Thank You. A Simple but No-Used-Enough Nice-to-Do

Today was a good day.  I have turned the corner at work and come up with a different way to deal with issues.  It’s working out so far, and I go home with a much clearer heart and mind.  It just seems that everyone now, not just my workplace but across America, is feeling stress and strife.

Thank yous help.

I have always felt like something I read a long time ago, in Reader’s Digest, really shaped the way I feel about people.  There were two articles (sorry, I have no idea the authors – I was like 15 and now I’m not!  I take no credit here for their work – I just don’t remember who they were but I remember the stories.).  One talked about how sometimes you must “sacrifice the queen”, as in chess.  Now, not being a chess player, I really didn’t know what that meant until I’d played the game.  And, let me tell you, my first game was spectacular.  I took out someone who had played before.  Why?  Because I wasn’t scared.  I think that’s what makes people not “step out” and take chances sometimes, if not most times – they are scared of failure, or scared that they’ve “tried it before and it didn’t work, so why try it again”.  Now, yes, there are some fairly stupid decisions that people make that they should never try again.  But, there are other decisions that, if tweaked just a slight bit one way or the other, would have turned out quite differently for the trier, if they had just tried again.

The other snippet from the Digest was a story about a guy who said he always treated the janitor as highly as he treated the CEO.  That one, in particular, has stuck with me my whole life since.  I’ve been there – I scooped puppy poo at a veterinary clinic for a living while I was working my way through college.  I often say that those were some of my happier times – no real worries and the dogs loved me, for the most part.  (There was this Chow-Chow and one Boxer who hated me for an unknown reason, but then again, they hated most anyone other than their owners.)  I’ve always treated the janitors like they were part of our team.  They are.  They should not be looked down upon.  Those who think they should need to re-evaluate themselves.  Who do they think will pick up the trash if the janitor doesn’t?  Would they stoop so low as to pick up their own trash? Probably not.

Every morning, our housekeeper comes through our small office building to get our trash, clean our restrooms, and mop the floors.  I ALWAYS say hi to her.  No matter how bad my morning has been, no matter what’s going on – if I see her (which I usually do), then I always say hello and ask her how her day is going so far.  On Fridays I tell her to have a good weekend.  We bought her a Christmas gift, even though most of us don’t even buy each other Christmas gifts.  That’s how much she means to us.

Thank yous in general go a long way, as well.  Take today, for instance.  A few weeks ago, I went to Phoenix with my husband.  While there, I took the MPRE, since it’s good in any state.  The MPRE is basically the ethics portion of the bar exam.  I had found out about the Phoenix trip after I signed up for the MPRE, so I had to change it from Little Rock to Phoenix.  Then, I had to figure out what to do with my luggage, since they obviously don’t let you just show up with all your junk in tow.  (It’s a bit structured, to say the least, and for good reason.)  I called a guy at Grand Canyon University, Kevin, who helped me out by letting me store my luggage and such in an office at the school while I took my exam.  I also had to figure out how to get from the hotel to GCU and then to the airport.  I’ve been to Phoenix before, so I had a general idea, but of course I had no car.  I somehow lucked out and got a great cabbie who not only drove me there, but told funny stories along the way.  He also gave me his cell number so that I could text him when I got out, so he could pick me up to take me to the airport.  (I tip pretty good as well.)  Between the GCU guy and the cabbie, I felt like I had the test under control.

Mind you, the MPRE is no laughing matter – it’s a tough exam, and it should be.  I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I would have been without the help of those two guys.

Today, when I received my score (I passed!), I texted the cabbie to let him know.  Tomorrow, I’m mailing a note and donation to GCU in Kevin’s honor and in gratitude for his help and generosity.  I mean, he could have just as easily told me I was out of luck, but he didn’t.  He didn’t know me.  I didn’t pay him anything to keep my bags.  I assume the college gets a bit of a fee for holding the test there, but I’m sure it’s not much, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get any of it.  He was just nice.

If more people were that way, the world would be a much better place.

If people thanked those who help them ever day, it would be as well.

My challenge today:  Thank at least one person, not for a gift or something for which a thanks is “expected”, but for something that is truly unexpected.  Thank the janitor.  Thank the maintenance guy who changes your light bulbs.  Thank the CEO.  They are one in the same – they all have a job to do and they help you do yours every day.

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