At the beginning of the school year, there was a “Day of Professionalism” event. During one of the talks, the woman next to me was surreptitiously texting on her phone. I thought “Seriously? We’re here to learn about professionalism and you’re texting during the presentation? How unprofessional.”

Then I thought “Wait a minute. I don’t know what’s going on with her life. I don’t even know her name. Maybe she has something really important that she needs to communicate with someone, like coordinating to pick up her sister at the airport before the plane takes off or checking in on a friend who is sick. What right do I have to look down on her? Besides, what good does it do me to fill my mind with disdain for her? That’s not helpful.”

Maybe it’s unlikely that those situations were actually happening. Maybe it’s likely that she was just casually chatting with a friend and ignoring the presentation. Even so, it wasn’t my business, so I set that aside and paid attention to the talk.

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