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This one is easy. It’s just about being nice. I don’t mean fake nice, I mean honestly nice.

Years ago, I learned why the French can be construed as rude. It’s called simple pleasantries. In the US, we can be a bit kurt and when we’re in line to get coffee, we might just say, “I’ll have a blah, blah, blah.”, but in France, it’s best to start with Bonjour and wait for the clerk to respond. Look into their eyes and mean it. I started trying it here in the US, and the results are amazing.
I’ve “accidentally” gotten upgrades at a Weston Hotel to a huge suite. I’ve had free items at restaurants. I’ve had a lot of free cocktails and people ask me constantly, “How do you do that?”
As I said, I started seeing people at real people, instead of just workers. In the US, I might ask, “How’s your day going so far.” Usually, the answer is “fine”, but sometimes it’s not and I always patiently listen and try to offer a bright side to what they’ve said, such as, “Well, we know these things get better sooner or later.” Or something uplifting, so I’m leaving that person with a potential shift in their attitude. It’s possible no one had bothered to ask, let alone listen to what they were feeling.
I don’t do this to get things. I do it because I care. I love people and fully understand how a job can be tedious and difficult if most people don’t care and just fling orders and their wants and needs. We forget that they are all people with feelings, families, friends and relatives, so I like to pause and BE interested.
I’ve been at restaurants and noticed a waitress was not being friendly at all. At a restaurant in Seattle once, this happened to three friends and I. The woman was obviously upset and not willing to go the extra mile. I decided to ask if everything was OK? She started to cry. Apparently, the people before her had been extremely difficult and she did everything she could to please them, but the kitchen had become backed up, so the meals came out a little slow. They stiffed her and she was really upset. She apologized for crying and potentially spoiling our meal, but it was OK. I’m sure she was a very hard worker and had a family and it put a dent in her income and just struck a nerve. She gave us free desserts. We didn’t ask, she just wanted to show how much she appreciated us caring about her.
I love helping people in a bad mood, get happy. It’s so easy and fun too. Try it, but please don’t do it just to get something free, just be nice to people and soon you’ll see how rewarding it is. I like to be the person they tell their friends about later, “I had the nicest customer today … .”

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On November 28, 2015

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