Bonnie Bing

Sometimes you see less than best in others

But even we optimists have days when we shake our heads while muttering, "Good grief."

Two weeks ago I had one of those days.

The day started out great with a meeting at the coffee shop at the Dillons store at Central and Rock Road. (I call it the Gucci Dillons.)

It was a gorgeous morning so my group held the meeting outside with a lovely view of the parking lot.

Suddenly, a woman in a full-sized sedan honked at a man driving a compact; she apparently was not pleased that he had taken the parking place she had picked out.

After honking, yelling and staring at him, she finally parked on the next row, which meant she was about 12 steps farther away from the grocery store entrance.

Mr. Compact Car, who looked to be about 90 years old, got out of his car slowly and shuffled to the door while Ms. Sedan, who was probably 75 or so, walked with purpose. Were we about to see a smack-down with the hot-under-the-collar woman and the parking space bandit?

Upset over a parking place? What a waste of time. Yes, it's irritating when someone slides into a space you had your eye on, but in the big picture, 12 steps aren't that many. And that woman looked like she could handle those steps a whole lot easier than the man.

That afternoon I went to see my mom and when I came out of the retirement home I discovered someone had backed their vehicle into my car, putting a big fat dent in the front of it.

No note, no apology, no nothing. I wondered if Ms. Sedan had followed me.

I decided I needed a drink so I went to QuikTrip to get the biggest peach iced tea I could buy. There I watched a woman help a child of about 6 (her daughter, I assumed) get a fountain drink. The girl chose a blue drink. Her mom filled a big cup, but when the girl tasted it, she didn't like it, so the woman set it aside and let her choose again. This time she selected a bright pink drink. Nope, she didn't like it either, so the woman dumped it out. Third choice was 7-Up. The child decided it was all right.

So after the mom drank half of her Coke and refilled it, she paid for two drinks at the cash register — even though, to my mind, she owed for four.

I'm not the beverage cop for QuikTrip, but what kind of an example does that set for a child? In my family if you chose the blue drink, you paid for it, and you drank it.

People, people.

But as usual, the good outweighed the bad. That evening I helped serve food at Street Outreach, a program for at-risk kids. The kids were so appreciative and after thank-yous and hugs, my optimism returned full force.