Sometimes people surprise you.
I was at the post office today to send a few packages registered mail, which meant I had to stand in line rather than doing everything at the USPS website. There were about six people in line when I got there, and for every person who completed his/her transaction, another person joined the queue, so the line remained about six people long. There were only two windows open, since it was lunch time, and that meant that the progress was a bit slow.
I worked my way to the front of the line just as an elderly woman with obvious health problems came in. She moved laboriously with a cane, and she had a nasal cannula and an oxygen tank that led me to believe that she must have emphysema as well. Almost immediately after I saw her, the clerk called for the next customer. I walked back to her and said, "Ma'am, would you like to exchange places with me?" She looked surprised and grateful as she made her way towards te window.
"Hey, I've been waiting in line, too!" One apparently fit mid-20's man said.
"No problem--I'm not moving her up in line, I'm exchanging places with her. Your place in line is exactly the same as it was," I said as I moved to the last place in line. The guy still looked irritated, but he couldn't argue with the fact that he was still fourth in line.
And then, less than a minute later, the woman who was next in line stepped out of line and walked behind me, taking a place in line immediately after me, just as she had been before I exchanged places with the elderly woman.
A few seconds later, the second person in line did the same thing. Then the third. Now the man who had complained was first in line. Then the man behind him did the same thing. Now, rather than being the sixth person in line, I was the second, immediately after the man who had complained.
No one said a word about it. But everyone seemed to have a little bit more of a smile than they had prior to the arrival of the elderly woman. Everyone except for one man, that is...