Freeport, Illinois — You know, a lot of people talk a big game when it comes to being kind to one another. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe most people are genuinely good and decent folks. But we’re not always kind, thankful or forgiving of others at times when we act like we are, are we.
You know the times.
It’s when we smile and isn’t as genuine as we’re appearing, or when we seem thankful for what others do, but we’re really not thankful or just don’t care. It’s a part of us that’s not always necessarily by fault, it’s just sometimes life gets in the way of the time for genuine appreciation for those around us.
Sometimes, we just don’t see others in their own lives.
If you happen to be in the customer service field, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. The customer is always right and depending on what field of customer service you are in, (retail, nursing, sales, answering service etc…) those ‘customers’ can be downright brutal.
I’m truly amazed by the stories of every day people who do little things, that have a big impact on others though. I’ve found in my own experience, and throughout the experience of many others throughout history, that it is all too often the small things which have the greatest affect.
Things like the atom, DNA and the fact that the cure is usually found in the venom, there appears an irony to all this “chase the big prize” of life as we tend to overlook the little things, that often matter far more. In other words in this example, showing appreciation and kindness to others really doesn’t take a lot.
Here’s a true story of what happened to one Freeport woman recently, whom we’ll call Betty.
Betty works at a local family restaurant.
If you have eaten anywhere in Freeport at any of our family style restaurants, odds are you’ve seen her and perhaps have even been served by her. She’s a mom, wife and during the day she goes to school.
Betty says that often when she gets to work, she’s completely exhausted from school. We can all relate to that right? Getting home from a long day and having to fix dinner, do soccer, baseball, tumbling, the after 5 club, dance and the thank you’s are few and far between.
But a few nights ago Betty said a customer reminded her of why she does what she does in this life. Why she’s going to school and why she’s working in the industry that she is.
“My mission in life is to make people smile”, Betty told us. She said she wants to make people laugh or “turn their frowns into smiles” she says.
That night at work as she went back to the table, as she always does when the customers leave, Betty said she noticed a small envelope. As she got closer she noticed on the envelope were written the words, “Happy Thanksgiving”.
The customer had already left at this point, and they weren’t a regular customer that Betty knew by name, so she had no idea who the people were who left this small envelope for her.
As she began to open it, Betty said she found a little letter put inside that simply read “thank you for making our dinner awesome” and a tip she said, larger than the entire bill.
“Being in customer service definitely has its ups and downs, especially when I’m exhausted from school, but it’s nights like tonight that make me feel like I have done what I went to do.”
While it’s nice, thanksgiving doesn’t always have to come in a four course meal, with a side of cranberry sauce. It doesn’t always have to come on a birthday, holiday or any special occasion.
Being thankful can just come in an envelope left on the edge of a table, a random text, a sticky note under the pillow or by a simple, heartfelt random act of appreciation. “Hey, I just wanted to say thank you.”
Truth is we all deserve that every once in a while.
So the next time you’re out, and especially over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday, make a point to leave a random act of appreciation for someone. In your own special way, let someone know you’re thankful for them. Notice them. You don’t even have to be present to win.
Just take it from Betty. “It’s not all about the money, it’s about making them feel like they are someone”, Betty says.
If you can accomplish that, well, the world is already a better place.