And now, I climb upon my soapbox. Please bear with me for two minutes.
My wife and I recently traveled to Washington, DC. While in the district, we had lunch at a hopping spot, a restaurant filled with power brokers and tourists. I watched one table as a waitress refilled the iced tea of a customer that I figured to be in his mid-twenties. He continued to talk as she continued to pour. As she left the table, he didn’t flinch in her direction. He kept on talking to his lunch mate.
Today, I walked into a stationary and gift store to reload on some note cards for the office. After I set my order (and even inquired about an additional product), I turned to leave. As I approached the front door, the woman who had been waiting on me ducked back into her office. Not a word from someone who is approaching seventy.
A few years ago, while receiving my snacks at the concession stand of our local movie theater, I uttered an encouraging “thank you” to the newly minted teenager behind the counter. She stared at me. I said it again, same tone, “thank you.” Still nothing. As I walked away, my wife looked at the young lady to explain what I was trying to elicit from her. Still, nothing.
I am left to wonder where did the “thank you” go?
“Thank you” for servicing me while I take comfort in this place where I can order, eat, visit and not have to wash my own dishes. “Thank you” for choosing my shop to conduct your trade and not some internet option. “Thank you” for spending your hard earned money with us for a yard of popcorn and a keg of soda.
Every day millions of transactions occur; whether through retail, conversation or body language, human beings engage other human beings on some level. Holding a door open, completing a business deal, picking up a dropped pencil in a meeting for a colleague, the list goes on, and on, and on with examples of how we connect with others. I watch. I notice. I am curious. I want to see how people treat one another. More times than not, no words of appreciation are uttered when people are face-to-face. More rare is the “thank you” at the end of a phone call.
As humans, we have options. We choose to spend our time, money and energy in certain places; places of our choosing and of our liking. We decide to assist people because of who we are. Yet, our actions seem to go unappreciated, more and more. As individuals and businesses, we are our own brands and, collectively, are we all compromised when we do not show gratitude and empathy.
Let’s revive the “thank you.” Let’s work to move the needle in bringing back a piece of civilization that has been swallowed by growing cities, hurried people and crushing technologies.
I will climb down from my soapbox. Thank you for taking the time to read this.