Once an old woman was at the gate in the airport waiting for her flight. She had bought a bag of cookies and a book. She was reading her book when she saw the young man sitting beside her grabbing a cookie from the bag that was in the seat between them. She tried to ignore him and pretended that she did not see him.
The guy took another cookie, and then she also took one out of anger, to tell him with that action: “these are my cookies and you should not be eating them.” However, he continued eating her cookies. Every time she took a cookie, he, smiling, would take one as well. When there was only one left in the bag, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, he took the last cookie and broke it in half. He offered her half, and as he went to eat the other half, she snatched it from him and thought: “my goodness, he does not even say thank you! He is absolutely rude!”
Right after that, her group was called to board the plane. She took her belongings and went to the gate without even looking back at the ingrate thief. She boarded the plane, and took her seat. Then she looked for her book in her handbag and surprisingly she found her bag of cookies there as well. “If mine are here,” she thought in despair, “the others were his, and he tried to share.” She realized with grief that it was too late to apologize, and that actually she was the ingrate thief and the rude one.
It does not matter who was the owner of the bag of cookies. It does not matter who was stealing cookies and who wasn’t. Both the young man and the lady did not understand what the other one was doing. They both thought that the other person was eating his or her cookies. However, they both had a totally different attitude in front of this reality.
On the one hand, he reacted by justifying her actions. He probably did this by thinking that she was hungry and had nothing to eat, or had no money to buy something to eat, etc. He just smiled at her each time she stole a cookie. He also shared the last cookie with her, which was a great action of support. This man, by tolerating the lady who was eating his cookies without any complaint, shows us the importance of accepting others’ ways of acting even if we don’t understand them.
On the other hand, the old woman wrongly judged the young man. She thought that he was rude, ungrateful and a thief, while he was not. Why did she judge him wrongly? Because, she did not have all the necessary information to judge him. That is why our Lord said that we must not judge our neighbors (cf. Mt 7:1) since we do not know their hearts. We cannot know our neighbor’s heart which means that we will never have the necessary information to judge our neighbors.
As a conclusion, the moral we can learn from this story could be: work on accepting others, rather than judging them and making them change.