Praise it Forward, Please

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems as if the world has lost its manners. Recently, in one day, a man basically shut the door in my face despite me carrying three boxes, a girl in a store proceeded to ring me up while talking on the phone, and did not look up, and I spent 20 minutes in a store helping myself to sizes and answering my own questions since the sales ladies were too busy gossiping in the corner to do it for me. And I know they were gossiping because they had that look, you know, the snotty gossip look. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days where I am a hot mess less than effervescent, but for the most part, I say please and thank you, excuse me and sorry!

I think I find it especially maddening in the service industries. You know, where your JOB is to be of service and courteous. I spent many years in college and grad school waitressing so I could go out pay for books, and I tried to take it seriously. Anyway, after this especially frustrating day, I decided that I really wanted to thank those that did go out of their way to be nice and courteous. I knew just where to start. Garbis and Sam. Garbis and Sam are the go-to guys in the produce section of my grocery store. I should pay rent, that’s how much time I spend there! These guys are like my culinary wing-men. They have also been side-shows for my kids at the grocery store, and have been greeting me weekly for the past 8 years. They have seen me in work clothes, pre-date clothes, maternity clothes, sweats, workout gear, hair done, hair a mess, no make-up and possible pajama pants (hey, I put on a real shirt and flip flops!) and they treat me the same way every time. They have given my kids free apples, tracked down elusive herbs and organic arugula, and brought out the super fresh produce from the back when they saw me frowning at the sad strawberries. And it is always, always, with a smile. So when I was there last month, I tracked down the front-end manager and gave him a letter I had written about Garbis and Sam. He read it and was so pleased. He mentioned that they were about to get their annual reviews and that he would put this in their files! I felt great. I felt even better last week when they told me they both got raises and thanked me for the letter. I know the letter didn’t do it, more likely, it was that these guys really care to do a good job, and they do it every day without fail.

My second praise-worthy fun happened at McDonald’s. Yes, I did. I got my kids Happy Meals after a particularly brutal and hot double-header. The team was celebrating there and my kiddos wanted to join. Of course, I acquiesced. The young man taking our order was clean cut, courteous, he smiled and engaged in extra conversation, and then when my youngest dropped his cone .5 seconds after getting it, he gave us another one for free. I don’t know many teenage boys with so much charisma and thoughtfulness. I really wanted to say something, but there was a line. I hesitated, and then I asked to speak with his manager. Everyone seemed flustered. She came up and kind of had a scowl on her face. I explained to her the exemplary service I received and complimented the young man and the other people working the front end. She was SHOCKED!

“That’s all?” she asked.

 “Yes,” I responded.

“You just wanted to compliment us? No one did anything wrong?”

“Nope. Everyone was great, and I really appreciated it!”

“Wow! Thank you!”

That’s it. Thirty seconds was all it took to make hopefully a tiny difference in their day. And you know what? It made me happy too! So, I have decided not to get down about the peeps that are grumpy and rude, but to thank the ones that aren’t. Praise it forward, please!

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About Jessica Grady

Jessica Grady is a Speech Pathologist specializing in Neuro-rehabilitation. She is also the mother of two fabulous boys and loves all things active. Learn more about her here.