Who Kicked the Cat?

by Wisdom Stories0 comments

She was sullen, crabby, and seemed to be carrying a 50-pound bag of something on her back. I encountered this Walgreen’s clerk, a young woman of perhaps 19, as she rung up my sale. Her attitude made me boil inside and I really wanted to say something sarcastic about “customer touch” or lack of it. I was still fuming when I reached my car.

Now weeks later, when thinking of that young girl, I remembered a story by the late motivational speaker Zig Ziggler called, “Who Kicked the Cat?” (Zig Ziglar was quite the storyteller. You may listen to him tell this story here.)

The Story of Who Kicked the Cat?

Mr. B. was out for lunch and lost track of the time. His company had a policy about being on time, So, he ran out of the restaurant and squealed his tires out of the parking lot and sped toward the office. Then a police car stopped him.  Mr. B was boiling mad when the police man gave him a ticket—he thought: Why aren’t the police out there protecting people from criminals and bad people? After all I am a law-abiding good citizen.

He was still growling when he got to his office, he called his secretary and demanded to know why she had not sent the four letters he had requested. When she tried to explain, he interrupted her and said that if she couldn’t do her job, he would find someone who could. The secretary was really upset and muttered to herself how unfair her boss was as she did most of the work around here. Well, if you think she was upset, you should have seen how upset the receptionist was when the secretary threw the four-letter assignment on her desk and said, “Get these letters out immediately. You don’t do much around here except occasionally answer a few phone calls.”

Well now the receptionist was really upset and was still fuming when she reached home and saw her young son watching tv and saw a rip in his good pants. She exploded: “How many times have I told you to change your clothes after school?! I have all I can handle providing for this family. Go to your room and stay there until morning. You are grounded for three weeks.” Now the young boy was really upset and as he walked to his room, his cat crossed his path and the boy kicked the cat and said, “you probably haven’t been up to any good today!”

Reflections on this Story

When telling this story, Zig Ziglar would take a dramatic pause at the end and then ask his audience, “Now wouldn’t it have been better if Mr. B had gone directly to the receptionist’s home and kicked her cat?”

Zig reminds us that when someone upsets us or gets under our skin, we should remember that someone has probably been “kicking his cat.”

Now I wonder who had been kicking the cat of that young sullen Walgreens clerk?

Zig challenges me: Can I understand it wasn’t about me? Someone has been kicking her cat.

An afterthought: I could have said to that clerk, “It seems that you are having a bad day. I am really sorry about that, and I hope your day improves.”

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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