The other day I found myself in a pretty interesting situation. I was going to a Sunday basketball game against Mount St. Mary's. I met up with my friends, and we walked to the Xfinity Center.
When we got there, we did what we were supposed to and got scanned by the security and then went inside to get our ticket scanned. The woman that scanned my ticket asked me how I was, and I responded, while smiling, with "I'm good. How are you?"
That was all a pretty normal thing to do but then came the interesting part. After she scanned my ticket and checked my ID, I said "Thank you. Have a good day." She immediately responded with, "Thank you for smiling at me and talking to me."
I had just gotten thanked for saying thank you. This was so bizarre to me. I am a very extroverted person so talking to people comes naturally to me. I also grew up watching my dad talk to every cashier and employee we came in contact with when we were out. I always talk to people when I am out and about.
This got me thinking; if this woman had to thank me for smiling and thanking her, that must mean that barely anyone else had done that recently. Then I started observing others while leaving the dining hall.
The employee at the front always tells people to "have a good night," and rarely anyone says it back to them. The other day, the employee didn't say anything at first. So my friend and I both said something like "have a good day" or "have a good one." The woman working there looked utterly surprised that we said something to her. It took her a moment to reply to us.
Why are we so happy and comfortable with our friends, but the minute we encounter an employee we don't know, we turn cold and unfriendly?
There are so many people around us that are constantly doing stuff for us. On a college campus, there are the people that clean your dorms, make your food, clean the dining halls, work at sporting events, and work at convenience stores. These people do so much for the people around them, and it often goes unnoticed.
I think this is something that needs to be changed. We need to be more appreciative of these people and show our gratitude towards them.
I was heartbroken when I had this encounter at the Xfinity Center. We all need to be nicer to other people, but especially people that do little things for us. You never know what is going on in somebody's life that you don't know about.
A simple greeting, thank you or genuine smile can make all the difference in someone's day. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed. It is worth the five extra seconds to be nice to people.
This holiday season especially, I challenge you to spread a little bit of kindness and warmth wherever you go.