He didn’t need to speak. All he had to do was stand there.
The blood drained from the man’s face. Those around him stole glances or exchanged curious looks. The crowd might have been oblivious, but the guy knew exactly what was about to happen … and it would be so satisfying.
Matt stood in the middle of the packed crowd, feeling more like a canned sardine than a human.
Still, the subway was the fastest way to work. It was also an entertaining way to people-watch. The chime sounded and the doors slid open again. A new passenger entered, taking up far more space than he should have.
He clearly wasn’t a morning person. The sleepy-looking man gripped his coffee and bumped into everyone as he boarded and didn’t bother apologizing.
When a seat finally opened, he sprinted for it and ignored the old woman that clearly needed it more. Matt felt a spike of annoyance and opened his mouth.
He was about to comment when a new batch of commuters filed into the subway car.
A bulky man in a nice suit stormed on. Those that came on after him seemed to offend the guy – as if extra people shouldn’t be allowed near him. Matt decided this new person was the one to keep an eye on.
It was a plethora of palpable body language – loud “tsks”, rolling eyes, huffing, and annoyed sighs.
But as the travelers came and went, and the human Tetris game continued, Matt found himself immediately in front of the guy. There were only a few more stops to go. He wondered how bad this was going to get.
As each moment passed, the man’s patients wore away.
The sounds grew louder and the “subtle” movements changed into unabashed nudging people away so he could have more personal space. Matt watched how everyone around him grew uncomfortable. Ding! Monument Station. Things were about to get worse
Even if others were going to be rude, Matt would be the one to be extra polite to make up for it.
When someone struggled to get off, he moved to the side to make it easier for them. The man behind him seemed to take this as a personal insult.
Matt felt a hand push him away, a rushed body storm pass, and a furious glare shot in his direction.
The rude commuter turned around just before departing and made sure to add a loud, cursing insult. That was it! It was inexcusable! Matt stepped off, determined to act.
He followed behind, seeing how the big man pushed everyone out of the way. It made Matt’s blood pressure skyrocket.
The plan was to go and tell him off, but one glance at his watch told him there was no time for a life lesson and he needed to get to work. Little did he know, they would meet again very soon.
As Matt dropped off his bag, straightened his tie, and grabbed his files, he noticed his secretary looked agitated.
He was about to ask what was wrong, but then he saw the answer in the lobby. The angry man was sitting in the waiting room! Oh, this was perfect! Things were about to get interesting.
It took all of his strength to keep a straight face and say, “Mr. Hillard?” The man looked up from his magazine and saw Matt.
The colour drained from his face until it was as white as the walls around him. The body language changed from aggressive to meek.
Matt motioned to the free seat and pulled out the papers – but not before sending out a quick Tweet with what was about to happen.
This man was going to learn a harsh life lesson … not to mention a universe-adjusting dose of karma. “So, Mr. Hillard, how was your commute to this interview this morning?”
By some unbelievable series of events, he was now holding Hillard’s employment fate in his hands.
Matt was still going to be polite and give him a fair shot, but he still could savor the discomfort. He didn’t have to say a word about the event. All he had to do was ask the next questions.
“So, why do you think you would make a good manager? How are you a good people person?” Matt asked.
Hillard shifted in his seat and mumbled all of his answers all the way until the end. Needless to say, it wasn’t a good fit. But what about the tweet?
It had been less than an hour, but the message had already exploded. Everyone wanted to know what happened.
Days later, there were thousands of views and similar stories. Matt knew there were still plenty of rude people in the world, but that one moment would keep him going for a long while.