There was a time in my life when I was really terrible to people in service industries. I attribute this mostly to being about 20 years old and full of ego.
For instance, it would be nothing to me to be a complete dick to a server who brought me a dish that was only slightly wrong.
As a ride supervisor at a Six Flags park, I certainly faced my share of people doing that to me. I was able to easily blow it off. Perhaps that’s why I would continue to be dick-like to anyone whose sole purpose was to bring me food or tend to my needs somehow.
Sometime around 2000, though, I completely changed my approach. When things went wrong, I started by assuming that it wasn’t intentional. There’s a difference between someone intentionally putting a hair in your food and receiving a cold meal because the server made a mistake. One deserves yelling, and the other deserves understanding that people in service industries are human, too.
Ever since the start of the century, I’ve gone out of my way to build relationships with people everywhere I go. The idea is to kill them with kindness, and it totally works!
Recently, I walked into a Chipotle that I visit about once a week. The manager saw me and comped my meal. When I go to Moe’s (I have a weakness for burritos), the first guy in the food prep line sees me and begins preparing my burrito. He doesn’t ask me what I want. He just does it. Then he takes my burrito and delivers it to the cashier. The net result? I don’t wait in line for 20 minutes when it’s the middle of a lunch rush.
These kinds of things only happen because I’ve spent time building these relationships and always treating the people I encounter with respect. I’m a firm believer in this — now more than ever.
How much better would our world be if we actually treated each other with kindness instead of vitriol?