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Why I Love People: The Old Man in the Parking Lot

I received this email from Chelsea. Such beautiful words from a wise old man. Click here to see the email.

I’ve decided to paste the text from these emails instead of the screen shots because people on mobile devices were having a hard time reading them.

Loved this one.

why-i-love-peopleFrom: Chelsea
Subject: Why I Love People – Another Old Man Story

Nature of message:
Response to Blog

Message Body:

Dan,
I read your post about the email you received about the dancing old man, and it reminded me of another story!

Years ago, my mom was walking through a parking lot, on her way to get her hair cut, when she spotted an old man much like the one described in the other story. He was making his way slowly across the parking lot, when a large truck (there are so many of them here in Texas) came speeding through the lot, narrowly missing the man and my mom.

Now, my beautiful single mother, who has worked so hard all of her life, and who is disabled due to multiple chronic health issues, has a soft spot for the elderly. She also believes that if you see someone being mistreated, or witness someone doing the wrong thing, you should stand up for what you believe is right, and say or do something about it.

So, since there was nothing she could do about the reckless driver, she turned to the man and asked him if he was all right. The old man looked at her, smiled, and said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life:

”Honey, sometimes you’ve just got to let people be who they need to be.”

Holy cow.

Could that sweet little old man have been more accurate? Any time I’m in a situation where I think ”what the hell is wrong with him/her?” I think of that old man. That one quote applies to so many situations, and can really release you from the burden of trying to figure out exactly what the hell is wrong with some people.

Lots of love,
Chelsea

Love it. Would love your thoughts on that phrase. “Sometimes you’ve just got to let people be who they need to be.”

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

59 comments
Orangesathome
Orangesathome

Gee, this remind me of when I was 6 months pregnant, had taken 3 steps out of the market door and was run down by an old guy in a caddy going backwards. I remember wishing I had reported him, not for myself but because the next person might not be as lucky as I was to have a husband quick or strong enough to lift them away from danger too.

liahonagirl
liahonagirl

At first glance, I thought this was a nice 'truism' but couldn't really relate it to my own life/situation. After reading some comments, it hit me. I'm struggling right now with wishing my husband would live up to the potential I see in him just a little bit more. I know I can't change him, but I've allowed myself to become frustrated with seeing who he COULD be versus who he chooses to be. I need to let it go and just let him be who he needs to be. I know that will be easier said than done, but I appreciate the reminder! :)

Germaine Wright
Germaine Wright

Thanks for posting Dan...and thanks for sending it Chelsea.

Don Williams
Don Williams

I still want to rage against the morons among us.

Pat Smith Cleveland
Pat Smith Cleveland

No one NEEDS to be an a__hole, they may need to HAVE one but not need to BE one!

Chrystle
Chrystle

This one hit me.  My mom is creeping toward being a senior, and my mother in law is already there.  And after living with my Mom for the past 34 years, I've just come to accept that there are things that I find annoying, or interfering, or too-self-effacing or (insert pet peeve) about my Mom.  My husband is finding this about my Mother and Mother in law, and he's struggling to deal with it.  What this old man said, is an encapsulation of what my attitude toward them has evolved to be.  I can't change them, make them less annoying, etc.  I can only accept that this is the way they are, and that they aren't going to change.  The only choice I have is how I'm going to react to it, whether I'm going to get upset, or let it roll over me like water off a duck's back.  I choose to be a duck.

green5280
green5280

I really like this...good way to remind one self to let the small things go that you can't control :)

Ruth Ann Sampson Yeager
Ruth Ann Sampson Yeager

The person you need to be at the moment is often a stepping stone to help you evolve into the person you're meant to become.

darinsane
darinsane

I use the theory that we all take turns being the "jerk" in the story. Every one of us has had a bad day, made a stupid move in traffic, etc. So this time it was that other person's turn to play the Jerk role (we don't get a say in whether or when we play the role, it just happens.) This turns him back to a person in my mind and stops me from having my day ruined by holding a grudge.

MJ11
MJ11

Definitely need to accept things more often just like that sweet, little old man.  I really take on a lot of stress and worry, and anger, towards 'jerks' that tailgate, cut off pedestrians, vandalize private property, people that are completely rude to strangers, etc.  Sometimes I cry over things that I witness that have absolutely nothing to do with me.  It's hard, I carry it for a long time (my husband says that's why I have so many gray hair at 34 years old haha).  I will try so hard to remember that line.  Thank you to Chelsea for the story, and to Dan for sharing it.

Heather Tackett Patterson
Heather Tackett Patterson

Love this. Sometimes you just have to learn to roll along with life so you don't get rolled over

Lorraine Merrett
Lorraine Merrett

"Sometimes" defined as some of the time, not all the time, that would be "always"!! It's a great story, with a really great example of something that most of us can find helpful. But no, some bright spark has to try & apply it to a really horrible incident, so horrible it has made headlines all over the world, surely that should tell you that this happens rarely in comparison to, oh I don't know, a truck driver carelessly nearly wiping out some pedestrians. Ah but maybe the real point here is in proving that you know best, you are right while the rest of us don't know what we're on about. It's all about control over others isn't it? Sort of like what that guy did to those women isn't it?

moconnor
moconnor

Love it. I will have to remember this...often.

Sherry Steeves
Sherry Steeves

”Honey, sometimes you’ve just got to let people be who they need to be.” It doesn't really work with truly horrible people, though - like the guy who kidnapped those 3 girls and held them for 10 years. Letting those people be who they "needed" to be didn't work out so great for those poor women!

Denise Winters Warner
Denise Winters Warner

How much freedom would we create for ourselves if we learned to live this statement, not only for others, but for ourselves?!

Ginny Wilcox
Ginny Wilcox

Bottom line: we need to remember that we only have control over ourselves, not others.....and then only over ourself on good days!

Jessica Lawrence Lesko
Jessica Lawrence Lesko

The key to the phrase is "sometimes".....cause sometimes you gotta speak up, and sometimes you gotta do what Lori Sage Ashley says! Especially if you like'em!

ellenc
ellenc

That's such a southern thing to say.  A little kinder than "Bless her heart."  If that doesn't make sense, you haven't lived in the south . . . or in Texas. 

Dawn Ryals Carson-Littleton
Dawn Ryals Carson-Littleton

I'll admit this is a good lesson for me. I see so many stupid things happen and spend way too much time wondering "what the hell is wrong with people?" I will make this my mantra and free up space in my head for more positive things.

Warren Skaalrud
Warren Skaalrud

I stopped trying to change people a long time ago and try not to judge... but if that guy parked his truck... I might have a hard time not deflating one of his tires... just to give Karma a helping hand of course.

Lori Sage Ashley
Lori Sage Ashley

And other times, people need the stupid slapped out of them. Oh, is that not the message here? My bad.

Adelina Priddis
Adelina Priddis

That's good! Old people are full of wise things like this. I'll have to remember this one for sure though!

Shannon Björnsson
Shannon Björnsson

You can't change other people, you can only change your heart :)

Trish Craig
Trish Craig

It goes right along with 'Why worry about things you have no control over?' That's what I live by. I will sometimes ponder things, but I'm not going to get an ulcer over things that I cannot change. Why waste my energy?

Marianne Hay
Marianne Hay

Love the story and I think she nailed it on the head! I love "That one quote applies to so many situations, and can really release you from the burden of trying to figure out exactly what the hell is wrong with some people." Awesome! So glad I read this. It's exactly what I needed to hear.

TarynAlyssaDoherty
TarynAlyssaDoherty

Its a hard thing to allow yourself to be okay with the way people are acting when you know they can do better. I'll have to try to remember this next time I'm in a "what the hell is wrong with you" moment! Thanks for the post, I needed it!

Trish
Trish

It's very true. people are going to be who they are going to be. In that particular situation, getting angry at the person in the truck is only going to affect YOUR mood, not the mood or behavior of the person in the truck. What purpose does it serve to allow a stranger to affect your mood? My 15-year-old son mentioned to me in the car the other day "Mom, you never honk your horn in traffic like other people do. Why not?" I responded that the person or problem that is delaying traffic is way ahead of our car, and wouldn't hear my horn anyway. The only people that can hear it aren't any more at fault for the traffic than I am, so what purpose does it serve? 

I can't influence change in other people, I can only change my reaction to them. I choose to not get angry and allow them that power over my emotions.

Sparrowchild
Sparrowchild

Sometimes, maybe, but not when they endanger other people. However, I still think the gist of the words are pretty darn powerful and applicable to many instances.

Gerry Buck
Gerry Buck

He's right. No sense getting all het up over something that will be.

CrissyLance
CrissyLance

I also find that I am a bunch happier when I can just accept that the other person is who they are and move on.  IF you can do something, then by all means do it, but when you can't and you are left there shaking and angry, to hold on to that feeling is only hurting yourself.  I have adopted this when dealing with my ex-husband.  He really just is who he is and there is no changing it.  Holding on to all the resentment and anger after ever time I deal with him was only making me feel like crap, didn't affect him one bit.  My ex is like the truck narrowly missing me every time.  Luckily, I'm on a different road now so he doesn't drive my way very often.

April Huck
April Huck

The internet might cease to exist if we lived by this. ;-)

steph
steph

That's right up there with "Be Kind - as everyone you meeting is fighting their own battle"  And to keeping in mind that you don't know what is going on in their life... the driver may be an ass who just doesn't care or he may have just gotten word his wife had gone into labor with their first baby, or his mother had fallen down the stairs, or any number of things that might have distracted him in his hurry to get somewhere else that was very important to him.  I have found that letting go of being angry or upset over that which I cannot control (the driver's behavior) and focusing on what I can - my reactions - and the other person affected, has brought me more peace of mind and spirit.   It's not turning your head away, or dismissing bad behavior - it's not letting it destroy your peace.  And you just say a little prayer that whatever the reason the driver felt the need to rush off so, he gets where he is going without hurting anyone.

Autumn Michelle
Autumn Michelle

tolerance. that IS one of the most difficult lessons. i know that i am still learning every day!! thank you for sharing!!

Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

I agree to an extent, but when that "person" is speeding around in a 2 ton death machine, an inconsiderate asshole in a hurry to get nowhere is NOT who he needs to be.

AngieGee
AngieGee

@ellenc Which is pretty much like saying, "Well, he's a dumbass, but there's nothing we can do about it." ;-)

ellenc
ellenc

@AngieGee @ellenc Well, yes.  It just sounds so much nicer, and actually, coming out, it feels nicer to say, too ... it kind of dissipates that anger and makes you smile a little bit. Healthier for the heart, y'know?


SueCraneBryan
SueCraneBryan

@AngieGee @ellenc I need to say this one..those drivers are my pet peeve and I swear they all live in my town! Thanks for a new way of looking at it..

AngieGee
AngieGee

@ellenc Agreed. :) Years ago I got into the habit of saying things like, "God bless you sir for being so careful in your driving that you're doing 15 miles under the speed limit." It sounds comical, but I found I couldn't hold on to that frustration if I was actually saying God bless you at the beginning of the sentence. Dissipates the anger as you mention.