I just got off the phone with a man I had hoped to interview for a story. It is a simple home improvement story and he is a local business owner who offers a home improvement product.
In 15 years of reporting, I have never had anyone respond to an interview request like that. The man admitted he was tired, which I can understand, even relate to, but then he proceeded to berate me having called and interested in only how it would benefit his bottom line. He claimed to be in the business of educating people about his product but apparently only if it directly generated sales. Thankfully, he declined the interview and I don’t have to speak to him again (and certainly not buy his product when it comes time to start our summer home improvement project).
I’m surprised at my physical reaction to the experience. My jaw is clenched and my hands are shaking. If I look at this objectively, I can understand this man was tired and probably not in the best mental state to be accepting a call from a reporter. At the same time, that does not give him the right to jump down my throat and then accuse me of being rude. I am deeply offended.
I am not a regular Oprah viewer but I did make time to watch yesterday’s final episode. I felt it was a cultural moment I didn’t want to miss. Some her words, especially today, struck a chord with me. She spoke about how people need to be responsible for the energy they bring into a room.
She’s right. It’s my business if I am in a bad mood but it is not my right to put that mood onto someone else (like poor Little Dude who has to deal with distracted Mummy after that darn phone call). That’s what this man did today. He works in a physically demanding business and he has every right to be tired. He has no right to put that negative energy on me.
I was having a nice day today… it’s time to find a patch of sunshine to regain that mood before I perpetuate this cycle and put that negative energy onto someone else.
Oprah’s right… be responsible for the energy you bring into a space… dont’ be the guy on the phone today.