Question: I was sick at at a clinic. There was a patient there who complained that she had wasted time waiting for an hour, asking if the next in line can let her go first, so that she can go home to take care of her child. Everyone remained silent. What should I do? If someone gives way, and if she does not practise patience, what if this happens again?
Answer: It is difficult to tell if she is in a genuine rush or just impatient. You would have to do your best to observe, and can even ask questions, to ascertain with your wisdom on whether she truly needs to go first or not. If you decide not to help, just be a good example, as someone waiting patiently with the rest. You can also gently remind her that most people would like to quickly have their turn too.
If you decide to help her, you can ask her to approach the receptionist for assistance. Or if you are willing to let her go first, as someone waiting in line, you only have the right to swap your place with her, while NOT holding everyone else in line back, by letting another patient come in between. If you are the not the next in line, there is only so much (or little) you can do in letting her have her turn earlier. However, it would still be practice of compassion and generosity. Letting the merely impatient wait appropriately to cultivate patience is also an act of compassion and generosity.