This evening I was working at the information desk when a middle-aged man I didn’t recognize came up to me.  This was our conversation.

Patron: I think that I was rude to you once in the past, and I wanted to apologize.

Me: [Stares at him in bewilderment]

Patron: It was a while ago … you might not remember.

Me: Uh … okay …

Patron: So … I’m sorry.

Me:  Okay.  Thanks.

So I’m still mulling this over.  I’ve had to deal with a LOT of rude patrons in my years of public service, but this is the first time I’ve had a conversation like this.  I wonder if he thought that I would remember my rude encounter with him, but frankly most of my rude encounters blur together in my mind (only the most horrific ones really stand out).  I wonder why he waited so long, and why he bothered to apologize at all.  I wonder if he was going through a 12-step program or something.  Oh, and cynic that I am, I also thought that he might have gotten off too easily.  After all, back when he was rude to me I was probably furious.  The apology would have meant more at the time, certainly, but I probably would not have accepted it with as much grace as I did today.