The Other Side of the Story - Fall Back

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The Other Side of the Story - Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt

As the following true story illustrates, don't be too quick to judge your friend.
Perhaps she has a secret that she keeps ...

Under Her Hat

I would like to submit this story to "The Other Side of the Story." Though a year has already passed, I still get a tear in my eye when I recall this incident:

I used to work in a company with a lot of other young frum (observant) girls like myself. When one of the girls from the group got engaged, I wanted to do something special at the wedding. Being the creative type, I thought of a good shtick (trick):

Several years before, the company had given out caps and sweatshirts with the company logo on them. I decided to collect the caps and sweatshirts from all the employees who still had them, give one to each girl from work at the wedding, and dance around the bride wearing them.

It wasn't so easy to collect all this, but by the time the wedding came, I managed to collect enough. Right before the dancing started, I eagerly handed them to each girl. I was surprised that one of the girls, who we will call Chanie, gave me a look of disdain and insisted on not wearing the hat. I took it to mean that she thought the whole idea was silly. I tried prodding her to put it on, but she vehemently refused. I felt somewhat insulted. I had worked so hard to collect them, and wanted everyone to be enthusiastic about it. I also felt that it was out of character for Chanie. She was usually very happy to go along with things. I felt hurt and angry towards her.

It was only months later that I understood the incident. Chanie had been out from work for a few weeks. We all assumed she had a virus or something. When she returned, we all complimented her on her nice haircut. Chanie kept up such a good front that for months most of the girls did not realize anything was wrong. It was only months later that I realized that she was suffering from cancer, and her "new haircut" was not a haircut at all. She had so much inner strength and did not want anyone to find out about her illness. She wanted everyone to treat her normally. I now look back at the incident and realize that by the wedding, she had just begun wearing a wig. She did not yet feel secure in it, and did not want it to slip. That is why she was not eager to put on the hat. Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. Chanie passed away, and I miss her, and still think about her. I hope and pray that she forgives me for my feeling of hurt or anger towards her. She has certainly taught me a very strong lesson in giving others the benefit of the doubt.

An Ohrnet reader


The Other Side of the Story Archives


Based on "The Other Side of the Story" by Mrs. Yehudis Samet, ArtScroll Series

Do you have a story to share?

Were you in a situation where there was the potential to misjudge a person, but there really was a valid explanation? Has a friend or a relative ever told you how they were in such a situation?

Share you stories with us for inclusion in future columns of The Other Side of the Story.

To submit your story, send it to info@ohr.edu. (To insure proper handling, put "Other Side" in the subject line of your message).


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