Earlier this week, I received an email from someone who told me they had had a “terrible” day. “Why has it been so terrible?” I wrote back. The reply was that this person’s spouse had gotten a speeding ticket and they were upset that family and friends would now read about it in the local paper’s police blotter report.
Yesterday, I went to the doctor, feeling a bit sorry for myself because of the inconvenience and discomfort of a fractured rib. The x-ray technician is someone I know but haven’t seen in a while, so I asked her how she’s been. She told me, matter of factly, that since this summer, she has had to attend the funerals of three family members, including her father.
And I was feeling sorry for myself?
Perhaps the cloudy day has me a bit maudlin, but the fact is that in a way, we are all in a “customer service” role. We reflect our jobs, our families, our town in our every day connections. Just how we reflect on others could make or ruin someone else’s day.
And, how we choose to handle the challenges in our own lives can not only make an impression on others, but can also change the direction of their day.
Years ago, my husband, toddler son and I were visiting my husband’s family in Connecticut. I had to stop at the grocery store to get formula and baby food for my son and was behind an elderly woman in line. The woman fumbled with her money, got confused about her bill and needed assistance carrying her groceries, all of which obviously irritated the teenage cashier, who did not say one word to the elderly woman.
When it was my turn to check out, I immediately asked the cashier how her day was going. “I can’t wait to get out of here,” she told me. “It’s been a terrible day….what about you?”
“I just had a miscarriage,” I told her honestly. “Perhaps you could be aware that sometimes, in your role, your customers could need a kind word.”
A bit preachy perhaps, but it was my plea to ask for kindness.
As Albert Schweitzer said, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
I hope this post finds all of you well and happy today. Be kind to one another.