Yet again, I had another post planned for today, but something else came up that seemed like a better topic
I’ve been working at a small local restaurant and I can’t say it’s been my favorite job. My coworkers are nice, the hours are flexible and my managers are all great, but I’m not of working with the general public. As an introvert and a highly logical/critical person, daily interactions quickly get dull, frustrating, and feel rather meaningless most of the time.
Tonight, however, turned out to be different.
I was in charge of cleaning the dinning room and, when I went to start on the empty tables, I noticed a family with two small children getting ready to leave. The oldest kid was probably three or four and the younger couldn’t be older than one, so, naturally, macaroni littered the floor and cheese streaked the floor. That’s par for the course with kids, so I didn’t think much of it. If anything, it was great compared to some of the tables I’ve had to clean up.
But one of the women with them caught my eye and gave me a sympathetic smile. “Sorry about the mess,” she said.
I replied, “No big deal. It happens,” with my best customer service smile.
The woman shook her head. “I’m a waitress, so I get it. I really appreciate you taking the time to clean this up.” She then slipped me the two dollars worth of change from her meal. Given my sweet discount at the restaurant and my diet, that actually pretty much covers my dinner tomorrow.
The tip wasn’t even the best part. The best part was what she said. I really appreciate you.
You don’t hear that a lot in the service industry, especially from customers. What blows my mind the most is that, like I said, her mess wasn’t even that bad. I’d had to clean up worse messes from adults. And yet she still took the time to stop and talk to me.
That had me walking on air for the rest of of the night, and got me thinking: what if we were more appreciative of the strangers in our lives?
What if we were more appreciative of service industry workers who pull twelve hours and take the shortest break possible so that their work stations run smoothly? What if we were more appreciative of call-center employees who are doing their best to solve problems they can’t actually see? What if we appreciated the way single parents try to raise king, successful kids with fewer resources? What if we appreciated how hard teachers work and how much they know about how our kids learn and what they need?
What if we started appreciating what people bring to the table of society instead of judging them for what they lack?
For one thing, I think we’d see way fewer enemies in the world. For another, I think we’d find better solutions to fill in the gaps.
I’m not saying you have to hand out tips to every person you meet or shower them with praise. Each situation calls for something different and there’s not always time or the perfect opportunity. Let’s just try to be more appreciative of the people around us. Let’s just try to be kinder. I’m even going to work on it (because it’s hard to be appreciative of certain customers, even if their business does help keep your job). We’re all just trying to survive and do the best we can. I think that’s something we all can appreciate.