Yesterday, I went to my local bank to open a new account. I walked in and was greeted by Alice, who smiled and addressed me by my name. I asked to see Suzie. While Alice was calling her to tell her I was there, I said hello to Holly and Caroline, two of the tellers, who returned the greeting. Suzie and I talked, actually had a conversation, while she punched information into the computer and we got business taken care of.
I know there are some people (like my baby sister) who haven’t set foot in their banks in ages. They like the convenience of doing everything online, but for me, it’s kind of like Cheers. I like going into a place where people know me by name and I know them. Besides the obvious fact that they would probably know if anyone tried to fraudulently access my account, I like having a real connection to people.
I know the names of the cashiers at my grocery store: Buck and Mary and Pam and Sarah and Maria. I say hi, asking them how they’re doing and thanking them. One time when I got home to discover that Buck had accidentally given me my check back with the receipt, I drove back to the store to give it to him so his drawer wouldn’t come up short. He thanked me with a big smile.
There’s just something, well, human, about being greeted like you’re a real person, and not just an automaton behind a desk or cash register. Am I the only one who doesn’t want to live in a completely automated world? I don’t want to talk to HAL.
It’s so easy to get dragged down into that nasty, angry place where everyone else is driving too slowly, or everyone else is an idiot (except me, of course), and it would feel so good to flip the whole world off, except it doesn’t. Feel good. It just makes me the biggest jerk of all. I don’t want to get stuck in that place.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that my attitude can make or break someone else’s day. The next time you’re in a store or a restaurant or (gasp) a bank, look at the name tag of the person waiting on you, smile and meet their eyes and thank them, or wish them a good day, or ask how many hours left on their shift (you know how those hours can drag). I guarantee you’ll put a smile on their faces, and you’ll be one of the bright spots of their day. Pass it on!