May we all be forgiven

To the well-meaning dad who yelled at me for touching his child while I was staffing the entrance to the bouncy house this afternoon, I already said I was sorry. But I also feel like there is more to say. 

I want you to know that you hurt my feelings. I was not trying to hurt your child, or do anything inappropriate; I was just trying to keep her from going inside, because the maximum capacity of kids had been reached and she was still trying to crawl in despite my telling her so. I want you to know that this was my first time working a bouncy house, and I was doing the best that I could. Bouncy houses involve risk, especially for little ones like yours, and I didn't want her or anyone else to get injured. 

Your words hurt me, because behind them I heard accusations that were unfair and untrue: that I was doing something blatantly wrong, and that I either had malicious intent, or simply should have known better. You made me feel like a little kid being unfairly accused, with no hearing and no recourse, and then you left.

I wish I knew what was happening for you this morning. Maybe you were feeling nervous or embarrassed yourself because you'd let your little one get away from you. Maybe I triggered memories of someone unpleasant from your past. Maybe improper touching of kids is an especially sensitive thing for you.  Or maybe the incident didn't even register for you at all.  I just don't know. I can't know what was going on for you this morning any more than you could have known what was going on for me.

I know you could probably take issue with my saying you "yelled" at me, when -- tone of voice aside -- really you just asked why I was touching your kid, and said you would like to be the one to do that. You could also easily accuse me of being oversensitive, and argue that this is a stupid thing to be hurt by. To be honest, I would agree! I wish it hadn't fazed me, that I could have just let it wash over me and gotten back to the task at hand. But for whatever reason, I didn't.  And emotions are persistent; once they're there, they don't go away just because we don't like them.

I know that you didn't mean to hurt my feelings, that you were just trying to be a good dad and protect your child. And I was trying to be a good bouncy house attendant and keep everyone as safe as possible.  Sometimes, even doing the best that we can, we step on each other's toes. May we all be forgiven.