At breakfast with friends the other day, one friend began to complain about some recent poor customer service she had received at the grocery store. I won’t go into specifics, but she seemed rather ‘proud’ of the fact that her reply to the cashier was just as “nasty” as the cashier’s original response. As I listened, a couple of things struck me.
First, the cashier was simply enforcing store policy. I’m sure my friend (who has a few employees of her own) would want her staff to enforce store policy. Second, maybe the reason she received poor customer service was that the cashier was having some struggles of his own that day. Perhaps, it was difficult to be smiley and nice to the customers going through his checkout lane. It’s important that we look beyond the surface and realize that every single one of us may be dealing with some difficult situations. When we present ourselves to the world, it can be challenging to leave those situations behind.
I read a blog post not too long ago and the author said, “Employees bring more than their lunch to work each day.” When we interact with people who are there to serve us, remember that we never know what might be happening behind the scene. Maybe they just lost a loved one, or maybe their child is the hospital, or maybe they were in a “fender bender” on their way to work that day. We never know what they are experiencing in their life outside of their job. Maybe they are just an unhappy person and are in a job they don’t like. Whatever the reason, extending kindness is the best way to respond.
It can be helpful to recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
I’d love to hear about an experience when you responded with kindness to someone who may have been unkind to you. Post below.