I have so much respect for anyone who works in the food industry, retail, etc. It's not always easy being a sales associate or server.

Over this past summer, I had a job at a pizzeria. It was my first job. I had no previous work experience in the food industry, and although it was a small pizzeria, it still was not easy. Don't get me wrong, it was a good experience and an opportunity I'm grateful for. But oftentimes, I would get very stressed out. Working behind the counter, I had many responsibilities, such as taking orders — both over the phone and in-store—heating food in the oven, running orders to the kitchen to be prepared, packaging orders, cleaning off tables, wiping down the counters towards the end of the night, etc. Sure, oftentimes I would receive help with these tasks — especially when it got busy — but it could still be quite stressful and anxiety-provoking at times.

Although it wasn't always easy, when I worked at the pizzeria I always tried my best to be kind and to have a good attitude with all of the customers. At my job, I was very blessed and fortunate for the most part. A lot of the customers were very kind, patient, and some of them were very generous with their tips. Tips should never really be expected, but they were always appreciated. Occasionally, I would get some customers that had more complicated orders and some customers that weren't the friendliest people. As far as the complicated orders go, it might have made my job a little harder, but people deserve to have the food the way they want it, especially when they are paying for it. Also, although people didn't always have the most patience or the best attitude, I have no idea what's going on in their personal life. Maybe they were having a bad day or just dealing with a lot. I'm not saying it's right to take it out on me or any other employees — because it's not — but I understand it happens sometimes no matter what the reason is. Although it can be hard, people have to try not take it personally or have it affect them.

I tried to do my job well at the pizzeria because, similarly, I love to go to a store, a restaurant, etc. and have great customer service. It makes the whole experience of shopping, going out to eat, etc. so much better when the employees are kind and do their job well.

Recently, I went out to eat at an IHOP and had an extremely lovely server. The place was very busy. He had numerous tables to wait on — including ours — and somehow he was able to take great care of every single one. He made sure that the food was brought to the tables when it was ready and he also made sure to check on everyone to see if they were all enjoying their food and if he could get them anything else. He also managed to do all of this with a smile on his face and a great attitude. He had a great personality that just exuded genuine warmth, positivity, and pure kindness. He even made people smile and laugh — including me. There was no denying that there was truly something special and amazing about this young man — besides his exceptional skills as a waiter.

I marveled at how well he did his job. I could barely take the stress of the pizzeria let alone waiting on several tables in a crowded restaurant with such a positive attitude like he did. I give him a lot of respect and credit. It's not an easy job. You always have to be alert and you stand on your feet for hours on end.

Not every employee everywhere is like this young man — and that's OK. It's nice when people go above and beyond what their job requires, but it's not always necessary. As long as people are kind, helpful, and get their job done efficiently, they are already going above and beyond. Sometimes you might get an employee who might be quiet and not very cheerful. They might even be a little cranky. As long as they don't treat anyone horrendously, you shouldn't take it personally or fight with them.

Some people just have a bad day. You never know what's going on in someone else's life. Most people who work in retail stores, restaurants, etc. don't plan on having that job forever. However, for some people, that is their career and ultimate source of livelihood and there is nothing wrong with that. Some people really don't like their jobs, but they could use the cash and need the money to live. Sure, just because someone might not like their job doesn't give them an excuse to treat people poorly. But if someone isn't exactly extremely cheerful, don't take it the wrong way. You don't know how many hours they've been on their feet or what they are going through personally. They are working. They are trying their best. And they are trying to make a living. So please treat all employees—no matter what their job position, age, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. is with respect.

The bottom line is that respect is a two-way street. Employees should respect their customers and their customers should respect the employees. Although it's not always easy, if someone isn't exactly being nice or friendly, it's not going to make the situation better if you disrespect that person. It can be quite challenging to be the bigger person, but sometimes we need to let these things go, pray for them, and realize that they might be dealing with difficult situations in their personal lives that are affecting their mood and how they act. Therefore, you should always try to treat others with respect and kindness.