Most of my experience as an employee and a volunteer has been in some form of customer service. I have been cussed out by a customer in a crowded restaurant, talked down to by parents who were trying to get over on me and just plain disregarded by people in a range of positions.
Perhaps it is my experience of being mistreated and unappreciated that motivates me to give a smile and heartfelt thank you to people whose job it is to serve me. I have heard others say, “That’s their job, they’re supposed to do it.” I just don’t subscribe to that mentality. I’m a big advocate of the Golden Rule, and I put it in practice every day of my life.
Over the years, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is to treat people well even when they have totally disregarded me. It means I still have to speak politely and give them the same service I would give anyone else. Since I’ve always been drawn to jobs that involve serving others, I face this challenge often.
I recently found myself facing this challenge yet again. In the process of trying to put out a fire (figuratively), I spoke well of and on behalf of someone whose character was essentially being dragged through the mud. I was professional and kind in the words that I used, despite the fact that I was also a target of this attack and really wanted to let some verbal bullets fly. I defended this person because the accusations were not true, and standing up for them was just the right thing to do. They came to me not long afterward to tell me that they had really appreciated how I’d stood up for them. I’m so used to not being appreciated that this gesture totally caught me off guard.
It was a refreshing reminder to me that God sees the good things that we do and will send us the encouragement we need right when we need it and least expect it. I hope this encourages those of you who work in any job that requires some form of serving others.
So my challenge to you is this: if you’ve observed someone giving of themselves over and over regardless of if they receive gestures of appreciation, take a moment out of your day to encourage them. Better yet, instead of being the type of society that only notifies supervisors of poor performance, make a commitment to telling someone’s boss when you’ve observed them doing a wonderful job.
Remember, what goes around comes around – or to put it biblically, you reap what you sow.