I was working at a job many years ago. There was always new people starting, so there was nothing out of the ordinary there. One day a new girl started and they put her with me, on my table, there was only space for two and that was opposite me. She was very pretty, silent and just stared at me. It was difficult to know what she was thinking until one day. Heather looked at me and said, “I don't like your sort, I don't like you!” I had a decision to me, I am naturally a hateful person, and back then there were lots of people, of various creed, colour, shape and size who I didn't like! There were only a handful of people I liked in person or on TV. There was a group of people I hated more than any other..... I thought of the younger me, the nasty hateful me, if she'd met me back then it would have been great, for she would just be one more thing for me to hate and before, I liked to hate. I liked to look at people with disgust, and just hate, hate and hate some more. It got to the point one day, watching an MP 's Son who was missing in the desert boy did I hate her! But something happened and I realized my hate couldn't go any deeper, and really I was destroying myself, for the amount of energy I had used up. I decided to turn over a new leaf, it took a lot of prayer and setbacks for the natural me is not nice!
So looking at Heather for a moment her words shocked me, for no one had ever said it that way to me before. It would have been easy to slip back into my old ways, I'm sure many wars in the world have been started like this, so I decided to not respond with hate but to say nothing. So she didn't know what I was thinking and we sat in silence.
Within a month she had upset a lot of people for she was one who spoke her mind. She said it exactly as she meant it to be, from her point of view.
Within 6 months of starting she started an affair with one of the married men who worked there. Talk about chalk and cheese. He was a lot older than her and always smartly dressed. He was a nice man. Usually we get moved around the building for various different work. But Heather and I still stayed on the same table for two, opposite each other. The other workers didn't like her for the affair.
Then one day, cold sores appears all over Heather's mouth and lower face, she looked awful. I have always been fearful of germs or catching anything and over washing my hands in an over the top way, this was not going to help my plight. After a week or so they would go, Mark her lover at work he would drool over her if she had cold sores or not! We all at work, knew they were going out, his Wife who none of us knew or ever saw, she didn't know.
As I said before the cold sores went and then they returned again with vengeance, I'd just finished reading about infectious skin diseases in the Book of Leviticus chapter 14 so I was been extra cautious, when something strange happened Heather offered me a chocolate bar!! I didn't want to touch it but, WHY had she done that? Would you believe it she started to like me, she said I was nice to her!!! For me, seeing past that we are different, and that I was nice to her, in fact in the whole building it was just me & Mark who was nice to her! I took the chocolate bar, I was a huge chocoholic back then and I told her I'd eat it on my way home. As soon as I could I threw it in the bin and scrubbed my hands.
It was coming up to Christmas and the Manager wanted us to work over Monday to Thursday an extra hour so we could finish at noon Friday! There is no way I was doing that! We got paid SO little couldn't we just finish at noon Friday without working the extra hours before. Then to make it even more difficult the Manager said 99% of us in the building would have to agree to work over the extra hour Monday to Thursday. The Supervisor went round the the room asking each person, would they be willing to do it, then they came to me and heather, all eyes were on us we were the last two and it depended on us, if they could all go home breaking up for Christmas Noon or 6pm I said “No way” then everyone looked at Heather and she too with her pretty, smooth like porcelain, cold sore free face said “Never, would she work over” after they hated us both with their stares and whispers, and had carried on doing doing what they were doing before, I smiled at Heather, and for the first time she smiled back at me! We had something in common, we were both stubborn, and strong willed!
On Friday of that week something amazing happened! Heather gave me a Christmas card!!!!!!!! It said on it “To A Very Special Friend” I still have that card. What an achievement, on my part! Kindness turned her around, I had decided to be unconditional, unwavering, slowly we would have a laugh with each other as we worked, but no one else liked her I got to know her and she got to know me, but no one else was willing to do that except me and Mark.
Eventually Marks marriage broke up and they married. I was invited to their wedding, but I chose not to go. Every single year I got a card from Heather at Christmas it always said on it “To A Very Special Friend” and also on my Birthday it said the same. I have kept all of her cards, because for me they are precious as it's one of best things I ever did, and that was turn a racist around. I'm glad I made the effort.
So the next time someone is nasty to you, before you strike back in hate, remember this story and try, you may be able with time to change someone's view of someone who is different to you, sometimes it's just ignorance on their part, I know it was for Heather.