This is an Excerpt from a post I made on Facebook a few years back, with a message that is timeless:

When it comes to people who serve the public, the public usually will only engage with the employee if they have something to yell or complain about.

I think it’s a good practice to train ourselves to do the opposite – Today I’m traveling to nyc and when I went to the bus station to check in there was the same woman from almost a year ago, from when I missed my bus and had all kinds of problems.

I remembered this woman because she was so kind, patient, and helpful, so when I saw her again I had to tell her about last year and thank her, I could tell it really made a difference and she was happy and grateful.I’m sure most of us have at least some experience serving the public in register style jobs… I always hated that, mostly because of the public , and how dehumanizing it became.

I tell the story in some of my Dhamma talks about an experience I had on one such a register in my youth, and how one person changed everything for me , for a brief period anyway, and I remember it to this day. I worked at a place called wawa, similar to a sheets or 7-11 or whatever you have near you, and I hated being on register( mostly I loved being the deli guy ), the people were grumpy, in a rush, barely acknowledging your human existence, and craving their coffee and cigarettes.

It takes a rare person to maintain happy customer service when your dehumanized. I tried, but wasn’t always so good at it. But in all the dozens or hundreds of hours I spent on that register, it’s one or two minutes I remember, one person came up to me, looked at my name tag and called me by my name, said hello, and engaged in human-ness for the brief time we were in each other’s lives.

I remember to this day my mind-state, like I was in a fog, a protective bubble that sheltered my humanity, and this person reached in and took me out for that short period, my mind became happy and bright , and then not long after that person left, it was back to I need these cigarettes and that coffee etc.

I’m still grateful to this day for that person who gave me that gift , and ever since then I try to pass it forward because I know how powerful it can be. On the bus I saw a sticker on the window “ tell us about your driver!” How many people take a brief period out of their day to call and praise their driver? But when they are angry they have all the time in the world to do it don’t they?

So be kind to people who serve you, remember their humanity, and praise them , call up the call center for their company and leave a good review, there are enough people bitching and complaining, give that person a gift of a happy bright mind, even if it’s short lived. In any situation , with any person, remember your common humanity.

2 Comments on “Remembering Common Humanity

  1. Saddhu Saddhu Saddhu!
    Thanks for the reminder, Bhante J. It doesn’t require much effort really to make a huge difference in someone’s day/life, for good or bad, so let’s spread some positivity!

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