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Feeling guilty for something I did, that was not wrong.

Peace be upon you,

Disclaimer: This topic is about 15-20 long or more(probably 600-850 words).if it doesn’t interest you that’s OK.

 

I’m Sa’ad Saud Al-Qahtani, feel free to guess where I’m from; it’s a secret for me to keep and for you to figure out ;).

 

Jokes aside, I was driving from the mall to my home and decided to fill my car with gas at the gas station, my little sister was with me.

I asked the gas attendant to fill the tank with gas worth of 108 S.R. or 27$(Divide S.R. by 4 for rough estimate), I was wearing my mask (COVID-19) and despite that I said 108 S.R. clearly, at the time I had no reason to believe he would mishear me since he was next to my open car window; literally, next to me. I was wrong.

When he finished he charged me 180 S.R. (45$) worth of gas.

This was not the first time I went through this type of situation, but this time was different.

I did the following:

•I asked him:” Why are you charging me 108 S.R.?” And looked him directly in the eye, judging him. He said, “You asked for 180 worth of gas.”

• I asked him, “ Did you hear me when I said 108 S.R. ?”  He said, “ Maybe you said 108 but pay 180.”

• I told him, “Take the extra gas back! I’m not paying for 180 worth of gas.” And he insisted I pay 180, I guess he doesn’t have the capability to take the extra gas.

He asked, “Who’s gonna pay the rest of the gas?” I replied, “You are.”
We went back and forth and told him take the gas back. And then he said something that managed to make me feel guilty and unmotivated to… enjoy life, or focus on my studies.
“God will take my right from you, he will avenge me.” I was in the moment and replied the same thing to him. (Don’t know if it was neutral or good, but I could’ve done better) I left paying him 108 S.R., nothing more.

I did my best to deny his social debt, he made the mistake he owns up to it.

 

What angered me was the attendant attitude. It doesn’t help that neither Arabic nor English are his strong suits, why bother talk with him any more.

I left feeling guilty, having my insides eating from guilt, my chest feeling tight. I wish my sister wasn’t there, I wish I didn’t tell my parents; they’re all with the gas attendant’s side; not because I was wrong, but because of pity for him and fear that I might be judged for this action on judgment day(You do good because you’re good, I judge you on your actions and attitude; not what religion you believe, or there lack of.).

I guess they were religious moral shaming me; it was not on purpose from them, felt automatic.

So far my brother believes I was right, and had nothing to worry about.

I refuse to be someone’s scrap goat, or be some benefit to someone at my personal expense; even if lose, I’ll get back up.

 

In the end, not giving the gas attendant the rest of the money makes feel scared from God’s judgment. Maybe that one action will not let me enter heaven. Honestly, this whole ordeal is distracting me. But I hope I did the right thing.

God likes it when you do a job, to master it. Mr. gas attendant, next time listen and think more.

 

Thank you for reading this long, I feel less guilty. I hope you enjoyed reading, I hope I offered you value.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Sa’ad,

Yeah, that was a nasty power move.

It's basically saying:

I might be powerless to enforce my rights here and now, but God will take care of you

Something similar happened to me in this case.
Take a look at it, there is also an approach to deal with it.

The two situations are slightly different though,

Try to look at it this way:

The attendant might have done an honest mistake.
And he might be a poor guy, who doesn't even own a car, and who never will, who is forced to pay for the difference -and it will be a whole day of work for him-.

Also, keep in mind that "108" is an odd number to ask for.
People usually ask for round numbers, which in my opinion makes it far more likely that he truly misunderstood.
And, he might have been thinking you were playing a game, too.

So I think that from a "wielding power in a fair way", there might have been a different approach.
For example, finding a middle ground:

OK, you can't take the gas back, I get it.
But I said 108, I wanted 108, and I still want 108. I never wanted d180, and don't intend to pay for 180.
What can we do to resolve this in a fair manner?

In the end, maybe settling down in the middle might have been a good solution.

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hey Lucio,

First: Thank you for the feedback.

I agree with you, a middle ground would’ve been better, and maybe I didn’t work hard for it at that moment.

“108” is a number I’ll say again for a gas attendant. I accept it’s not a round number, and next time I’ll pay before the gas enter my tank. That should be better approach to it.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but If he works a day work for that difference in cash, maybe I need to pay him back.

The thing is: he might act smug about it and thinks that he got to me. I don’t go for you win I lose in these interactions.

So how do I pay him back without letting him be emotionally manipulative about it to me?

I want to put a frame where he doesn’t mess with me, and I gave him the reminder out of fairness; not pity for him.

I was thinking, to the effect: “I’ll let bygones be bygones and next time listen well.” Then give him the money and never pass that gas station again.

 

And when he tries to talk his nonsense (if he does), how about I sigh and shake my head left and right in disapproval as I ignore him and move on without a word (after I pay the remainder of course).

Or should I not comeback and pay him the remainder?

 

P.S.: Full disclosure, that fiverr lady made working with her sucks(I’m saying it kindly). I get your pain(which you got over ;P) and the best part about that interaction is the support. Ali, Kellvo, and Matthew gave some great feedback, granted reading once is not enough. If only it was easy to keep good people by your side forever.

 

Thank you for that too Lucio.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I like the idea of going back.

But I'm not too sold on this approach you're describing.

It feels you're still angry and resentful with the guy.
I wasn't there, so I can't judge if you were overly aggressive, or if the guy was overly aggressive and/or nasty.

But if you want to go back, you can delink your action from the person.

You do it for yourself and for your values, you don't need to give the money back, and then "go the extra mile" to hurt him again.

If you go I'd approach this more emotionally neutral.

Something like this:

Hey man, I realize what happened the last time was not cool.
I think we both share some part of the blame. So I think it was not fair that you paid all the costs.
I came back to make things right again.

Feel free to add "and for full disclosure, when you said that God will make me pay, I think that was really not cool". me pay. That was really unnecessary".

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I'm not exactly sure about the ethics of this situation.
So sharing my thoughts here.

Ethics of the Situation

Feel free to add "and for full disclosure, when you said that God will make me pay, I think that was really not cool". me pay. That was really unnecessary".

Do you think that even though this individual made a value-taking, nasty comment, he should be entitled to fair value?
As Lucio mentions, I suppose that it depends on how exactly the situation turned out.

Maybe he made the comment out of anger because he thought that OP was game-playing.
He went too far but that could happen.

Additionally, a single situation doesn't define a person's character.
Typically benevolent people can act out because something triggers their dark side or pain points.
That is understandable as everyone has a dark side to a certain degree.

On the other hand, if he was the person who was deliberately acting nasty, I was thinking that one should not give back the money.
It may be value-adding to take value from value-takers because that prevents them from climbing up to important positions in society.

I suppose there is little incentive for the attendant to manipulate the amount of gas.
He was probably fending for his own interest in the misunderstanding.
However, he didn't do that in the most civil manner.
So one can acknowledge the misunderstanding and offer an olive branch to mend the situation.

Offering the olive branch shows sincerity to mend the misunderstanding.
As such, the assertiveness on the nasty comment would probably be received by him better too.

Separating the Tangibles from the Dynamics

I thought what Lucio advised was particularly insightful.
Take the situation as a misunderstanding due to both parties and offer to compromise.

For the nasty comment, that can be dealt with separately through assertiveness quoting from Lucio:

and for full disclosure, when you said that God will make me pay, I think that was really not cool. That was really unnecessary

I think this can be applied to many situations.
Like in business, you can deal with finding the decision for the business separately from how the discussion took place.
So, if the other party was disrespectful, you can work out the deal/decision first and address the tone separately.

I may be adding more confusion to this discussion so please feel free to disregard if it's taking up too much time.

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad

Hey guys sorry for the late reply.

What started on a bad note thanks to a misunderstanding, ended on a wholesome note for me and the gas attendant.

I went back to the gas attendant and told him close to what Lucio said,

Hey man, I realize what happened the last time was not cool.
I think we both share some part of the blame. So I think it was not fair that you paid all the costs.
I came back to make things right again.

 

I also clarified that we’re both wrong and the gas attendant agreed with me.

I was nervous he was gonna blame me, or somehow he got into trouble with his boss because of me, and didn’t know how to reply, but Lucio’s right: separate the issues. I came to make amends because that’s who I am.

By the time I gave him his money I told him, “sorry for the trouble” I don’t know if it’s necessary, he apologized too ( does saying I made a mistake count as apology? He’s not fluent with Arabic but I’m cool with him.)

Before I left, I told him his remark, “where God will give my right from you”, was not cool. He said sorry and said to the effect “God loves you because you’re a good person”. That made me feel nice, he even said it as I left.

The strangest thing is I felt like doing business with him again, or that I want to offer him more. I decided not, but I guess the main objectives of business is to have loyal customers; money comes automatically.

I took Lucio’s approach to the matter, and Matthew’s comment on the matter was very insightful to me.
The gas attendant was not being aggressive or trying to get one up on me, but rather looking for his best interest. Though, he didn’t do it in the most civil manner. In conclusion, we both messed up and we owned to each-other’s mistakes and felt better.

 

Thank you both for your help, I appreciate it have a wonderful day!

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Rock on, Sa’ad, handled it like a true eagle 🙂

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Glad everything turned out well :).

A small matter because everything turned out well:

Before I left, I told him his remark, “where God will give my right from you”, was not cool. He said sorry and said to the effect “God loves you because you’re a good person”. That made me feel nice, he even said it as I left.

It was good that he apologised.

I think this comment

“God loves you because you’re a good person”

could be the following:

In a way, he is judging you on whether you are a good person.
So he dispenses emotional rewards here.
Then, he doubles down on that by saying "God loves you".

But judging from the whole situation, I think he has good intentions.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yeah, a good chunk of this exchange was judge-based.

We might even come up with a name for this specific case of judge.

Something:

  • Outsider judge: the general category of recruiting someone else as the judge -ie.: "he will think really bad of you for this-"
  • God-level judge: when someone invokes God / karma / the universe to judge us badly -or to punish us-

I agree with Matthew: I think his intention were good.
The first time the gas attendant was angry and felt powerless. So he recruited the "external power" to do his bidding.
And the second time he was probably happy and truly admired what Sa'ad did, so he wanted to hyper-stress his appreciation and love for him.

As a last note, as a rule of thumb: avoid appeals to outsider judges.

One it often comes across like you're nasty and resentful.

And two, it's low in power.
It's mostly people who don't trust their own judge and power who seek an "outsider judge / power".
If you're generally high self-esteem and high-power, and generally content with your life, you don't go around rewarding -or punishing- people through someone else.

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Agreed and got it.

Thanks Lucio!! ✌️

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