©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com

Society is rampant with a lack of civility and common courtesy these days. We can take action to help change that. What if we share a heartfelt “Thank You” today with everyone we encounter who should receive it?

I’m not talking about the cursory “Thanks” said to a cashier, or a token “Thanks” offered to someone who holds a door open. Sure, any “Thanks” (sans sarcasm) is better than no “Thanks.” But why not look for something good to say, something that gives them pride in their work or encourages them to feel good about what they did?

Let’s think about a few ways we can easily show appreciation to people we encounter this week, especially those in the service industries.

Acknowledge them personally
Say “Thank You” instead of just a perfunctory “Thanks.” People feel more valued when attention is focused on them. Have you ever been to a party when someone you’re talking to is constantly looking around for someone more important? I’m tempted to move my head in sync with theirs just to catch their eye, but I’m sure I’d look like a bobble head! Imagine how slighted service workers must feel when people ignore them or fail to recognize their efforts.

Put down the cellphone
Look at them and not at the phone screen during interactions. Unless it’s an emergency, someone talking on the phone, checking email, or sending texts while attempting to communicate or handle a transaction in person is being dismissive and rude.

Give a specific compliment
Think about what you say and how you say it. Instead of a mumbled “Thanks,” how about…?

“Wow, you are sure fast at ringing that up! Thank you so much.”
“I bet people tell you all the time how wonderful your smile is. Thank you for brightening my day.”
“A clean restroom is rare. Thank you for making it nice.”
“You definitely knew how to handle that situation. Thank you for taking care of it.”
“I am so grateful you took the time to do that. Thank you.”

When we mention something specific, it not only acknowledges their effort, it can also make us become more thankful for what was done.

Smile when you say it
A warm smile sends a message that we actually see the person and are genuinely grateful for what they did. A smile connects us as people. Those upturned corners can help us turn the corner.

Call them by name
Give service and hospitality workers identity and dignity. If they have a nametag, call them by name. If the employees don’t wear nametags, introduce yourself first and find out their name.

Tell their boss
Most managers hear only complaints about their employees, or about problems encountered. That’s because people rarely make the effort to recognize the good. Take the time to speak to the boss or write a comment to share some good news!
Similarly, if you see a young person doing something well, compliment them. “You are quite the gentleman. Thank you for holding the door.” Address the parent, “Parenting isn’t easy, but you’re doing a fine job with this young man.”

React with Grace

When our orders come out wrong, plants are placed in the wrong locations, an item is broken, or another problem arises, we can pause to remember the grace we’ve been given, then address the issue kindly and give them a chance to fix it.  Anger and hurled words escalate situations.  Calmness and kindness heal.

Tilt the scales in love
Each week we encounter dedicated workers in restaurants, dry cleaners, car washes, fast food, retail shops and salons living paycheck to paycheck. Many work two and three jobs; some get up before dawn to get to work or work throughout the night; and many deal with intolerant customers throughout the day. Handymen, house cleaners, gardeners and others also assist others. Consider unexpectedly saying “Thank You” this Thanksgiving month with a bonus monetary gift, a written note or verbal reminder that you appreciate them and God loves them!

How can you more fully express thanks in a way that encourages someone today?
What have you done extra special for a service or hospitality worker in the past?
Who are the people you encounter in your week (in addition to your family and friends) who deserve your genuine appreciation?

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NIV

But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV

Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full!



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