this time she’s literally 1 ft away from me so my main thought was “don’t bump into this lady, Vlad”. As I got past her, I began turning my head around to say “thank you”. That’s when it happened. Before I could even form the words out of my mouth, in the most irritated , shady and nastiest way possible she yelled “YOU’RE WELCOME!” before storming off angrily.

I had a mix of emotions as you can imagine.

I was confused about why she was so mad. I was angry cause she made such a big spectacle about it.  I was backtracking my steps to see if and how I could have said “thank you” quicker.

Yes. I should have said thank you. But the whole situation made me think, would she have opened the door for me if she had known beforehand that she would not have received a thank you? If she had a vision into the future and could see that this boy was gonna walk right past her would she have still opened the door?

The reality is that I, and I suspect you as well, have the habit of doing things for others in expectation that they will reciprocate some type of appreciation. “Hey, I did you a favor. You owe me a thank you, a compliment, a gesture.”

Some of us have done things for others that pale in comparison to holding a door. But yet the person we went out of our way for doesn’t seem appreciative or grateful for our time and effort.

As I thought about what happened with the Dunkin Donuts lady, this idea formed in my mind:

Don’t open the door for someone, if you’re going to be mad they didn’t say thank you.

We can even make that idea broader and say “Don’t do anything nice for someone if you’re going to be mad if they don’t acknowledge and appreciate you”.

I tried this for a couple weeks and I realized that I had my priorities backward. My seemingly nice gestures, my favors for individuals were really done because I wanted to feel appreciated. Sometimes it was because I wanted to feel needed by someone. Other times it was because I simply didn’t want to let the other person down. What would they think of me if I didn’t come through this time?

It’s a great feeling to be appreciated, spoken well of, and praised by others. But let’s not be slaves to the compliments of others. Oftentimes we do things so that another person can compliment us and pat us on our backs. Some of us are caught in this web of doing favors in order to be seen and valued by other people. When you live your life like this you set yourself up for unmet expectations, frustration, and mental and emotional burnt out. This people pleasing, approval addiction lifestyle is unsustainable.

If you live off a man’s compliments, you’ll die from his criticism.


So the next time you’re asked to do a favor for someone or you’re getting ready to go out of your way for someone, ask yourself a couple questions:

“Would I still do this if I knew {fill in the blank} would never thank me?”

“Am I doing this out of the kindness of my heart or am I doing this because I want something in return?”

Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying this out. In my workplace I’ve done things for my coworkers without the expectation that they’ll compliment or even notice. My motivation wasn’t their approval or compliments, but it was to serve them or the company.

In my relationships I’ve been doing favors not because I want to feel needed but because I cared about the well being of the other individual.

And you know what this new perspective has done for me? It’s released me to do the right thing because it’s the right thing. And it feels good.
So this week, try doing something for someone else and not expecting anything back in return. If they give you a compliment or say “thank you”, consider it a bonus. But that wasn’t the reason you did it in the first place. You did the right thing because it was the right thing.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this!

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