I was waiting around the bus station in Providence earlier this week on my way back to New York, and I spied Stephanie behind the ticket counter. I know her name because I had a contretemps with her about a year ago, and I still felt crappy about it.
Let me first say that I was absolutely in the right regarding the facts in our argument, but it’s true, I acted like an a**hole. My bus trip consists of two legs, and I realized through some shoddy business loophole that it was cheaper if I bought two separate tickets, one for each part. Stephanie wouldn’t hear of it, and told me I had to buy just the one ticket, all the way through. It’s fair to say I raised my voice. It would not be a lie to say I told her, “That’s bullsh*t!” But to her credit, Stephanie came over to me in the waiting area after I stormed off with the disputed $16 in hand. I thanked her profusely, and apologized for my behavior. She was gracious.
But when I spotted her this week, I still felt like a heel. So when she was free, I stepped over to her window.
“Uh-huh,” she said.
“Do you remember me? We had a big fight last year, and I was a jerk. You were very sweet, and I just wanted to come over and say hi, and apologize once more.”
A beat. Two.
“Oh,” Stephanie says. “OK. Hi. Thanks.”
So now I felt about 18% dopey, but also 82% better that I came over to apologize especially. Because if it’s one thing that really bugs me, it’s when people don’t say “I’m sorry.” They say, “Understood.” They say, “I see why you got upset.” Those are not apologies. Step up when you screw up.
Say you’re sorry.