Sometimes, when I’m at the grocery store, I’m amazed to see how many people load their groceries onto the conveyor belt, pay for their food, take their bags, and never once look the person helping them in the eye.
For some, ignoring people in service roles comes naturally. They may be serving your food, parking your car, or making your day or task easier, but since they don’t have the power to give you something in return for your kindness besides the basic service they are already providing, some think it’s acceptable to pretend they aren’t real people.
But I think that the best kind of giving happens when you know you’re not going to get anything in return. Being kind to the people that can help you achieve your goals is easy. Being kind to people that have no chance of ever helping you in any way shape or form is totally different. I call it being human.
Every person on this planet gets up in the morning and has to go out and navigate the world. You never know where someone has been and you never know where they’re going. I’ve known people who work at a coffee shop that have master’s degrees and a clean-cut line worker at a bakery who had been homeless for six years.
No matter who they are or what their title is, if you can help them to have a better day with a smile and a kind word, it is worth the tiny bit of effort on your part, and it can have a positive impact on their day and our society.
So whether I’m buying food, checking into a hotel, or boarding a flight, I always make a conscious effort to look the person serving me in the eye, to thank them by name when possible, and to wish them a great day.
It truly is a highlight of my day to see them smile, come alive, and feel appreciated because I’m daring to treat them like a real person, not a robot.
The next time you’re considering partnering with someone on a project or hiring them to work for your company, take them out to lunch during their interview. The way your lunch guest treats the wait staff is going to show you exactly how they will treat your vendors, employees, and the customers you’re trying to acquire.
And the next time you’re being served by someone, thank them and mean it, and see what happens to their face when you do so.
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.