Imagine a scenario where you are in a restaurant and a whole bunch of people starts jeering at you. Now, imagine you’re an internationally acclaimed sports star who recently lost their credibility owing to a doping scandal. Naturally, most of us would either turn around and leave or stand up for themselves. However, Lance Armstrong took a road higher than most of us could imagine – he bought his haters free food and drinks.
Here’s What Happened
No verbal spat and no hasty retreats, just a graceful act to help him earn forgiveness. For what, you ask? In August 2012, following an official investigation, the former professional road-racing cyclist admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs after years of denial and as a result, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Needless to say, a lot of worldwide hate and booing ensued. And 6 years on, Armstrong is still a target of heckling. Speaking on Freakonomics Radio with host Stephen Dubner, the American athlete shared the aforementioned incident. He recalled that back in 2017 he was once getting into a cab when people sitting on a bar patio recognized him and started hurling abuses at him.
“He goes ‘F— you. F— you! F— you!” and he wouldn’t stop,”‘ Armstrong said on the show. “And the next thing you know, the entire patio is screaming ‘F— you, f— you, f—.’ I’ve never had that happen. I was like, ‘Oh.’ I was shaking.”
The 46-year-old rider adds that had the incident taken place a decade ago, his reaction would’ve been very different and he would have “jumped across the railing and start throwing punches.” Instead, an older and wiser Armstrong called the restaurant manager, explained the situation to him, and left his credit card number asking the manager to buy food and drinks for everyone on the patio. “Tell them that I understand,” he told the manager.
So people, the next time you spot Lance Armstrong, you know what to do. No, but seriously, mad props to the athlete’s anger management skills.