Think of the last time you ate out. What was your server’s name? How about your last cashier at the supermarket? Do you know the name of the custodian who empties your trash or the lady behind the counter in the cafeteria? People in the service industry make up a huge group of people around us that we systematically overlook. We want our food delivered quickly (and it better be the way we ordered it), we want our drinks topped off if they get low, and then we want the server to disappear. We want our checkout line to move quickly, so there’s no time for the cashier to converse with the customer. We do not want to see or smell our garbage, so it needs to be changed regularly, but we don’t want to be around people who deal with our refuse, so they need to work at night. Have I hit a nerve yet?
By denying people in the service industry the basic human courtesy of acknowledgment and gratitude, we treat them as if they are somehow less than we are. I don’t think we do this intentionally, but we do it all the same. This week, I want to challenge you to go out of your way to show thanks to those who are normally under-appreciated. Here are a few ideas of how you might go about doing this:
- Next time you’re eating out, when your server brings your food out, ask her if you can pray for anything for her. She might say no, but you might also find out she has something weighing on her heart. Either way, she will appreciate you thinking of her. I’ve been at a table where this was done before when they waitress had something she needed pray for. It was a powerful experience.
- Next time you take the trash to the curb, leave a plate of homemade brownies, cookies, etc in plastic wrap where the garbage men will see it. Attach a note saying thanks for their service. They have a job none of us would want to do, and the simple gesture can make a huge difference for their day.
- Next time you’re at Walmart, engage the cashier in conversation. Look at his name badge and call him by name, ask how his day is going, when he’s getting off, ect. You’ll be amazed at how he’ll perk up just by hearing his own name and realizing you’ve noticed him.
If you’ll give one or all of those ideas a try, I think you’ll be amazed at how much difference such a small gesture of appreciation can make in someone’s day. Leave your stories in the comments. I can’t wait to hear how you make a difference!