Coffee always has and probably always will hold a special place in my heart! In fact, coffee is included in my morning ritual of things that much happen before I can start my day, although admittedly it’s not a large list.Not only does coffee hold a special place in my heart, there is one particular brand that I enjoy more than any other I’ve tasted. This liquid gold when it touches my tongue makes me long for a day when I can be hooked up to an IV filled with it’s goodness! Of course, naturally, you’re well aware I’m speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts.I hold such high regard for this gift God bestowed upon us that I run through the drive-thru at least twice per day for a large hot coffee with some type of heavenly flavoring. This obsession, yes I know it’s an obsession, has allowed me the privilege of getting to know most of the employees at my local DD.One particular employee I’ve gotten the pleasure of befriending is an older gentleman known as Mark. Now when I first heard Mark on the loudspeaker at DD he almost seemed angry. From the moment he started talking I could tell he was a guy that truly hated his job! You know the type of people I’m talking about! You can almost feel yourself slowly starting to hate the world with the same fervent the person you’re speaking with has!However, being the type of person I am, I just continued to be friendly to Mark each time I went through the drive-thru. Admittedly several times I just wanted to tell the guy to shut up and quit his job if he hated it so much, but instead I would greet him when I got to the window, listen to his complaining a bit, tell him I hoped his night would go a bit better the rest of his shift, get my coffee and then wish him a great night.After a while I noticed Mark starting to become more friendly. Instead of complaining he would tell me about something funny that happened at work, he’d talk about the weather, sports, etc. Then one day it hit me. Mark and I had become friends. At some point my kindness won him over and it made me realize that we can make a profound difference in the world and in people’s lives simply by taking the time to be kind.This is what the asshole from Dunkin Donuts taught me!Life is Hard – We get so focused on ourselves that we often forget that there are a lot of people in this world who may be stuck in a job they hate or situations around them aren’t quite where they wish they would be. Like us, they start to get frustrated and that frustration may come out when they start dealing with others. Instead of taking it personally, take the time to be kind to that person. Just that simple act could have such a huge impact on them. Because of my willingness to be kind to Mark even in his rudeness I now have a relationship with him that allows me to speak life to his current situations.You Can Stop The Cycle – It’s so easy to get caught up in the collective consciousness of this world that is out for themselves, that sometimes we forget that simple fact that we can stop the cycle. Just because someone treats us wrongly doesn’t mean we have to react in a negative way! We can choose to operate out of empathy!Empathy Does Not Make You Weak – Having empathy and trying to understand someone does not make you weak. We live in a society that seems to think if you don’t push to get your way or make your opinions known when someone offends you that you’re a weak person. That you let people take advantage of you. Understanding how to set limits on your relationships while still operating out of empathy and understanding is not only possible but it’s an indication that you are indeed a strong person. It’s not easy to control your emotions when someone makes you angry or treats you wrong. Being able to control those emotions is never a sign of weakness in my opinion!Don’t Be Like Mark – While I’m glad my relationship with Mark has grown, he has also been a reminder that just because I’m dealing with life or a negative situation I don’t need to be like Mark! I can choose to not allow the negativity around me to cause others to experience negativity.Change Isn’t Easy – It took 2 months from meeting Mark before I started noticing a change in his attitude, 2 months before he started to become friendlier to me. It took an additional month before I was even able to speak to Mark about life and how we can reach our dreams if we just take the time and make the commit to change it. We can’t expect it to happen overnight. We must give kindness time to work within the person we are dealing with!Let It Change You! – The last thing Mark taught me was that what I thought was an opportunity to speak life to someone else ended up being a chance for me to learn. It was a chance for me to practice my patience and to learn life lessons I listed above. Kindness doesn’t just change others, it constantly changes us as well. The more we practice kindness the more kind we become. Kindness starts to become second nature to us!Don’t just strive to become more kind so that you can change others, strive to become more kind so that you can change yourself!