In a busy airport lounge, a woman was waiting for her flight. She had some time to go so she bought a good book and a packet of biscuits before settling down comfortably in a seat.
Deep into her book, the woman flinched when she saw something odd from the corner of her eye. She took a side look and was taken aback to see a young man sitting next to her, stretching his hand into the cookie packet lying between them. He crunched loudly and crumbled all over his open magazine.
“I can’t believe this man is sharing my snack!” she thought. “He seems completely unconcerned that it belongs to me.”
Not wanting to make a fuss, she decided to ignore him and continued to read her book. In fact, she dipped her hand into the packet and nibbled on a cookie herself. A minute later the man took another biscuit and then another.
“What – no manners at all. Just eating my cookies without asking,” the woman huffed silently. She glanced at the man who read his magazine nonchalantly. As if to deliberately irritate her, he took another cookie and gobbled it up.
For the next half hour, the two people carried on eating biscuits over their respective book or magazine. Bothered and offended, the woman wondered if she should say something but felt uncomfortable to openly argue with a stranger.
“Shameless cookie thief,” she muttered under her breath, “every time I have a biscuit he takes one too. If I wasn’t such a polite person, I’d give him a piece of my mind.”
The exchange of furtive looks continued until there was only one biscuit left. The woman wondered what would happen. Softly and with a nervous smile, the man took the biscuit and broke it into two pieces. He offered one half to the woman. She took it in a brisk and haughty way while quietly complaining, “Rude man didn’t even say thanks.”
The tannoy broke the tension when it announced the woman’s flight was ready for boarding. With open disdain, she grabbed her bags and marched to the gate, refusing to look back or acknowledge the biscuit man.
Once settled in her plane seat, the woman calmed down. She turned her attention to the prospect of reaching her destination and felt excited. She also looked forward to finally relaxing, watching a film and having a snack on the plane.
“I might finish my book while I wait for take-off,” she said. As she fished about in her bag, the woman felt something that made her heart quicken and her face red.
“I have a biscuit packet in my bag! If I have my packet here, then …”
All of a sudden, the picture took a new angle. The young man had shared his biscuits with open-hearted generosity. It was the woman who had been impolite and ungracious. She felt terrible.
“I wish I could at least have said thanks,” she thought with regret. Feeling helpless and sorry, she opened the packet and started chomping on the tasteless cookies.