Finer Living

The Cost of Being Finer

Malica Fleming and her mentee
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What made you think that you didn’t have to pay?” The young female parking attendant said to me in the most arrogant, condescending voice I’d ever heard in my life.

As I calmly tried to explain the situation – she cut me off mid-sentence.

What made you think that you didn’t have to pay?”

I was driving out of the University of Virginia Central Grounds garage this past weekend and back to the hotel with my 16 year old mentee, Averi. We were returning from a full day of UVa. Black Alumni weekend activities, including a seminar with the University President, yard show and a Silent March to the University President’s house in support of UVa. student / Kappa Alpha Psi member Martese Johnson. I brought Averi with me to expose her to college life, greek life and Zeta in particular.

What made you think that you didn’t have to pay?” the parking attendant demanded again.

Upon picking up our conference packet, the registration brochure stated that free parking was available at various lots throughout the weekend. (I missed the fine print that read which parking lots were actually free.) However, parking was free at the Central Grounds garage the day before, and as we approached the gate, I noticed that it was already up so I assumed that parking would be free again. The fact that there were no cars exiting the garage at the time didn’t help either. Realizing my mistake upon hearing the attendant call back to me, I backed up slowly to apologize and explain.

Ignoring me, she demanded a fourth time, What made you think that you didn’t have to pay?”

How many times is she going to ask me that?” I thought.

As my blood boiled and the New Yorker in me wanted so bad to verbally take this woman down, I remembered that not only was I a Christian woman, I was in full Zeta gear, and my very impressionable mentee was sitting right next to me, watching my every move. I looked over at Averi, who looked back at me with anticipation. “There is absolutely no reason for you to use that condescending tone with me. I made an honest mistake and I have no issue at all paying the parking charge, it was a simple misunderstanding.” I said.

However great it may have felt temporarily to let her have it verbally, the cost of losing my cool would have been too great. I refused to give that parking lot attendant ammunition for saying anything negative about Zeta. I also refused to set a bad example for my mentee.

I wasn’t being condescending,” she replied dryly, but what made you think you didn’t have to pay?

Jesus be a fence I thought as I handed her my credit card and replied calmly, How much do I owe you?”

The attendant replied sarcastically with, That’ll be $19 and we DON’T accept credit cards.” She was now grinning from ear to ear with a look that said, “So whatcha gunna do now?”

I took out a $20 bill, handed it to her, smiled and said. “May God bless you and keep you.” Then I drove off – so fed up that I didn’t even wait for my change.

A few moments later my mentee looked at me and said, “I don’t know what her problem was, but you handled that really well.

No one ever said taking the Finer path was easy. Believe me when I say it took EVERY ounce of my being to address that parking lot attendant calmly and with FINER resolve. However great it may have felt temporarily to let her have it verbally, the cost of losing my cool would have been too great. I refused to give that parking lot attendant ammunition for saying anything negative about Zeta. I also refused to set a bad example for my mentee.

When confronted with less-than-finer people and situations, regardless of how you might want to initially respond, remember that you always have a choice.

And it ALWAYS pays to be Finer.

Malica Fleming
Malica is the Founder & Blogger-in-Chief of Finer Women Rising, a lifestyle blog that fuses her passion for sisterhood, style and tech. When she’s not blogging, Malica meticulously balances the roles of wife, mom, mentor, UX Designer & Zumba instructor. Think that’s enough? Follow her on instagram @finerwmnrising
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26 Comments
  • Trudi Apr 12,2016 at 10:32 am

    Awesome example of representing Zeta is the best light! It’s about maturity – when you know better you do better. I have learned some tough lessons on allowing people to push buttons and dragging me to their level – however, the point is I have grown and learned!

    • Malica Apr 12,2016 at 10:46 am

      Thank you Soror! You are spot on! It was hard, but that’s exactly why God puts us in those types of situations – to grow and learn!

  • Robbie Bryant Mar 22,2016 at 8:20 pm

    Soror, you are the epitome of Finer Womanhood. The young lady obviously thought if she pushed hard enough, you would lose your cool. Thank you for displaying a positive attitude and Outlook in a trying situation.

    • Malica Mar 23,2016 at 4:39 am

      Thank you Soror Bryant! I will say she definitely tried her hardest, but it surely didn’t work 🙂

  • Ebony Mar 16,2016 at 9:01 am

    Thank you for this posting Soror. You handled the situation as a Finer Woman should. I could definitely feel the fire while reading this post.

  • Igina Jan 6,2016 at 11:55 pm

    Great read and thanks for sharing the experience! I wanted to snap on her just for GP..that 4th time would’ve been it for me…LoL

  • Sabrina Simon-Chambliss Apr 21,2015 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for your transparency! My blood was boiling just reading this post. You set the perfect example of Finer Womanhood. This read blessed me this morning.

    • Malica Apr 21,2015 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Soror Simon-Chambliss, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I’m so happy that the article blessed you!

  • LD Willis Apr 16,2015 at 8:09 pm

    Handled like a Finer Woman…indeed! #FinerWoman1920

    • Malica Apr 20,2015 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you so much Soror Willis!

  • jaci Henley Apr 16,2015 at 4:25 pm

    You handled yourself BEAUTIFULLY…

    • Malica Apr 20,2015 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you so much Soror Henley!

  • Kamika Apr 16,2015 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you Soror for this post. I’m a very quick tempered so this is a reminder that you have to be mindful of who’s watching and who’s looking up to you. May I share this post?

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 3:19 pm

      You are very welcome Soror Kamika – it took alot for me to not respond to her in like manner 🙂 I’m getting better though. Just a few years ago, it would have been a wrap and this post would have had a whole ‘nother ending 🙂 Yes, you can most definitely share – I would appreciate it so much if you did!

  • Amber M. Van Landingham Apr 16,2015 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing Soror! This is a
    constant reminder to myself that I represent Zeta everywhere I go. I’m not sure if I would have handled the situation in the same manner. I work in retail and her attitude reminds me of some of my customers. Thank you for taking the high road and being an example to others!

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you for reading Soror Landingham, I appreciate your comments so much 🙂

  • Ivy A. Tyson-Parks Apr 16,2015 at 2:32 am

    That certainly was inspirational Soror to anyone, especially if shorter tempered. I appreciate the example. Think before you speak.

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you Soror Tyson-Parks!

  • Latoya Apr 16,2015 at 1:55 am

    What a amazingly well written post Soror. I admire your response to the negativity this world brings. You truly represented finer womanhood in your approach. Thanks for sharing!

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 2:37 am

      Thank you Soror Latoya, I appreciate you!

  • Nkenge Reynolds Apr 15,2015 at 9:14 pm

    Well done Soror. You handled yourself blutifully. Great job!

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 2:36 am

      Thank you Soror Reynolds!

  • Char Rees Apr 15,2015 at 8:34 pm

    God is still working on me and tempering this ole girl tongue…hehehe…but that was just a test to see if you were about the Christian and Zeta walk or were you giving lip service….I personally would have failed the test….because like I said….God is still working on me in that area….but that is what I love about you…your daily walk = the words from your mouth and that can be a rare thing to find! So proud of you!

    • Malica Apr 16,2015 at 2:36 am

      Thank you so much Soror! God is still working on the both of us! And best believe the tests will continue 🙂

  • Lillian Apr 15,2015 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for sharing Soror! It takes a Finer Woman not to stoop down to others level especially when you are tested. Love it!!

    • Malica Apr 15,2015 at 1:32 pm

      It most certainly does Soror Lillian – and thanks so much for reading. Please share!

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