On Spilling Curry on a Nice Jacket

On Saturday, May 21, I was tabling at the Institute for Humane Education's booth prior to giving my main stage talk at Seattle’s Green Fest. I was wearing nicer-than-usual clothes, a cream-colored, tailored jacket in particular, and I spilled a red lentil curry on it. I was really irritated by my clumsiness, and headed over to the restroom and began cleaning the bright orange stain with a paper towel and hand soap. This was only moderately successful. While furiously scrubbing, a sympathetic woman struck up a conversation. Not someone to ever hold back, I shared that I would be giving a talk in a couple of hours, and I encouraged her to come. She did!

After the talk, when I was doing a book signing, she bought Most Good, Least Harm, and when I was signing it she said she was so glad she’d met me in the bathroom. She told me she never would have come to the talk had we not spoken in the restroom, and she had loved it. A door to MOGO (most good) living and humane education had just been opened for her.

It’s always good to pay attention to when seemingly bad things (a spill on a nice jacket) result in unquestionably good things (positively affecting someone’s life). I hoped that I’d eventually be able to get out the stain, but I realized it was a small price to pay for this wonderful connection.

That night, back in my hotel, I used a washcloth and more hand soap to keep scrubbing the jacket. The stain was diminishing but not disappearing, so I gave up and draped it over a chair to dry.

In the morning, the stain had vanished.

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

Image courtesy of Cat Sidh via Creative Commons.

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